A Mom's Time Management Tips for Journalists
By Rebecca Coates Nee
Adopting a 1-year-old two months ago has brought backmany
memories of my days in TV news. I wake up in the morning never
knowing what to expect and by the end of the day, I've heard
at least one round of inexplicable crying and screaming. I
also have very little extra time and energy to complete my
ever-growing To Do list.
When I asked several people for advice on how to juggle a
toddler and a coaching practice, one friend of mine - a pediatrician
with three of her own children - told me I'd learn to be an
efficiency expert. She was right. So, I thought many of you
broadcasters could benefit from what my 1-year-old has taught
me about time management:
1.) WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN!
Keep an Ideas/To Do notebook handy at all times. This should
be separate from your regular notebook. Every time you come
up with a great story idea or remember that you have to buy
a birthday card for Aunt Martha, write it down with a deadline
next to it. This gets those nagging thoughts out of your head
and onto paper. That way, you can clear your mind for more
important things - like the task at hand.
2.) HAVE A WEEKLY PLANNING SESSION WITH YOURSELF.
This could take 10 minutes or an hour, depending on how overbooked
Get out your ideas notebook and your calendar and decide what
you WANT to do
and what you MUST accomplish during the week ahead. Prioritize
and plot them on your calendar. Keep in mind which deadlines
are real and
which are self imposed.
3) UNDER PROMISE - to yourself and others. Let's say your
asks you how long your shoot will take and you guess about
an hour. Have you
accounted for traffic and other delays? If you estimate two
hours and finish
in 90 minutes, you're a hero. But if you promised one hour
and it takes 90
minutes, you've ended up looking slow and feeling stressed.
4) ELIMINATE TIME THIEVES.
These include the Internet, email, negative people and telemarketers.
phone is there for your convenience, not the caller's. You
don't have to drop
everything to answer it. The Internet is the new version of
control. It's easy to intend to spend only 10 minutes and
wind up mindlessly
changing channels for hours. If you see sites you want to
check out later,
jot them down in your ideas notebook.
5) TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR WAIT TIMES.
Are you waiting for someone to return a phone call, stuck
in traffic or
standing in a long line at the bank? Pull out that article
you wanted to read
from the Internet (the one you printed for occasions like
this) or write in
your ideas notebook.
6) DON'T MULTITASK
If you're trying to complete one project, don't stop halfway
another. You'll be left with a lot of half-finished, poorly-done
Rely on your ideas notebook to remind yourself what you need
to do next.
7) ASK FOR HELP/DELEGATE
When people offer to help you, let them. Martyrs never prosper.
8) LET GO OF ALL UNNECESSARY OBLIGATIONS
That committee you promised to advise, the chairmanship you
like a great idea but isn't - resign from extracurricular
bring you more stress than pleasure or find a way to consolidate
at learning how to say no in the first place without feeling
9) GET YOUR TO DO LIST DONE DURING THE FIRST HALF OF YOUR
FIRST DAY OFF.
That way, you can enjoy the rest of your weekend.
10) SCHEDULE TIME TO PLAY.
I found I was so busy doing mommy things, like feeding and
laundry, that I
wasn't actually being a mom! Do you really want to spend your
watching bad TV or people yelling at each other about the
day's events on
cable? Schedule a bike ride or a dinner out with friends.
The more fulfilling
you make your free time, the less stressful your work life