In this age of being ever-accessible, the time management skills we hear about so often can be in conflict with our capacity to “do it all.’ The latter is often referred to as personal bandwidth. I’m not sure about you, but being over-scheduled can leave me feeling bad about my lack of productivity and letting others down.
I read an article
recently that pieced things together. You can put a lot of time into planning out your day, but if you run out of energy–either mental or physical–before you complete the tasks on your to-do list, you have a bandwidth issue. You can’t work at max capacity when you are out of gas. Even if you have the hours available, they won’t be productive.
A few ways one might protect bandwidth:
Be realistic about time commitments. If I stack my day back-to-back and something runs over, it’s stressful, frustrating and kills productivity. I often add 30 minutes to the time I expect a meeting, lunch or task to take. If the meeting goes long, I’m covered. If not, I’ve given myself the flexibility so I’m not behind the 8 ball.
Remember your priorities. Give your best time to the things that are most important. Do them first and early.
Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned in terms of productivity is to say “NO.” This goes for projects, and professional and social commitments. I only commit to what I know I can do well. If overloaded, we end up spinning our wheels, and nothing is done right.