When I was 14, I worked at Burger King. It was an awesome job. My friends worked there, I got to eat fast food for dinner two nights each week, and I could drink as much free soda as I wanted.
Turns out, it was a great job for another reason: I learned about time management.
Each shift started at 4:00 and ended at 8:00. I couldn’t clock in one minute early or out one minute late due to child labor laws. During that four-hour period, I had to take and serve orders, sweep the dining room, restock condiments, take a 30-minute dinner break, and count my drawer. Because I worked with several friends, it was tempting to stand around and chat. The manager spent most of the evening in her office smoking and doing paperwork, so I could have gotten away with it… except my work wouldn’t get done.
So it came down to managing those tasks and that four-hour period. I asked myself: How can I streamline my work so I can budget 30 minutes or so of standing around and talking with my friends?
Budgeting my workload to include goofing-off prepared me for a lifetime of careful time management.
Just like my chatty 14-year-old self, I still budget my workload to include time for friends and family, which is crucial to prevent burnout.
Whenever I find myself getting off balance, I flash back to Burger King. What helped me so carefully budget my time then? My timesheet!
Because my time card had to be so precise, it kept me on track. Now, whenever I get overwhelmed or whenever I can’t figure out how best to manage my time, I whip our a grownup version of my Burger King punch card.
It works amazingly well!
Next time you feel stuck or overwhelmed, try using a timesheet. I guarantee that, even if it doesn’t help you cross things off your list, it will help you to think through and prioritize all those to-dos!
By the way, I recommend the 168 hours time management spreadsheet as a streamlined time tracker system. Not too many bells and whistles, which is super important when tracking your time shouldn’t take much time!