Do you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day and you’re constantly chasing deadlines? Time management may seem like another buzz phrase that you see on every CV but it can completely transform your working day. Not only will you increase your productivity and efficiency, you’ll also reduce stress and anxiety and boost your overall prospects. Fortunately, there are many useful techniques that you can adopt to ensure you’re using your time effectively.
Not all tasks are created equally and assigning a value to each which help you to prioritise the most important. For example, a task with an upcoming deadline should take priority over something more long-term. Also, some workloads are more important than others and should take precedence. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed when you have different workloads to worry about. However, by categorising these tasks and creating an order in which they need to be completed, you can build a clear plan of action.
Scheduling allows you to plan your working days ahead of time, therefore removing the stress and confusion of deciding “on the go”. Whether it’s a tablet computer, laptop, smartphone or even a diary, there are a variety of ways in which you can build a schedule. The other benefit to creating a clear plan of your day is that it allows you to check these items off your list as you complete them. This feeling of accomplishment can be motivating itself and push you to complete your schedule quicker.
Many workers are fearful of delegating because they see it as a weakness or an admission that they need help. However, taking on too much work will only lead to stress, demotivation and potentially poor performance.
Delegation will depend on the job in question and individual circumstances. However, typically you want to delegate tasks that are less important but take up valuable time. This will give you the much needed time and resources to complete high priority tasks.
Adopting good time management skills will allow you to tackle the common problem of procrastination. It can be easy to avoid tasks or delay them until you feel motivated but this often leads to panic and stress when the deadline looms. Utilise schedules and self-set deadlines in order to push past procrastination. Often, once you begin a task it becomes much easier to finish it within good time, it’s just getting past that first hesitancy.
It’s important to meet deadlines and produce good quality work but it’s also vital to give yourself a break. When you’re planning your working day, incorporate regular breaks throughout. This will allow you to decompress, take some time away and recharge- even if it’s only for 5 minutes. You could make a cup of tea, do a bit of exercise, read a book, listen to some music or even complete a short meditation. Any break, however brief will make the day feel more bearable and allow you to continue working at your best.
One of the simplest ways in which to guarantee good time management is by not taking on too much work in the first place. Unfortunately, many people find it difficult to refuse tasks that have been offered to them, even if it leads to feeling overwhelmed and anxious.
Don’t feel obliged to agree to everything that is asked of you as this can lead to stress and potentially a dip in productivity and quality of work. Saying no, when appropriate, not only benefits you but also the company as a whole.
Time management is one of the most important aspects of business and by acquiring these new skills, you can ensure a healthier, productive and happier relationship with your work.