The last three years have been full of challenges for me. As a software developer, wife, and a mother of very energetic twins, the pandemic, quarantine, and working remotely while taking care of two boys, brought stress to a whole new level. If that weren’t enough, I had also been taking English classes, working as a project lead, and studying about Azure and other new technologies for certifications. All of those things can be a recipe for chaos as a software developer…
The only way to deal with chaos is with good time management techniques. The techniques that have worked for me so far are:
- Establishing realistic goals
- Setting priorities wisely
- Giving myself deadlines to complete a task
- Making a plan
- Taking little breaks
- Meeting regularly for one-on-ones with coworkers
Following these tips, you can create a balance and achieve all your goals.
When you set specific goals, you need to determine if they are achievable and measurable by using the SMART method. The goals must be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. For example, if you want to complete a web service for tomorrow, yet you have two children who you promised to take to the park, this technique can come in handy to achieve your business and mom goals. You need to detail the exact tasks, describe how you will achieve the defined tasks, set up the time for each one, determine if you must remove one or delegate it to someone else and decide if it is relevant for the goal that you want to achieve.
Once you have your tasks defined, you need to assign the priority for the defined tasks. You can separate them by their importance and urgency. The categories are:
- Important and urgent: These tasks need to be done today.
- Important but not urgent: For these tasks, you don’t have to complete them today, but you need to set a date for them.
- Urgent but not necessarily important: These tasks can be delegated if possible.
- Not urgent and not important: These tasks can be set aside for a later time.
Give yourself deadlines to complete a task
After you have the tasks prioritized, you need to set a time limit to complete them. By setting up a time, you will feel more focused and efficient. You’ll be able to finish the tasks that you have assigned, and have time to go to the park with your boys. This strategy can help you plan better if sudden problems come up. For example, if one of the boys is sick, that is important and urgent. You could delegate your other tasks or set up another time to complete them.
Make a Plan
It’s important to set up a plan and have a clear idea of what you are going to achieve or what you want to achieve. A schedule helps you to stay focused, as well as setting up a “to-do” list of what you are going to accomplish on a specific day. By setting up a plan, you won’t end up feeling stressed and rushing through your tasks.
Take Little Breaks
As part of your planning, you need to include breaks. You need to allow some downtime to clear your head and be able to try again with renewed energy once you achieve this. In my case, I do not take a nap, but I give some quality time to my family, such as: playing with my boys or talking with my husband. Just by changing the scenery, for a little while, you often get refreshed and reinvigorated. It’s important to also take a vacation and have quality time for yourself and your family that helps you reset and recharge.
Meet Regularly for a One-on-One with Co-workers
For my last tip, you should consider setting up a one-on-one meeting with a coworker. It helps to talk about your experiences with someone else who may be experiencing the same thing. They can be a good sounding board when you’re feeling overwhelmed and defeated. Your coworker can help you organize your ideas and offer a different perspective that you may not have considered. I know I rely on my Wovenware colleagues for a good pep talk whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed.
For some additional advice, or “La ñapita,” to keep up your energy, it’s important to exercise, stay healthy, and remember to go to the doctor if you need to. You need to be well to reach your goals, do your best work, and be the best version of yourself.
By Amarilys, a Software Developer at Wovenware