Making Time Management Work for You: Crash Course Business – Soft Skills #10

Making Time Management Work for You: Crash Course Business – Soft Skills #10

You know that moment when you’ve gone too
far down an internet rabbit hole? You’re in the depths of Wikipedia, reading
a ridiculously long article about deep sea fish… those things are so weird. Then, you look at the clock and SOMEHOW it’s
3 a.m. You’ve got a reading you didn’t do, a
test to finish cramming for, and class in the morning. Or even a job! And you wish you had managed your time just
a little bit better. Well, we’ve all been there. So, today, we’re going to give you strategies
to work more efficiently, delegate tasks, and manage your time better so you’re not
late, very late, for your very important dates. I’m Evelyn from the Internets. And this is Crash Course Business: Soft Skills. [Intro Music Plays] There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to
time management. Remember: we’re not going to ask you to
change yourself to become a business robot. The first step to feeling in control of your
time is thinking about your working style, your work, and even your personality. Maybe you like detailed schedules or have
a pretty structured job, like a secretary or government employee. Or maybe you think regimented schedules are
suffocating and want the flexibility to work on your own timeline. I mean, that’s why I quit my office job
and became a freelancer. So don’t listen to those management gurus
who say there’s only one way to make a daily schedule. Managing your day down to the minute with
a sticky note system and a productivity tracker is just as valid as prioritizing big projects
and diving in. And you probably have a time of day that you
work best, too. Some people are morning larks who get up early
for yoga and a protein smoothie, and then do their best work first thing. Some of us are night owls who would love to
sit in our pajamas until 11am, eating cereal and watching Netflix, and do our best work
later in the day. Even though us night owls may not appreciate
chipper morning larks, and you morning larks may assume we’re lazy, there’s nothing
wrong with either style. Work with who you are and what you got! Do the super important stuff, like big presentation
prep, when you’re most productive. And do the low intensity stuff, like sending
daily emails, when you’re in slump time. No matter when or how you work, there are
ways to make the most out of your time and stay focused. For one, always avoid multitasking. It’s a myth. You’re just switching inefficiently between
a lot of things. You’ll be distractible and probably end
up making messes when things could have been simple. So to keep you from running around as mad
as a hatter or anxiously dwelling on what you /might/ be forgetting to do, make a checklist. Put the important stuff first, and complete
things one at a time. Once you find your flow, do what you can to
avoid interruptions. Even little ones snowball into big chunks
of time, and it takes longer to refocus than you’d think. Say you’re hard at work and your roommate
offers you something to eat. It might only take a minute to grab that snack,
but our brains are weird and don’t actually get back to that peak concentration level
very easily. This chunk of additional time is called the
disruption cost, and you may need something like 15 minutes to get back into the zone. Now, you don’t need to disconnect from people
completely and hide in a cottage in the woods like the March Hare or Ron Swanson. It may take a bit of coordination with your
coworkers, but if you can, go somewhere away from that open-office floor plan for an hour
or two and unplug. I know it’s hard to disconnect from electronics,
because we give them so much attention every single day. You’ve got texts, DMs, and Facebook messages
coming in, plus reminders, and your work may want you online for emails or Slack. But you can limit those distractions by printing
out your reports or taking handwritten notes, setting a certain amount of media minutes
each day, leaving your phone in airplane mode for a bit, or using a screen blocker app. Now, sometimes work is pretty straightforward
and specific to you, like writing a report. But you won’t always be able to work solo. No matter your job, you’ll eventually be
a team member or a leader. And if your to-do list has a bit of everything
and you’re spread too thin, prioritize your tasks, and then strategically delegate things
that aren’t your specialty. Think about it this way. With a little delegation, the Queen of Hearts
managed to get an entire garden repainted in, like, 20 minutes. Despite her faults, she was an efficient
villain. But… you probably shouldn’t model your
people skills after her. So don’t delegate things that could seriously
burden other people, put them in an ethical pickle, or encourage poor behavior. Remember setting SMART goals? Handing work off with ambiguous instructions,
like, “Do whatever it takes to meet our sales target!”, could leave room for corners
to be cut. And don’t delegate something important just
because you don’t want to deal with it or, “it’s not your job.” Sometimes, yes, you could get a request that’s
out of line. But for the most part, if everyone said, “it’s
not my job,” a lot of important stuff just wouldn’t get done. This avoidance is why HR departments end up
handling most sexual harassment claims alone, even though messages of support from leaders
and managers about what’s not okay in the office go a long way. You should be thinking critically about why
you’re delegating tasks. So, if you’re the best person for the job
and you have time, give the work a shot. But if you’re bad at something or your teammate
would be a better fit, maybe pass it along. For instance, the designer in your office
could work on place settings for the next company fundraising lunch, while you work
on the corporate guest list. You’ll accomplish more together if everyone’s
playing to their strengths. And if you can teach someone a skill, you’ll
demonstrate leadership, save yourself time later, and make your team stronger. But if delegation isn’t cutting it and you
still feel like you have too much on your plate, remember that you can say no to another
project. Okay, you can sometimes say no. There are times you’ve gotta do what you
gotta do, especially if you’re getting an order that’s framed as a request or it’s
basically in your job description. If you’re a card soldier, you can’t say
no to standing guard. But when you do have the option, remember:
there’s only so much time in a day, and you want to put your effort towards things
that matter. So an extra responsibility could give you
a chance to show your skills. But think about the time commitment, how important
it is, how good of a job you think you could do, and if it helps meet any of your own goals. If you’re not hyped about it, then offer
a polite, “no thank you.” Just don’t take too long to decide, because
whoever’s asking probably has a deadline and needs to find someone else. If you say no, do it respectfully and directly. Thank them for thinking of you, and maybe
throw in another way you can help them out, or name-drop someone who can. To see how you can thoughtfully manage your
responsibilities, let’s go to the Thought Bubble. Let’s say you’re in charge of planning
a Fall Fair for your small town. It’s a big event, so you’ve got a super
long checklist of things to do. Luckily, you’ve got a talented team, so
you can delegate some of those tasks. You don’t want to dump random things on
people’s plates, and you know that sometimes people have skills that may surprise you. So during the next team meeting, you ask everyone
to tell you where they’d be the best fit. Together, you divvy up responsibilities. You’re in charge of vendors and sponsors. Your financially savvy friend is keeping track
of the budget. And it turns out that one of your friends
does graphic design on the side, so she’s making the flyers and posters. With more of the work spread across the team,
you’re still really busy, but you’re definitely less stressed. So when another friend asks you to help plan
the annual fundraising breakfast for the local police force, you want to say yes. The event is super important to her, and she
makes a mean waffle. You’re happy she trusts your planning skills,
but you’re afraid that one more task will turn your perfectly planned calendar upside
down. After you sleep on it, you tell her that you’re
flattered she asked, and you’re passionate about the cause, but you don’t have time
to take on another event. Then, you suggest that she give your super
meticulous sister a call, since she’s an expert planner during a crisis. Your sister’s got the time and even convinces
her boyfriend to help out! Now, you’re not overcommitted and distracted
by extra responsibilities, and your friend has the help she needs. Thanks, Thought Bubble! It’s easy to overestimate how much time
something is going to take and accidentally take on too much. It happens whether you’re working a 9-to-5
office job, freelance gigs, or some sort of combo. So if you’re struggling to figure out what
you really have time for or what projects you should say no to, try using a calendar. After you’ve mapped out your current schedule,
pencil in projects you want to take on and their deadlines. That way you can visualize how busy you actually
are. Then, you can use your SMART goals to figure
out your priorities, and cut what isn’t important. Don’t put off projects you really care about
until “the right time.” Guess what? You’re always busy. Now is the right time! But also remember to pencil in time for you. The key to good quality work is feeling good. If you spread yourself too thin, you won’t
be doing anyone a favor. I know I sound like your Internet Mom right
now but… You need to get close to 8 hours of sleep. Just because you’ve heard that successful
people get up at 4am doesn’t mean you should. Really tired insomniacs who can’t focus
get up at 4am too. So get the rest your body needs. And the last thing you probably want to do
when you’re overwhelmed is hit the gym, but exercise can help you destress and keep
your brain working smoothly. If you sacrifice your sleep, healthy eating,
social time, or anything else that’s important to you… you’ll feel worse, do worse work,
and spend more time worrying… and probably crying. Take care of yourself! Perfect is the enemy of good, and if you find
yourself stressing, don’t overthink it. It’s probably great, and it’s time to
put down the pencil. Aaand… with that, we’ve
officially used up all our time on time. So don’t forget: Figure out what works for you, because we’re
all different! But multitasking isn’t real. Delegate what you can, and do it thoughtfully. Prioritize your tasks by using a checklist
and use a calendar to see what’s important. It’s better to do high quality work over
high quantity, so it’s okay to respectfully say no. We know you’re making important decisions
on college, jobs, and just life in general. So next time, we’ll be talking about how
to avoid thought traps and make effective decisions. Crash Course Business is sponsored by Google and it’s made with the help of all these nice people and Thought Cafe is our
amazing animation team. Crash Course is a Complexly production. If you wanna keep imagining the world complexly
with us, you can check out some of our other channels like SciShow Psych, where hosts Hank
Green and Brit Garner explore the complex science of the human brain. Also, if you’d like to keep Crash Course
free for everybody, forever, you can support the series at Patreon; a crowdfunding platform
that allows you to support the content you love. Thank you to all of our patrons for making
Crash Course possible with their continued support.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes


  1. This is great – super helpful!

    Regarding what you said about underestimating how long something will take, this has been happening a lot to me lately in my new job. In part, it’s because I feel like I don’t always have a frame of reference of how long something will take me (because it’s new or because my boss/peers think of it differently/in a certain way compared to me because I have a very different background and way of thinking) AND because my boss is often very vague about expectations and timelines (she doesn’t suggest gradual deadlines, but rather a lot all at once because EVERYTHING is urgent to her, no matter how I try to frame it to her).

    Do you have any tips? I feel like I’m losing my mind, or maybe I’m lazy/not as good as the rest of the team – it’s hard to feel like I’m always lagging behind with no light at the end of the tunnel.

  2. Can you make a video on how to manage time, stress and life when you have learning disabilities like ADHD/ADD or psychological disorders like depression, anxiety etc..

  3. Thank you so much! I struggle a lot with time management. I have four honors classes on my plate, a piano recital coming up, and a close friend of mine who is having a birthday tomorrow (I'm making her present now). I'll be sure to follow this advice!

  4. Weird. Hitting the gym when I have too much on my plate is exactly how I overwhelm and push my limits. I mean, if you're the kind of person that can't sleep and wants to jog until they suffocate, then sure, working out can be hard. But as long as you're on top of your bodily needs, you can dive in and out of the gym without too much fuss.

  5. So i like a strict scedule down to the minute but im a night owl. Im in bed till 10am and productive most around 5-6pm then i go to bed a 3am

  6. As an industrial designer, we often are forced to stay up for days on end due to the fact we're not taught how to manage time!
    Thanks for the tips

  7. This is so perfect for theatre. Directors can take so much from this. Making your team stronger and playing to their strengths. I’d just like a video on how to pick that team and motivate people.

  8. anyone both | I wake up early in the morning to finish work and procrastinate all day then at midnight i write an 800-word speech for the next day

  9. This has good points, but if you do work for government a sudden request can quickly become the top priority, especially in emergency situations. It's taxpayers' money, unlike the private sector.

  10. This whole course should not be there. Not trying to internet troll CrashCourse, but do people need a “course” for just talk about the fact that you can work in the way that best suits you? If it were a seperate channel I’d have unsubscribed.

  11. Having my own business; don't listen to people who say they would do everything themselves. Delegate what you can afford to and if you can't afford to, consider why. Some things can't be delegated, because you can't give away certain decision-making tasks, but you can for most things.

    EDIT: These thoughts are for an app development company. There's a lot of technical tasks that are easy to underestimate.

    Here's two rules of thumb I use;

    1). If you can do a non-repeating task now and in 5 minutes, do it now and don't put it on a checklist. By non-repeating, I mean, 'a task of a kind that you'll only do once today'. So, if you have only 1 e-mail to reply to with one or two sentences, do it now. If you have two of those emails, you're probably going to take more time, so put it on the checklist.

    2). Everything you have to do, say, ~30 times is worth time and money to automate and systematize. Standard email replies, for example. I bought a €500 scanner that scans up to 50 receipts in 100 seconds and recognizes cost amounts, dates, vendors and buyers. I did that, because I have a ton of tiny expenses that I want tax returns for. It paid for itself the next day. That was a whole year of accounting I processed.

  12. Trust me she’s not kidding when she says trying to do too much work leads to fewer work getting done.. and a lot of time wasted ?

  13. I'm a morning person, but the chipperness is a MYTH lol. I work best in morning, mentally, but that doesn't mean I like it 😉

  14. I'm a night owl and HATE that morning larks feel they are somehow better than us. That one must become like them in order for us to be successful. It's infuriating and I've decided to stop explaining myself for being a night owl. I can get early in the morning every once in a while and if there's a good reason. However, I've learned the hard way that getting up early every morning will make me physically and emotionally sick. Skipping meals is another one that I have decided to not allow. Eating well and in peace is not a luxury. It is a necessity

  15. App recommendations: Habitica (also a website) and Forest. Habitica – list your chores and tasks and such, check them off, level up your avatar, defeat monsters. Forest – set a timer, plant a virtual tree, leave your phone alone (or only use whitelisted apps) or the tree dies.

    As for stuff that isn't your job, though, gotta talk a bit about training your teammates: If you are always the one who does the thing even though it's their job, eventually it becomes your job, and they think that it's their job to hand you half-finished work. If they ASK — "hey, we're swamped, can you do the thing" — that's fine, that's acknowledging it's their job. But if they're handing you half-done work and expecting you to roll with it, Nope Nope Nope. Hand that back. "This isn't ready for me yet, please let me know when you've finished XYZ."

  16. I'll disagree about multi tasking being a myth. It's real. You just have to know how many things you can juggle efficiently.

  17. We hear over and over that multi-tasking is a myth and that distraction cost is real, yet many job ads and descriptions contain the phrases “ability to multi-task” and “able to handle multiple distractions.” Who didn’t get the memo?

  18. I always struggled with the advice to delegate. Early in my career, I was basically the bottom of the totem pole within my small nonprofit organization. Everyone delegated to me, but there was nobody for me to delegate to. Occasionally we had short-term volunteers, but most of the time, delegating to them involved so much training on our various systems that it was easier to do the thing myself. Years later, I'm finally in a position where I work at a University, and I just hired my first student worker to whom I can delegate. I know the time I invest in training her will be worthwhile because she's going to stick around long enough to get independent at her tasks. It's really great, but it's taken me a while to get here.

  19. Aww… her sweet voice makes me feel less bad about my horrible time management habits hahahaha. I love you Crash Course !!

  20. Last semester I thought my problem was me not having good enough time management.
    Turns out I was way over stretching myself too thin.

    For about 2 months straight I on every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I went to bed at 2am that night and got up at 6am.
    I lived on energy drinks.
    The thought of having one now kind of grosses me out.

    (It's easier to admit to yourself and on your ego that you aren't stretched too thin, instead you simply aren't managing your time effectively enough.)

  21. I have to be on my game for email, and even conversations. I get misinterpreted pretty regularly. That's super problematic.

  22. Yay for sleep!!! It's about time we pushed back on people who aren't clued in to the self-abuse sleep deprivation is. It's not a lack of discipline to sleep long enough in the morning if you're productive or health-driven in the evenings.

    And let's abolish that bi-annual time change, shall we?

  23. Am I the only one who thought of kuroko no basuke when she said THE ZONE and talking about DEEP CONCENTRATION…

  24. Procrastinating is how I got here to this video ? Maybe I'll stop procrastinating now after watching this… maybe not.. we'll see?

  25. This video helps me so much. The solutions to problem was described neatly. I will remember all of your advice.

  26. Hye so this was super awesome and really helpful! I am in my last semester in college, with CAP stones and a million other projects due so thanks for the help. Keep up the good work!!!

  27. i know that this is crash course and it is supposed to be fast but I just love the calm way in which she speaks. Great vid!

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