terça-feira, 30 de março de 2010

Time management

I've already written about time management (in Portuguese), but today I decided to touch on the subject again. Why is that so? Because I've just realized that at the moment I have 12 groups/private students in 7 different places, teaching both English and Portuguese (not considering some extra classes to replace a teacher, give a demo-class, a placement test etc)!

Besides, I usually have 2 or 3 magazines about handicraft to revise every month and 2 or 3 pieces to write for another magazine every two months. Currently, I also have a 200-page book to translate (my first "big" work in translation, which is already a little late, but I'll catch up this holiday) and I'm taking French classes (and I DO my homework). What's more, I'm about to start my post-graduation course in a week or two. Ah, I also keep this blog (almost) updated and I (try to) take Yoga classes twice a week.

I DO need to manage my time in order to meet dealines, and I believe many people have problems about it. So, here you are some hints on time management that work for me.

- Don't watch Big Brother (just kidding, but it's amazing that after 10 years millions of people still spend months watching this program!)

- Avoid wasting time with unimportant things. I work a lot at home and I'm constantly online with my email open, so that I can answer important messages immediately (and delete unimportant ones even more immediately). However, I hardly ever use MSN, because it may disturb me as some people just want to chat even if you write "busy". I love to use it when I have free time, only.

- On the same topic, I do have Twitter, Facebook, Orkut, LinkedIn (I guess that's all), but I don't waste time taking care of virtual farms, fish, cows, chickens or whatever animal there is (I have a real dog and cat to take care of).

- Still about the internet, sometimes it's nice to see those beautiful powerpoint presentations with motivational messages and an inspiring background sound, but, again, only if I have free time. Otherwise, I just delete them without even opening the file. Don't save this kind of unimportant emails to read later; if you don't have time to read as you receive them, probably you'll just accumulate tons of messages (if it's a presentation we can't miss, someone else will certainly send to you again, don't worry).

- Learn how to prioritize things. You have probably heard that we need to separate our tasks in important and urgent; important, but not urgent; urgent, but not important; and not important and not urgent. And start with the first one, obviously. In my case, translating the book is important, but not urgent, as I still have a month to finish it (but it will be urgent if I don't do it soon...). When I receive a magazine to revise, it is important and urgent, as other people depend on my job to update the files and send the magazine to press. Answering a phone call may be urgent, but not necessarily important, check if someone else can do that for you. Feeding your online fish is not urgent nor important, in my opinion.

- Set a list of things you have to do, and start solving one by one. Don't start everything at the same time without finishing the previous tasks, or you'll just have dozens of unfinished things to do. Some people say you should start with the easiest tasks, others say you should deal with the most difficult one at once. Particularly, I prefer to start with the easiest and fastest ones, so that I have the impression that I've already eliminated a lot of work, even if the complicated job will demand more time later. But it's up to you.

- Finally, don't procrastinate (horrible word, isn't it?) too much. Ok, we all let for tomorrow what we can't do today, but don't let EVERYTHING for tomorrow. It's 10pm now and I'm going to finish this article today (considering that I started teaching at 7h30 am), because tomorrow I have to keep on working with the translation, and the classes, obviously, and I have to meet a friend who's coming to visit SP, and I have to go to Yoga class. Besides, you never know what tomorrow may bring to you.

Do you have more suggestions about time management? Write a post!