How to Get Ahead

A slow workday is a great time to try to get ahead with your time management in hopes of easing the burden of your busy times. “Getting ahead” can mean doing things like organizing, planning, creating new systems and getting a jump on important Meat and Vegetable tasks. Think back to your most stressful weeks at work or school:
What were the tasks that took a majority of that time?
Is there anything you can do now that will make those tasks easier later?

I asked myself those questions this week.

I am a teacher and just finished the first week of school. I know that if I don’t start the year organized, I will never be able to catch up once the semester gets rolling. My husband works in travel and he knows that once the busy travel season hits, he’ll be knee-deep in work. We brainstormed some ways that we can use our slower times to ease the stress of our busy times. This is what we came up with:

Finishing Vegetable Tasks Early

This semester I am teaching an online class. I know that once the class starts, I will be spending a majority of my time grading and answering questions. To help ease that stress, I did as many of the organizational “Vegetable” tasks this class will require in advance so I won’t have to worry about them later. This included setting up all of my contact sheets, grading rubrics and supplemental materials. Now I won’t have to worry about all of that mid-semester!

Delegating to Technology

My husband works in travel. Each account his office processes has numerous deadlines to keep track of- deadlines for air, deadlines for hotels, deadlines for visas, etc…When many groups are traveling at once during the busy season, it can be a lot to keep track of by hand. That’s why this week, in their slower time, they set up a program that automatically calculates all of these deadlines and sets up reminders based on the expected travel date. They wouldn’t have had time to set this up during the busy season, but now their work will be much easier!

Organizing Differently

A large part of my time as a band teacher is taken up with keeping track of which students have their music and instrument on a given day and finding materials for them to use when they forget. There is nothing more frustrating than just beginning a rehearsal only to have to stop when a student walks in without his music. To fix this, I used my slow time to set up a binder for each instrument with a set of music for students to use when they forget. This binder also includes a piece of paper for them to sign their name when they need to use it. Now I don’t have to worry about stopping to mark down who forgot their materials. The students do that for me!

What things can YOU do early that help you in your busy times? Leave your idea as a comment! Maybe it will inspire someone else to do it too.

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Technorati Keywords: Time Management, Stress Management,

Photo Credit: Michael Marcol

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