Time management is one of those ideas that is frequently discussed due to it’s importance in everything that everyone does. Despite the available literature, numerous training seminars, and ever increasing number of apps to help with this part of life, it always seems to be something that causes stress to the majority of the population. Here we take a quick look at 11 ideas that will help you to be more efficient in your daily activities.
1. Delegate Tasks: It is common to take on more tasks than we can, or should, handle. This can often result in stress, burnout, missed deadlines and a reduction in the quality of products. Delegation is not running away from your responsibilities but is an important function of management. Learn the art of delegating work to your colleagues based on their skills and abilities.
2. Prioritize Your Work Tasks: Before the start of the day, make a list of tasks that need your immediate attention as unimportant tasks can consume much of your precious time. Some tasks need to be completed on that day only, while other tasks could be carried forward to next day. In short, prioritize your tasks to focus on those that are more important. Try listing just three tasks that MUST be completed that day. Once you have completed those tasks, anything else is a bonus!
3. Avoid Procrastination: Procrastination is one of the things that negatively affects productivity. It can result in wasting essential time and energy and should be avoided at all costs. It could be a major problem in both your career and your personal life if not handled correctly. Instead of putting things off, letting tasks build up, and becoming overwhelmed, try breaking them down into bite-sized pieces.
4. Schedule Tasks: Carry a planner or notebook with you and list all the tasks that come to your mind. Make a simple ‘To Do’ list before the start of the day, prioritize the tasks, and make sure that they are attainable. To better manage your time management skills, you may think of making 3 lists: work, home, and personal. There are also numerous organization apps available that can help with this process. Two that I frequently use are Asana and Google Keep. Have a favorite organization app? Please share it in the comment box below.
5. Avoid Stress: Stress often occurs when we accept more work than our ability will allow us to complete. The result is that your body starts feeling tired which can then negatively affect your productivity. Instead, delegate tasks to your colleagues and make sure to leave some time for relaxation.
6. Set up Deadlines: When you have a task at hand, set a realistic deadline and stick to it. Try to set a deadline a few days before the task is due so that you can complete all those tasks that may get in the way. Challenge yourself and meet the deadline. Reward yourself for meeting a difficult challenge with some well deserved relaxation and time away from work.
7. Avoid Multitasking: Most of us feel that multitasking is an efficient way of getting things done but the truth is that we do better when we focus and concentrate on one thing. Multitasking often hampers productivity and should be avoided to improve time management skills.
8. Start Early: Most successful people have one thing in common. They start their day early as it gives them time to sit, think, and plan their day. When you get up early, you are more calm, creative, and clear-headed. As the day progresses, your energy levels start going down which affects your productivity and you don’t perform as well. The other great thing about starting the day early is that there are less distractions that can get in your way and prevent you from achieving your goals. Believe me, as a mother of two (soon to be three 🙂 ) I know how important it is to get the ball rolling before my two ‘assistants’ wake up!
9. Take Some Breaks: Whenever you find yourself a spare 10-15 minutes, be sure to take a break. Too much stress can take toll on your body and affect your productivity. Take a walk, listen to some music or do some quick stretches. The best idea is to take off from work and spend time with your friends and family. Relax, freshen up, recharge your batteries and then get back to it!
10. Learn to say No: Politely refuse to accept additional tasks if you think that you’re already overloaded with work. Take a look at your ‘To Do’ list before agreeing to take on extra work.
11. Does it really need to be done?: According to Planet of Success, the idea of using four quadrants to determine the priority of a task was introduced by American keynote speaker Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey’s system makes use of four different quadrants that allow you to prioritize tasks in relation to their importance and urgency, helping you to decide whether you need to address a task immediately or if you can postpone it, or if you can just completely ignore it. Don’t waste your time working on things that aren’t urgent, or important.
Please take a moment to check out this great Time Management video from Randy Pausch, the legendary Carnegie Mellon University professor, and organization guru.
What are some ways in which you manage your time efficiently and effectively? What are some techniques that you have tried that haven’t worked so well? Please share your comments in the box below, and until next time, Expect the Exceptional in everything that you do.