Ten Tips to Balance Time and Tasks

We all lead hectic, busy lives trying to balance our work life and our personal life. Oftentimes, we feel like we are on a tight rope trying to balance all of life’s demands. As Dr. Seuss puts it, “So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life's A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.” The following tips will help you balance your life:

  1. Write and revisit your to-do list. This may seem obvious, but this is key to staying on top of tasks. Put the most important items first and work down from there. Then, at the end of your day, revisit the list and make a new list for the following day.
  2. Set priorities. Make sure that what you think is important really is important. Learn to differentiate between the important and the urgent. What’s important is not always urgent. What’s urgent is not always important.
  3. Do the tough stuff first. All things being equal, do the most difficult, least fun thing first. Just get it over with! However, you can use this rule to get the small stuff out of the way: If a task takes less than five minutes, do it right away. If it takes longer, put it on the list.
  4. Eliminate your time-wasters. Constantly checking your Facebook® page or Twitter® updates can sabotage your efforts in getting things accomplished. Stop checking them so often. One thing you can do is make it difficult to check them is to remove them from your browser quick links and bookmarks.
  5. Schedule some uninterrupted time each day. This will allow you to concentrate on important tasks. You may need to take refuge in a conference room, library, or coffee shop. You can also set a time to check your email so that you are not constantly being interrupted with pop-ups notifying you that you have new mail.
  6. Slice up your work. Cut big jobs into small chunks. Order the chunks by importance. Work on one chunk at a time.
  7. Schedule wiggle room. For big, complex tasks, schedule wiggle room. Projects tend to take longer than you think or hope. Give yourself a buffer.
  8. Set boundaries. Oftentimes, coworkers wander into your workspace to chat and don’t take into consideration your workload. It’s okay to put up a “do not disturb” sign or politely let them know you can give them two minutes to chat, then you need to get back to work.
  9. Know when to say no. When and where you can, say no. Trying to do everything that everyone asks you to do is a recipe for failure.
  10. Reward yourself for completing tasks on time. Waiting until the work is done to do something fun or reward yourself gives you incentive to power through tasks and get them done.


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Last updated 4/1/2015