We’ve all experienced the problems of time management at work. You start the day hopeful and optimistic, then ………… you leave the house later than planned, traffic is heavy and by the time you get to work your already frustrated with the world.
Sitting down to finally start that job you’ve been procrastinating for weeks, you realize you’ve got back-to-back meetings—and you’re already late for the first one. You finally walk out of the last meeting, and you start wading through emails when one of your staff asks for your help with a task “It should only take 10 minutes,” he says. An hour later you’re still working on this task …..……
The good news is that there are ways to reclaim those seemingly elusive lost hours of the day. It’s all about personal time management—manage your time instead of letting it manage you. Here are some time management tips for work to get you started:
1. Figure out how you’re currently spending your time.
If you’re going to optimize your personal time management, you first need to figure out where the time is going. Try diligently logging your time for a week by tracking your daily activities. This audit will help you, determine how much you can feasibly accomplish in a day and focus on activities that provide the greatest returns.
2. Create a daily schedule
This step is absolutely crucial for learning how to manage time at work. Don’t even attempt starting your day without an organized to-do list. Before you leave work for the day, create a list of the most pressing tasks for the next day. This step allows you to get going as soon as you get to the office.
If you can’t do it the day before, make sure you write out your list first thing in the morning. You’ll find that the time you spend creating a clear plan is nothing compared to the time you’ll lose jumping between tasks when you lack such a plan.
As you organize your to-do list, prioritization is key for successful time management at work. Start by eliminating tasks that you shouldn’t be performing in the first place. Then identify the three or four most important tasks and do those first—that way, you make sure you finish the essentials.
4. Batch tasks
Save yourself time and mental energy by trying to complete all of one type work before moving on to the next. For example, create separate chunks of time for answering emails, making phone calls, filing, etc. Don’t answer emails and messages as they come in, as doing so is distraction at its finest. Turn off your phone and email notifications to completely eliminate the temptation to check at an unappointed time.
5. Avoid the urge to multitask.
This is one of the simplest time management tips for work, yet it can be one of the hardest to follow. Focus on the task at hand and block out all distractions. It can be tempting to multitask, but you’re just shooting yourself in the foot when you attempt to do so. You lose time and decrease productivity when switching from one task to another. Research has shown when moving from a task to another and then back again it takes approximately 20 minutes to get back on track.
6. Assign time limits to tasks.
Part of creating your schedule should involve setting time limits on tasks instead of just working until they’re done. To-do lists are great and wonderful, but sometimes you might feel like you never check anything off.
If you’d rather set your own pace, timeboxing allows you to block out varied amounts of time. Use your time log (step #1) to get an estimate for how long an activity will take you. Once you’ve spent the designated amount of time on that task, move on to the next important activity. You’ll find your productivity skyrocketing and your to-do list shrinking when you have these parameters in place.
7. Build in buffers.
One of the more enjoyable time management tips for work: Make breaks a part of your schedule. When you finish a task, give yourself time to breathe and take mini breaks to recharge.
8. Learn to say no.
You’ll never learn how to manage time at work if you don’t learn how to say no. Only you truly know what you have time for, so if you need to decline a request in order to focus on more important tasks, don’t hesitate to do so. And if you take on a project that is obviously going nowhere, don’t be afraid to let it go.
If you can’t say no, delegate it. While delegating can be a hard skill to learn, it can work wonders for your personal time management. You’ve put together a talented team, so determine the tasks you can pass on.
9. Get organized.
For effective time management, this tip needs to actually go on your to-do list. If you have piles of papers scattered all over your desk, finding the one you actually need will be like finding a needle in a haystack. There are few things as frustrating as wasting valuable time looking for misplaced items. Not to mention how hard clutter can make it to focus.
Little things make a big difference. Create a filing system for documents. Unsubscribe to emails you no longer need. Just think—you only have to do it once, but you get the benefits forever.
10. Eliminate distractions.
Social media, web browsing, co-workers, text messages, instant messaging—the distractions at work can be limitless. A key to personal time management is being proactive about getting rid of them. Shut your door to limit interruptions. Close all tabs except the ones you are currently working on. Turn off messaging notifications and leave your personal phone calls for lunch.
So there you have it, give these techniques a try and see for yourself how effective they can be!!