Time to Align

Saasha Reese, Talent Development Specialist 

With the return to campus for many, the transition from spring to summer and navigating new rhythms in work and life, it seems timely to consider our alignment. 

Alignment is the proper positioning or state of adjustment of parts in relation to each other 

Aligning our time with our priorities and responsibilities is important because we may have all the necessary pieces, however, we have them arranged in such a way that we are not able to successfully achieve our most important tasks or end up expending so much extra energy to do so. For example, we are so attentive to our email that we procrastinate on larger and more important projects. Here are a few tips to help you evaluate your alignment:  

Identify your priorities 

Make a list of all the tasks and projects that you are responsible for managing. If you are unsure about any item on this list, ask for input from your supervisor. This is also a great time to make sure your priorities align with your supervisor’s expectations. 

Evaluate your current flow 

Is the amount of time that you are dedicating to a specific task proportional to the importance of this task? Are there more important tasks being pushed to the side? Are you having any barriers with the task itself? What times of the day would be most productive for you to work on specific projects? 

Create a plan 

The most important part of designing a plan is to schedule work within the flow of your own productivity style and the demands of your role. Focus on the items that you can control first and build in some flexibility. For example, it may be helpful to spend the first 15 minutes of the day planning your priorities and completing quick tasks, which take 1-3 minutes, prior to checking your email. Once you’ve checked your email, fit any additional requirements into the schedule that you have already designed for the day. Prioritize important tasks over urgent distractions. Align tasks and responsibilities with priority of importance. Consider blocking time on your schedule to work on projects of high importance. Aligning your time with your priorities is a bit like making a time budget that allows you to spend where you intend and conserve where you need to. Don’t forget to include a physical break in your plan to get up from your desk and be intentional to do a restful activity during that time. 

Execute and Adjust 

Put your plan in place, and then after a week or two, spend some time evaluating the system that you have created. Evaluate what is working well, what needs to be adjusted and what needs to be excluded. Communicate with your supervisor regularly regarding your plan to make sure that it supports the objective of your role. Additionally, communicate your new plan with peers that can support you in your new rhythm of work.  

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