Tick Tock: Understanding Your Time Clock

Published Wednesday, February 23, 2011 4:52 PM


The lengthening days are adding extra hours of sunshine, but are the longer days adding up to productive time? If you regularly underestimate how long it takes to get tasks done, and find yourself in stressful time crunches, it may be time to re-set your internal clock.

Assigning accurate time-estimates to tasks is the building block of time-management. And effective time-management produces greater efficiencies and relieves stress. So what are you waiting for? Time to get going!

Re-setting Your Internal Clock

Productivity web site Lifehacker offers useful suggestions for fine-tuning time management skills in How to Hone the Accuracy of Your Internal Clock and Better Understand Your Time 

Highlights include:

Practice time keeping. If you estimate your morning commute to be 20-minutes but it really clocks in at 35, you need to set off 15 minutes earlier each day to avoid running late. Keep time logs of tasks for a week or so for a more accurate gauge of how much time is truly needed to get things done.

Learn to use small chunks of time. A project may require ten hours of work, but that doesn't mean you need to sit down for a 10-hour time-block. Break the project into discrete tasks and assign time estimates. Have 30 minutes but no more? Knock of a 30-minute component such as phone calls or e-mails. Bit by bit, you'll move the yardstick on the project.

Anticipate interruptions. The phone rings, urgent emails arrive; the boss may call you in. Interruptions are an unavoidable part of work. Schedule disruptions into your time-estimations so you aren't caught short on time.

Maximize your prime time. We all have times of the day when our motor hums a little faster. Try to create an interruption-free zone during this time and drill down, perhaps on the toughest, most complex challenge.

Keep in mind that one's internal clock can run off the rails for a variety of reasons. Jet lag, insomnia and even daylight savings time can disrupt your routine. We've collected a few resources that address these specific challenges:

Do you have any tips on keeping your inner time-clock in tip top shape? Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.

by Bradley Eggers



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