Are you overwhelmed by that growing to-do list, or by feeling like there are not enough hours in the day? While it may be difficult to trim your tasks completely, it is possible to make the most of the time you do have with effective time-management techniques.
These five tips to improve your time management skills are among our favorites:
- Be mindful of how you’re spending (and wasting) your time.
Do you have 20 tabs open on your browser? Is your gaze drifting to your iWatch every time it buzzes? Do you allow your inbox to dictate your time? We all have things that distract us. But if we know where those time thieves are lurking, we can be proactive about avoiding them or eliminating them altogether. Track yourself for a few days, either manually or by using an app like Toggl or RescueTime, to figure out how much time you’re really spending on day-to-day tasks. Then determine where adjustments need to be made.
- Eliminate distraction.
After your self-analysis, it will be time to muster up some willpower and self-restraint to avoid those distractions. When we allow ourselves to follow distractions (like looking at hotel prices while writing a report, for example), neither task gets our full attention or commitment. So, if your phone is pulling you away from an important review, set time limits or turn on Do Not Disturb. If knocks on the door are interrupting a planning session, block out time on the company calendar and put a sign on your door letting people know when you’ll be available again. Eliminating distraction isn’t that different from setting boundaries—with others and with ourselves. Boundaries allow for strong focus and high productivity.
- Get organized.
Disarray, whether it’s your untidy desk, your unorganized inbox, or your scribbly calendar, can lead to a lot of wasted time. Organize your space, your planner, your desktop and any other items you need to do your job. You’ll spend less time looking for that file you need or double-checking the meeting time—and more time doing the important tasks of your job.
- Stop multitasking.
You might be thinking “impossible,” but that’s not so. Multitasking is just another form of distraction, but it’s one we create for ourselves. The best way to stop multitasking is to create a schedule or to “chunk” your time. This will be easier once you’ve tracked your time use, of course. Give each item on the day’s to-do list a time limit—and stick to it, just like you would an appointment or a meeting. Be sure to build in a few minutes between each task so nothing gets shortchanged, and to give your brain a necessary break.
- Prioritize wisely.
It may feel good to check five minor items off your to-do list, but it might not be the most effective use of your time. Instead, try starting your day or week with the heavy lifting, rather than leaving it for the end when you’re likely to be less focused. Knocking those major items off your list will clear your schedule and your mind, so you’re able to accomplish everything else on your list.
Organizations count on Ulliance Human Effectiveness Training experts to provide employees the tools they need to best manage their time in the workplace. Ulliance consultants help to strengthen your workforce through training sessions that integrate discussion and experiential exercises with tools and skills that are immediately transferrable to the job—all customized to your specific industry. Ulliance offers the perfect solutions for employers who value their employees and the bottom line. How can we help you? Visit www.ulliance.com, or call 866-648-8326.