6 Ways to take control of your day
In her TAA webinar, “The Academic Juggle: Managing Your Writing in a World of Commitments”, Dr. Jane Jones, an academic editor and consultant at Up In Consulting, shared the following six strategies for taking back control of your day, reducing the overwhelm, and feeling more accomplished professionally.
1) Track your time. Take inventory of your daily activities. You may find that you spend too much time on activities with lower return or that you have long stretches of time throughout the day that are unaccounted for.
2) Create boundaries. Including establishing times where you abandon the “open door” policy, find ways to keep distractions out and keep yourself in your work. In today’s connected world, email is a problem! Check it less frequently throughout the day and your stress will likely decrease.
3) Create moments of opportunity. Procrastination makes you feel overwhelmed and fearful of your writing. Find opportunities throughout the day to do something. Small tasks help maintain momentum and just 30 minutes a day of consistent writing can produce more results than two 4-hour “binge” sessions a month.
Dr. Jones suggests making a list of “front burner” activities – things that take 15-30 minutes to complete – and keeping the list on hand for those moments of opportunity that arise throughout the day.
4) Set goals. Create a variety of goals, both in time (daily, weekly, and monthly) and importance (deadlines, passion-based, external pressure, time needed, and long-term importance). Be sure to make time for all of them, especially the long-term goals that are often neglected.
5) Sequence your tasks. Determine what is important and get it done first. Don’t put off your important tasks until you have “enough time” – you likely won’t.
6) Create systems of accountability. It’s easy to break promises to yourself or to let yourself down when working toward your goals. And writing can be lonely. By creating a system of accountability and connecting with a writing partner, it’s harder to let them down, even when it’s your goal they’re expecting you to accomplish.
Implement these six strategies to take back control of your day and make steady progress on your work.