6 Steps to Thriving at Work: Step 1

Time Management Reminder Sheet


Review (or write your job description), making sure to list your typical job tasks and main responsibilities and priorities.

For the next workweek, keep an accurate record (down to 5-minute increments) of your schedule. Be as specific (and honest) as possible.

At the end of the week, make categories of similar items and total the time spent on each. Notice how much time you spend on personal items (email, phone calls, cruising the web, etc.) vs. how much time spent on work tasks.

Look at the amount of time you spend on each work task. Do your main responsibilities correspond to where you dedicate most of your time? If you’re spending most of your week on tasks not within your job description, you may need to discuss the discrepancy with your manager.

Determine what tools or training can help reduce the time spent on job-related tasks. Do you have to share a computer? Could a course in PowerPoint help you create presentations more quickly? Make a list and present it to your boss.

The Experiment

Planning ahead will help you stay focused on the important tasks at hand, help you to focus on your priorities, and will minimize downtime.

For one week (as a trial period), take 5 or 10 minutes before you start working to think about what you want to accomplish and write it down.

During the day, as things come up to add to your “to do” list, add them! Write them!

At the end of each day, take 5 or 10 minutes to review your accomplishments for the day. Did you achieve what you set out to do? What should you learn from the day? Make a list of what you’d like to get done the next business day. Put a star next to the 3 most important items, the ones that have to happen–or else. Leave that list on your desk so it’ll be the first thing you see when you arrive at the office the next day.

At the end of the week, review what you’ve accomplished and how it felt. Hopefully you felt more in control, less stressed, and more productive. If it was a positive experience, try the planning experiment for another week. By then it may be so much a part of your routine, it’ll be second nature, and you won’t be able to imagine how you functioned without it.