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Time Management

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Feeling bogged down and lacking motivation?

Have a break from the norm...

Try a new working schedule – here's a suggestion:

Plan tomorrow’s schedule. Break the day up into 45 minute work sessions with 15 minute breaks in between. This might not seem like much time but over the course of a working day with three or four sessions in the morning and three in the afternoon it can amount to a respectable 6 or 7 hours.

The advantage of breaking up time like this is that each session of time is short enough to sustain concentration but long enough to apply yourself to a task and make real progress.

Knowing that you will be working in sessions like this, think carefully about what kinds of tasks you could accomplish in each session, or how a task might be broken up into smaller more manageable tasks over the course of two or three sessions.

In those work sessions delay your work avoidance activities (like checking email, making tea, popping out to buy milk) save them for your 15 minute break. These then become a kind of reward for work done rather than a means of sabotaging your work progress.

If you are short of time, draw up work schedules, prioritise tasks, and find ways to work more efficiently. But also accept that sometimes it’s more important to complete a task than to strive for perfection. You can always read more, do more data collection, or more carefully craft a paragraph, but try to be alert to any tendency to delay finishing something off.

Think about how you work. Are you happier knowing that you will work for three sets of 45 minutes with a 10 minute break in between each, or that you will set yourself a task and take a break when it’s complete? These are both good strategies, but there are dangers to both.

With the first you may place too much emphasis on being at your desk and con yourself that this equates to ‘work’ when actually you’ve been ‘busy’ with desk based avoidance tactics, punctuated with coffee breaks.

With the second, if the task your set yourself is overly ambitious, you will give up the will to carry on long before you complete it, and when you do this, day in and day out, it chips away at your motivation and enthusiasm.

Another approach is to decide how you are going to break up your time and then consider what, realistically, you can achieve in that time. Having a manageable task and a set time to complete it in can really focus the mind

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