November 13, 2015

The time of our lives

Niko Hurskainen

Manager, SAP Analytics, Tieto

Good time management is the key to achieving a work-life balance. It means finding the best way to divide your time between the handling of existing tasks, committing to new ones, and simultaneously taking care of yourself and your relationships.

Daily tasks are the bread and butter of work life. Even if they have become routine, you should always, at least, try to do things a little bit better. The art of completing daily tasks is to find a balance between both the quality and consumed time, but also to constantly think about developing more efficient processes and templates to release time for learning new things.

Continuous learning is an important part of today’s work. Besides having time to learn new material you need to have a positive attitude and say yes to them, even if it means dealing with more uncertainty. It’s often difficult to estimate beforehand how much time it will take to learn and complete new tasks, which can easily result in having to work overtime. Therefore, time management is not only about being efficient, but also about reserving enough time to deal with possible delays and setbacks.

For long-term career and life success, one must also find time for social relationships. The importance of your professional network increases as your career proceeds. Everybody needs help occasionally, and that’s when knowing the right people whom to turn to becomes crucial. An essential element of efficient time management is understanding where to focus your own efforts when the time is limited, and when to utilize other people’s skills. As for personal relationships, life simply is better when you get to share it with other people. Don’t neglect your loved ones even when your work keeps you busy, because there will always be a deadline approaching and tasks awaiting on your to-do list.

Last, but not least, I want to remind you about the importance pf physical well-being. Keeping your blood sugar level stable throughout the day really makes a difference in how you manage both stress and time. If there is no time to sit down for a real meal, have a healthy snack instead. And when you are working long hours, remember to have a short break every now and then. Go outside for a quick walk or a run, or hit the gym for half an hour. Physical exercise helps you clear your thoughts and therefore be more efficient. When you get home from work, try to have a good night’s sleep.

The perfect work life balance when juggling multiple variables, is constantly shifting.  Nevertheless, it is important to have at least some time for each of the above-mentioned elements. Earlier in your career you are probably keener on saying yes to new things. To know when to say yes and when to say no, it’s helpful to think about what it means from the perspective of your daily work, or where you want to be in three years from now. In time, you will also learn to know yourself better, which makes balancing the different parts of your work and private life easier.

It seems that with every passing year, the speed of life both increases and becomes more distracting. Only with clearly defined goals and strong will-power then, can we achieve this fundamental ambition - the management of time.

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