Time seems to slip through our fingers day after day. And at work, it’s even worse. Why? Because your workday is constantly interrupted by emails and new tasks to be accomplished. If, like many others, you feel overwhelmed as soon as you arrive at the office, now is the time to act, before you find yourself drowning in stress. Here are 7 tips to improve your time management at work.
1- Prioritise Tasks
The night before, or as soon as you get to the office, decide which goals you want to achieve during the workday. It can be a pain to make, but a to-do list is a great way get organised. It will help you prioritise tasks and give you a direction for your day. And it feels great to cross off tasks as you go!
2- Determine When You Are Most Productive
Having excellent time management is great, but you also need to be in sync with your circadian rhythm. What does that mean? Simply that our bodies and minds are more productive at certain times of day than at others. These productive times can vary from one person to another, so it’s up to you to figure out when your mind is most alert. This is when you should tackle complex tasks. Keep easier tasks for when you’re feeling less productive.
3- Break Up Your Work
Have you ever heard of the Pomodoro method? Francesco Cirillo developed it when he was a student. With this method, you organise timed sequences of work so that you will be at peak performance for each task. The concept is simple: concentrate on a task for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break. This method of time management stimulates brain activity by pushing the brain to work faster for a shorter period of time.
4- Concentrate on One Task at a Time
There’s nothing like multitasking to slow down your work. It ruins your productivity and prevents you from accessing your full potential. When you go from one unfinished activity to another, you lose precious time because your brain needs to refocus on each task. Not to mention the fact that you will likely be discouraged by the pile-up of projects.
5- Set Your Own Deadlines
The best way to improve your organisation is to meet deadlines. If you start getting behind and ask for an extension on a project, you will quickly find yourself in a vicious cycle that you can’t easily escape. When you get behind on one task, that puts you behind on another. So that you don’t drown under a pile of urgent projects, set your own deadlines in advance. If you finish your work ahead of time, you will be able to deal with unplanned issues and you will make your superiors happy.
6- Limit Your Use of Digital Devices
New technology makes things easier in both our professional and personal lives. But it can take up a lot of time if you don’t set some rules. We all reach for our phones when they vibrate or open our email as soon as we get an alert for a new message. Resist the temptation by turning off visual and audio alerts and setting times to check your phone and email once or twice per day. You will be able to concentrate better and you will save a lot of time at work if you aren’t being constantly badgered by technology.
7- Automate Your Inbox
Technology may be irritating at times, but it does have its advantages that can help any employee be happier at work. You can greatly improve your time management at work by adding filters and rules to your inbox or creating standard emails and automatic delivery notifications. Take advantage of these little tips that will help you spend your time on more important tasks.