In a time like now, where most people are working from home and having to be super disciplined about managing their day, it is important to be efficient with your time. Proper time management will help you feel more productive, give you the opportunity to track project progress, and most importantly, contribute to your company’s overall success. The rule of thumb in time management is to work smarter, not harder.
What is the best way to manage time effectively?
Applying these 10 tips is a good start.
1. Have a Time Check
It is important to understand the tasks that are stealing most of your time. For example, you may be spending too much time on email and cleaning up your inbox vs completing important tasks. Knowing this will help you make decisions on where to best allocate your time to increase your productivity.
2. Set a Time Limit
Setting time limits on the projects you are working on allows you to determine how long certain tasks take to complete. With this knowledge, you will be able to challenge yourself to work within the allotted time given. This will help you be more efficient and stay ahead of your deliverables for the day.
3. Use Software Tools for Time Management
Technology is more sophisticated than ever and could be a great resource in helping you manage your time. Spend a little time researching a tool that will work for you. Remember, one software that works well for someone else may not be the best fit for you. Try to find one that you enjoy and will integrate well with the systems you already use daily.
4. Make a To-Do List
Writing out a to-do list will help keep you focused, motivated, and ready to tackle your day. Start by writing down the3 key things that you want to accomplish that day. Sticking to this list and completing the important tasks you identified will help you feel more accomplished. You also may feel some satisfaction in checking completed tasks off your list.
5. Plan Ahead
It is important to take time each day to plan for the next day, even if it is only 5 minutes at the end of your day. When you start the next day knowing what needs to get done, it will help you remain organized and focused. Breaking tasks across the day/week will also help you determine how much time is needed to complete your tasks.
6. Schedule Most Important Tasks During Your “Peak Performance” Time
Some people are morning people while others do their best work in the afternoon. Try to plan your most important tasks during the time of day that you are most productive. This will help ensure you give your undivided attention to your key deliverables for that day.
7. Delegate and Outsource
Some of us do not always have the luxury of being able to delegate our work but if you do you should take advantage. It is important to delegate work that you do not absolutely have to handle yourself, leaving your time open to focus on higher priority items that only you can complete. Cross-training someone to do non-priority tasks is also a good way to outsource tasks and free up your day.
8. Focus on One Task at a Time
If you have chosen to start a task, see it through to the end, minimizing distractions along the way. Avoid doing half-work, which means stopping your current task to start something completely different. One example of half-work is starting a report then suddenly checking your email and writing replies. This is not only bad for your time management but also interferes with your concentration, causing you to lose momentum. See each task through to the end and do not let your email notifications at the bottom corner of your screen get the best of your time.
9. Schedule Time Blocks on Your Calendar
Set aside “working” time on your calendar so you do not fill up your day with too many meetings without enough time to get actual work done. Make sure you are true to yourself and do not schedule anything during that time block. That time is meant for you to focus on your deliverables, not to help someone else complete their tasks for the day.
10. Avoid Perfection
Remember, a task does not have to be perfect to be complete. Avoid overanalyzing everything you do. Always do your best, put your best work forward, and do not let perfection drag you down. Once you have given a task your best it is time to move on
Effective time management is ultimately having the right attitude and commitment to your goals. It allows you to produce better work in less time. Embracing these time management techniques is not about adding more tasks into your day but simplifying how you work to do things better. Every minute is precious, do not waste it doing something that is not adding value to your life. By adopting good time management techniques, you will have more time to do things that will help you grow personally and professionally.