We all have 24-hours to work within a day. Have you noticed that some people can get the most out of every minute of the day? If yes, it’s not because they have the power to slow time down, it’s because they know how to manage their time wisely.
Have you also been feeling the need to be more organized or more productive? If you spend your days carrying out too many tasks and still wonder why you couldn’t accomplish much, then these time management tips are for you.
The Key to Time Management
Balance is the key. If you lack stability in your work life, you're going to feel stressed out, irrespective of the amount of work you do. Even if you manage to juggle your ad-hoc tasks with your regular responsibilities, without proper balance you’ll eventually reach a point of saturation. So, it's crucial to follow a schedule and understand and prioritize multiple tasks. These six tips will help you manage your time more efficiently.
1. Make Room for Important Tasks
You must finish tasks that need to be done first, and focus on what's important, not urgent. This way you don’t have to spend extra time worrying about accomplishing the priority and important task later. If you knock out the important tasks first, you will have an ample amount of time for the secondary tasks. In case a task comes up that needs your urgent attention, you can always move and postpone the less urgent ones.
2. Set Defined Goals and Follow a Schedule
Everything we do, we do for a reason, and the ultimate purpose is to reach a goal. If you lack defined targets or don’t set expectations, you’re bound to stumble off track. You can always set up SMART goals for yourself, or your team, which will help you see things through. Once you start implementing meaningful and targeted goals, you will have a better chance of achieving them.
To achieve your goals, it is also paramount to stick to a purposeful schedule. You should figure out how long it will take to complete any given task and when it is due. If you have everything pinned down, you’re halfway through. That way, you won’t have to spend time wondering whether or not you’ve forgotten something on your plate.
3. Eliminate Distractions
According to CareerBuilder, employees who take regular breaks during work are more productive. These short breaks enable them to complete their tasks more accurately. While taking short breaks is beneficial, eliminating distractions is also necessary. One chat notification on any social media platform can easily turn into an hour-long chit-chat. To prevent this and get quality work done, avoid looking at your social media accounts entirely.
4. Learn to Say “No”
If you have a huge amount of work on your plate, you should learn to say “No” when it’s appropriate. If you accept any non-priority tasks that are directed your way immediately, you won’t be able to focus on your other responsibilities. Agreeing to take on extra work can differentiate you from your peers, but if you are churning out quantity work over quality, you will likely end up being overwhelmed. That will only make you less productive at the end of the day.
5. Multi-task Only if You Can
Multitasking doesn’t mean “piling on the work” to the point of exhaustion. It’s about training your brain to channel energy efficiently and effectively so that you can accomplish more in less time.
For instance, if you have emails flooding in, you might feel compelled to reply while you’re already in the middle of another task. While some people are great with multi-tasking, some are not. In this case, you should ideally set aside some time to read and respond to emails that aren’t urgent. Dropping everything for every email will interrupt your thought flow and make it harder to get back on track. If you are someone who is terrible at multitasking you should learn how to allocate all of your time to one task at a time, so that you can complete your daily tasks.
6. Learn to Delegate
If you have a lot of work to handle, then you may want to ask your peers for their help. You can also use the Scrum methodology to delegate work among your team members. This way you’re not completely overwhelmed with work, and your team is working collaboratively. In addition, it’s always best for other team members to be aware of the bigger picture in case you become unavailable for any unforeseen reason.
We live in an age when we can earn a certification in a number of fields, thanks to technology, but soft skills like time management are not innate. Know that no matter how organized you are, there are only 24 hours in a day, and managing your own time wisely will benefit you and your entire team.