August 10, 2016
By John Yurkschatt, Director, IT Services Practice, Direct Consulting Associates
One of the most important skills a working professional needs to have is time management. Often if time isn’t well managed on a daily basis, individuals can find themselves working too much, but feeling like nothing has been accomplished. This can cause employees to lose enthusiasm for their work, or even worse, burnout. The solution for this is to become a pro at managing your time so that you are being as productive as possible, but not overdoing it. Here are 5 tips to mastering time management.
- Start immediately when you wake up
A key to managing time is to start the day off right. Avoid rushing through your morning routine, and try to start by making a plan for your day by setting goals. Even if you use the time during your commute to work to set these goals and expectations for yourself, you will benefit by being able to start work with a clear and focused mindset.
- Carry a schedule or planner
Whether you use your phone, an actual calendar, or a planner, use some sort of tool to input tasks that need to be done. It is important to not only keep a to-do list, but to block out specific time frames for each to-do list item. Don’t forget to plan for interruptions and leave excess space in your planner for them since they are bound to happen.
- Prioritize and organize
Before getting overwhelmed with tasks that need to be completed, take a moment to try and organize these responsibilities, putting the most important tasks first to be completed. Another helpful approach is to break up larger tasks into smaller tasks. This will make it easier to chip away and accomplish the larger overall goal. Additionally, if you are able to multitask successfully on certain tasks, and finish small to-do items while working on larger projects, you can check multiple things off your list at once.
- Learn to say no or delegate work
Sometimes, when you get too much on your plate, you might need to say no to certain things. Whether it is blocking out social media distractions, putting up a “do not disturb” sign, not checking e-mail for a period of time, or even just not picking up your phone, you may need to take the time to get things done without interruptions. Additionally, don’t be afraid to delegate work if and when you can; especially when there are deadlines for multiple projects approaching all at once, you may need to ask for help.
- Take a break
Make sure that you take mini breaks throughout your work day to avoid getting so fatigued that you can’t finish anything at all. To stay productive, get up and walk around for a few minutes, and take a mental and physical break. By doing so, you will be able to refocus when you get back to work on your next task.
Time management is a helpful skill to have in any type of work setting, increasing productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness. What approaches do you take to managing your time at work?