Social Services Are you in command of your time

Source: NYSUT Social Services

This column examines ways in which NYSUT's Social Services Department helps union members with decisions about counseling, elder care and other social issues - including tapping into networks of services in communities around New York state.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a solid time-management strategy in place? Fortunately, effective time management is a simple skill that anyone can learn no matter how disorganized you have been in the past.

The key principle is to identify and focus on projects and activities that give you the greatest return for your effort. Concentrating on the following strategic actions will help you feel in command of your life.


First, identify problem areas. One eye-opening method is keeping an activity log for a week. Every time you change activities, whether checking e-mail, teaching or chatting with co-workers, write down the time of the change. Then review your use of time at the end of each day and the end of the week. Many people are shocked by the amount of time they waste or devote to low-yield tasks. This exercise alone can dramatically impact the way you approach time.


Regular use of a prioritized to-do list is crucial to working efficiently. Create a master list of work and life tasks, and assign each one a numerical or alpha value to indicate its importance. Too many high-priority tasks? Reflect again and downgrade a few. Then reorder the tasks according to priority. For greatest impact, review and update your to-do list at least once daily.


Scheduling is the art of transforming your to-do list into a viable program of action. It provides a realistic sense of what can actually be accomplished with your time.

Using a calendar, appointment book or blank page, sketch out the blocks of time you wish to make available for your work and personal activities on any given day or week.

Then plug in core responsibilities like work shifts, appointments or meetings. Next, using your to-do list, schedule the most important priorities, leaving space for unforeseen demands.

To achieve greater balance in your life, carve out time for family and personal pursuits first.

Taking the time to apply these skills consistently will help you to reduce stress, conserve precious time and energy and feel on top of the world, said NYSUT Vice President Kathleen Donahue.

Please call us at NYSUT Social Services for more resources on time management, or to discuss personal time-management struggles like procrastination, difficulty saying no or trouble with delegation.

To get help

Call NYSUT Social Services at (800) 342-9810, ext. 6206 Or e-mail UFT in-service members can call (212) 539-0665. UFT retirees can call (212) 598-6880.