Time management is a crucial skill to have in any workspace today. Through criminally underrated, good time management skills allow you to finish tasks timely, adhere to deadlines and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Along with your core skills, effective time management strategies ensure that you put your skills to the best use in the stipulated amount of organizational time.
According to reports, an average individual gets at least one interruption or distraction every 8 minutes or approximately seven times in an hour. The average work interruption takes around 5 minutes, totaling about 4 hours per day, which is about 50% of an average workday.
Whether work for a company or yourself, using your time wisely can do you a world of good. Not only do you exert less pressure on yourself with sound time management strategies, but you can also avoid hurriedly finishing your assignments, which often causes mistakes. This is why we have curated 12 powerful time management strategies that will help you improve your efficiency.
Let’s have a look at these proven techniques that have helped teams utilize time efficiently, improve accuracy and adhere to given deadlines.
12 Tips for Mastering Time Management at Work
1. Accept Your Flaws
The primary step towards any improvement is acknowledging that problems exist in the first place. You might be the best employee at your workplace and still be the one who has issues with time management. Maybe you work best in the after-hours or feel most creative in the mornings. Accept whatever your preferred style of work is and analyze your limitations. This will help you formulate a personalized strategy for managing your time wisely and working around obstacles.
Realize that it is perfectly human to make mistakes and that the most thoughtfully crafted plans are subject to changes and failures. This will help you focus more on solutions rather than problems and make you feel less overwhelmed by them.
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2. Plan Out Each Day
Even though plans, schedules, and priorities may change, making a rough plan for each day helps you think ahead and waste less time. Some individuals divide their work hours according to the tasks they have lined up, while others try to visualize the time likely spent on assignments. Whatever your work style may be, it is a good practice to take a few minutes to jot down your priorities for the day and plan how you will complete them.
3. Consider All Dimensions Of Your Assignments
Tasks today are becoming more and more multidirectional, meaning that you might have to liaise, acquire information, gain approval, provide assistance, solve problems, and shoulder responsibilities with different parties. These may be fellow employees, managers, stakeholders, or clients who all have their own schedules.
Thus it is also important to identify the right software for completing a particular task and leave a few open slots on your daily calendar in case of changes. This will help you invest your time wisely in each endeavor and mentally prepare you for what’s next.
4. Set Your Daily, Weekly & Monthly Priorities
This is one of the best time management strategies. While creating a list of your chores, it is important to determine the importance and urgency of all tasks. Create a schedule of all the tasks you need to finish daily, weekly, and monthly and assign priority to them based on their individual merit and deadlines involved.
Dividing major tasks into smaller sections can make them appear less menacing and help you follow a more structured routine to attain your daily goals. Breaking down your duties into daily, weekly or monthly commitments helps you stay focused each day, making yourself feel less occupied and completing your daily and long-term responsibilities with equal ease and precision.
5. Utilize Time Tracking Technologies
The use of time management tools has massively increased in recent years since they allow an easy and effective way to track work hours and improve productivity. Time tracking software can come in the form of on-premise software, mobile apps, or web-based solutions that can be accessed from anywhere. Such tools allow you to create worksheets, schedules, checklists, and assignment plans based on your priorities. Besides integrating with your existing work timer tools, they also provide timely alerts for upcoming deadlines and a weekly/monthly overview of your productivity.
6. Avoid Multitasking
Though multitaskers were highly sought after in the past decade, research suggests that multitasking can bring down your comprehension capabilities and intelligence by over 11%. Trying to finish multiple assignments simultaneously hampers your performance and can reduce your productivity by 40%. Focusing on one task at a time can help you accomplish twice the amount of work in a week and make each day more productive. However, it must also be mentioned that things like listening to soft music while working have improved productivity when used correctly.
7. Avoid Distractions
Distractions are the very reason why we need to manage our time. Smartphones, social media, the internet, useless banter, and meetings often drain away our productive time without us knowing. While certain distractions can’t be avoided, others could be sidelined with discipline and vigilance. Hence it is wise to avoid using your smartphone, stop using social media and keep your phone silent/away when working. Create fixed timings to review your inbox and avoid chit-chat while doing your work.
8. Use Timers
One of the best time management tips for employees that many employers swear by is the use of timers. Modern timers come with plenty of features that help you segregate tasks, get notified, and continue right from where you left off. Setting a timer not only allows you to track your hours and makes you more accountable, but it also allows you to take breaks judiciously, divide your tasks and clear your mind.
By using a timer, you can easily set time limits for each of your tasks and provide yourself with a set amount of time to complete your objective. This helps you push yourself in meeting deadlines, manage your time and accomplish more work in less time.
9. Divide tasks into smaller components
Deliver the project or task on time can be quite complicated, especially since such huge tasks initially seem daunting and time spent needs on them needs to be calculated judiciously. It’s easy to get distracted, off-track, and waste time with large milestones having multiple smaller side tasks. Therefore need time management for busines success, it is help to break such tasks into smaller sections based on their significance and take on one component after the other. This makes such tasks seem less intimidating and far more achievable.
10. Know when to say ‘No’
Welcoming every opportunity that comes your way might seem like a great idea, but taking on more than you can manage and multitasking (as mentioned above) can have adverse effects on your overall output. Saying “no” to certain tasks can help you feel less overworked or burnt out, allowing you to give your best. Thus it is best to know your limitations, be honest with yourself and say “no” when you have to.
11. Delegate Tasks
Instead of taking on more than you can process, it is prudent to delegate or outsource tasks wherever possible. If you have too much on your plate for the day and see more incoming, involve your teammates to tackle the situation better. This will ensure that your deadlines are met, and the new tasks are taken care of too. If possible, define roles and responsibilities to your teams wisely, making it easier to determine who would handle which tasks when the need arises.
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12. Recharge Your Batteries
Unlike robots, humans work best when provided with proper rest and relaxation. Unwinding is essential to humans as it improves concentration, attention, and energy levels while reducing errors and mistakes. This also equips you for better handling of challenges and provides you with necessary physical, mental and emotional relief.
The above time management strategies and tips for professionals can go a long way in ensuring that you can make optimum use of organizational time. However, it must be said that following all 12 strategies simultaneously can feel impossible at times (remember what we discussed about multitasking?). Hence it is best to follow two or three of them together for the best results.
These strategies may take a while to adapt to, and saying “no” at times can be hard. But with a bit of patience, discipline, self-assessment, and practice, you will be able to master the coveted skill of time management.
Joydeep Das has extensive experience with both technical and non-technical content. He has articles published in both local and international portals and has also worked as an Overseas Admissions Editor, assisting many meritorious students to get into Ivy League Universities. However, branding and promotional topics have remained his true love for over a decade.