- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On June 19, 2015
- Career management, Productivity
Juggling priorities isn’t a new phenomenon, but with the explosion of new technologies in the digital age comes expanded roles, the need for more diverse skillsets, and additional demands on our time. Add in responsibilities with your family and friends and the problem is worse than ever.
If you’re not Elon Musk, all that can be pretty exhausting. Countless studies have been conducted on the way people handle conflicting priorities, and countless books have been written on the best ways to do. While the 4-hour workweek is likely a pipe dream for most of us, there are still a number of practical ways to save some precious time and energy. Even trimming an hour a week from your schedule means a few extra minutes a day to spend with your family or relaxing by yourself.
Prioritize your roles
The saying goes that the trick to juggling is figuring out which balls are glass and which ones are rubber. The latter will bounce back up in the air if your drop them; the former are irreparably damaged. Juggling too many glass balls at once is a recipe for disaster; sometimes, one or two of them need to be placed down gently so they don’t get broken.
Identifying which balls are which isn’t difficult, but it’ll help in the most hectic moments when everything’s happening at once. Treating family responsibilities like glass and most work projects like rubber is practical—that work will still be there tomorrow. Of course, deadlines inevitably loom and those rubber balls can turn to glass pretty suddenly, which is where the next step comes in.
Master your communication
Keeping in constant communication with those around you will help when suddenly everything needs to be done at the same time. Missing key details could lead to needlessly devoting time to something that isn’t urgent. Sometimes compromises need to be made as well, like doing part of a task immediately in exchange for some extra time to do the rest.
Manage your time
No matter what system you use to manage your time, it can almost always be better. There are countless programs and apps out there to keep track of your various to-do lists, ranging from simple to complex. If you’re looking for even more, the Getting Things Done process has a number of benefits that can help you manage your time better and keep all of those balls in the air. The review stage of the process ensures that nothing slips through the cracks, even when you’re handling many different tasks at once.
If the entire system is too much of an adjustment, individual components can still have a big impact on how you manage your time. Getting to Inbox Zero and taking a more aggressive approach with your incoming email is a good way to alleviate a lot of unneeded stress and free up time that would otherwise be devoted to digging through hundreds or even thousands of messages multiple times a day.