One of the most common clichés that I have came across in my young career is the notion of “working smart not hard”. I found this statement quite ridiculous for engineers because, our profession requires us to work smart anyway. Unless of course mental exhaustion is to be classified as a direct result of “hard work”.
One of the biggest issues I struggled with in college was lack of proper time management skills. I was taking multiple classes most semesters, and on top of that I had to work 40 hours a week. I found it challenging to balance my studying efforts in a way in which I could maximize my input in all classes. More often than not I found myself focusing more on classes that I liked and much less on classes that I found less interesting, effectively suffering multiple episodes of all-nighters and redbull binges.
Now that I am an engineering professional, I am constantly struggling with how to effectively manage my time. Several stategies have worked very well for me so I would like to share them with you. These strategies take into account an engineer’s daily routine which involves design, communication, management and overall lifestyle.
Create a TO-DO list
Write your list in the morning, as the first task at the commencement of your working day. This forces you to focus on the tasks at hand by allowing you to set goals for yourself. The to-do list is an effective time management practice which allows you to make sure that you do not waste your time worrying about what you have forgotten. Avoid trying to create a TO-DO list in your head. It must, must, must be written down. Once you have you TO-DO list completed leave it at a highly visible spot such as your desk top.
Feel free to share your tips with us, by posting a comment below or becoming a content contributor.
See Randy Pausch Lecture: Time Management – (Get some popcorn, it is 75 minutes long)