As busy dancers and professionals, we are always searching for ways to maximize the limited number of hours in a day. This article is intended to introduce one particular time management strategy, multitasking. Depending on your individual work habits, certain time management strategies will be more effective than others. Experiment with different techniques, and you will find that taking the specific components of different strategies will allow you to develop a personalized time management technique that best fits your individual work flow.
Multitasking, as the name suggests, is performing more than one task at the same time. The ability to complete two things in the time it would take to complete each one individually frees up more time to focus on the next task (or two!) at hand.
Here is a great time management exercise that has helped me streamline my productivity. I call it the Daily Time Allocation Chart. Grab a notepad, a pen, and your phone, and carry them around with you throughout a work day. Set your alarm to beep every 15 minutes. At each beep, reflect on how you spent the bulk of the previous 15 minutes. Try to characterize your daily activities into one of about 5-10 broad categories. For instance, use categories such as "work," "studying," or "sleeping." If you spent the the past 15 minutes eating, put a tally mark next to "eating."
For much of the day, you will be doing tasks that don't clearly fit into any of these major categories. Chalk it up under a "miscellaneous" category. For each tally you put under miscellaneous, make a list of exactly what task you did on the next page.
Now here's the fun part of doing this exercise: for each 15 minute period, you are allowed to add a mark in multiple categories. If you spent the full 15 minute period doing two different tasks at the same time, for instance, eating while reading, then add two tally marks to the respective categories.
My Daily Time Allocation Chart
At the end of the day, add up what you accomplished for the day (or make a graph if you love data!) Here is a recent daily time allocation chart for me during some random weekday.
Complete disclosure about my chart: being aware that you are tracking your time will make you more productive than usual. This graph is honestly NOT representative of the typical workday. I was FAR more focused on increasing my productivity than I normally am. Call it an artifact of experimental design.
When I completed my list, no part of me was shocked at how I spent my day. Of course, the bulk of most days consists of sleeping and working my full-time neuroscience research job. I'm also a pretty avid gamer who frequently plays board / video games socially, so the fact that the entertainment slice of my daily pie was so large did not surprise me. Almost all of this time also doubled as social time where I get to see my friends - sometimes in person, other times digitally.
(At this point, I'm stretching to justify why I spend so much time playing League of Legends.)
Although a day is only 24 hours, I packed a lot of time into those 24 hours. In fact, my day was about 34 hours long!
Has this post inspired you to try this task? Share your daily time allocation chart with me. I'm curious how your time distribution chart looks!
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