From time to time, every employee experiences the feeling of looking at the clock and realizing half of their day is already gone. Without proper time management, even small daily tasks can absorb critical worktime when sprinkled in between large-scale projects, department meetings and other improvised daily tasks. Your time is your most valuable asset when on the clock, and following these simple steps can be beneficial to your workflow and maximizing your productivity!
Step 1 – Begin by reflecting on how they’re currently spending your time and set realistic expectations for yourself. Try to determine how much work you believe you can accomplish in a day, identify your downfalls and what slows you down, and focus on things that will give you the best return.
Step 2 – Create a schedule and stick with it, but also prioritize wisely. Review and prioritize your agenda by items you must-do (things that are time sensitive and important), should do (important upcoming must-do items) and nice-to-do items (things that would make your life easy but aren’t urgent or time sensitive). Evaluate your to-do list and make sure you organized it based on the importance of a task rather than its urgency. Important responsibilities support the achievement of your goals, whereas urgent responsibilities require immediate attention and are associated with the achievement of someone else’s goals. We tend to let the urgent dominate when we should really focus on activities that support our business goals.
Step 3 – Group similar task together, for example, check your email at certain times during the day, and only at those times. If you know you must make a few phone calls, focus on completing those at one time. Not only does it stop you from getting distracted by other things, but it uses less mental energy and helps eliminate mistakes due to repetition. Focusing on what you’re doing, when you’re doing it will increase productivity and help avoid time lost due to multitasking.
Step 4 – Give each task a time-limit. Avoid letting your smaller tasks drag on for too long, interrupting time that would be allocated to more critical tasks. For example, allocate only 10 minutes each morning to clearing your email inbox. You can also give yourself short breaks in between larger projects to help maintain focus, reduce mental strain and stay motivated until the task in completed.
While these steps may only be a few of many strategies to follow, time management is crucial for staying on task in the workplace. Learning to utilize time-management techniques can have huge benefits throughout your career.