Note: This post is written by Samantha White
Learning proper time management is a skill. You will find there are several competent managers and leaders around you who may excel in what they do but are not the best time keepers.
If you have a habit of arriving late to work, find that you are not meeting your deadlines, or even social commitments, you might need to re-examine how you manage your time. Taking a step back to acknowledge that you may be struggling with your time management is the first step to improving yourself and how you spend your time.
Listed below are seven key tips for time management.
1. Make a List of Issues
Everyone gets distracted by one thing or another. Sometimes it’s intentional, other times it’s due to external disturbances.
You must consciously note and list all those activities that interrupt your usual flow of work. Each time you notice you have become distracted you should write it down. From there, review the list at the end of the day. In the long-term, make it an endeavor to avoid them the next day and so on.
2. Avoid Social Networking Sites
The amount of time each of us spends on social media every day is staggering. This wasted time should be effectively spent on tasks of importance (and for which we are getting paid for) at work.
If you can utilize a major proportion of time spent on social media and use it towards getting the work done, you will never be rushed to complete a task. It is best to uninstall those apps, particularly on work system or at least minimize using it. Social media can wait until break time or when you have finished your shift.
3. Set Realistic Goals & Reminders
For most of us, each day brings new challenges and new deliverables. Rather than choosing a task randomly and without a realistic timeline, you should strive to set small and large goals for your day.
You will find that setting daily goals and reminders will keep you on task, which in turn will make you more efficient. Not only that, you will find that you will become more productive and will have a sense of accomplishment as each goal is met.
For further assistance with setting goals and reminders, you can choose to use software. There is countless software available to assist you with reminders and goal setting. Just find one that suits you and your working style to ensure that you stay on track.
4. Learn How to Prioritize
It is easy to avoid doing the large or complicated tasks first, which should essentially be the center of our attention. This can be caused by getting bogged down with less important tasks. When you are overwhelmed with smaller and easier tasks, the larger, more complicated ones get pushed back.
At the end of the day, you have to do the tasks, sooner or later. So stop fooling yourself and get your priorities straight. The relief of accomplishing the larger, more complicated tasks first, will set the tone for the rest of the day.
5. Take One Thing at a Time
There are all sorts of research, reports, and analysis on multi-tasking and whether it works or not. Whatever the outcome, one thing is for sure: it is not efficient for everyone. You may be comforting yourself by noticing that you are doing it all at once and have been very busy, but the work quality of all those assignments would be compromised.
When you are multi-tasking, your mind is not focused. The concentration level and dedication is not the same when you are focused on a single piece of work compared to doing several things at once. A compromise in productivity will affect your timelines as well.
6. Understand That Free Time Is Also Money
They say time is money. If you really believe in this, then you must consider the ‘free time’ you have as valuable time too.
When I refer to free time, I do not mean time after work or during your vacations. I am referring to those ‘in between’ time periods that you have when you are visiting someone or traveling for example. You can use this downtime to quickly browse through your emails, make an urgent call, or do other.
7. Seek to Improve Yourself with Self-Help
Once you realise that you need help or must improve your time management skills, taking action is the next step. An easy way to take action is to read up on advice that is readily available online, in magazines, or newspapers.
Additionally, there are some great self-help texts in the market which will provide you with invaluable insight and solutions on how you can utilize your time, be organized, and efficient at your workplace.