Always running behind on projects? Letting people down by not working to schedule? Well read these ten tips for time management and set yourself on the way to beating deadlines and being more productive!
Have Clear Goals
Have a plan for what you want to achieve by the end of the hour, the day, the week, the month and the year and you will always been aiming in a direction. Having clear goals means you always have something to aim for. Multiple goals mean that if one does not work out you can move on to the next. Ensure every goal is part of an overall long term plan to always keep working on the right track.
Ensure tasks are performed by the right staff by delegating. Instead of struggling to perform a task yourself that you’re not capable of, pass it on to a team member who is. If every member of the team concentrates on their strongest area of expertise then tasks will be performed a lot quicker.
Deal with everything once. When you read an email, decide an action immediately. Otherwise, you will have to read it again, and again, and again. Do everything right first time and you won’t have to do it again. Spend more time on each task the first time round and you will save time in the long term as you won’t be forever coming back to old tasks.
If something is time critical then schedule time for it and switch off your email and your phone. If you are wasting time online then block the sites you are wasting time one – this eliminates any temptation to visit them when you should be working. Set aside time to answer your emails in blocks – if you stop working every time you receive an email then you won’t be productive.
Use dead time well
Waiting in queues, commuting and waiting for meetings are all examples of great times to catch up on emails, calls and reports. Smartphones and laptops mean you can work on the move so use the time when you can’t do anything else to catch up on menial tasks so that you can concentrate on heavier projects in the office.
Much like the distractions tip, avoid visiting sites that you know waste your time. Half an hour checking the latest sports columns or celebrity gossip is hardly going to help you hand in that report on time. Save social networking for personal time – unless it’s your job that is! Would you be happy as an employer if your employees were chatting with friends or building new job connections on company time?
Arrange meetings to suit your schedule and try and schedule efficiently. Try and minimise times between meetings if there is not enough to time to work. Try and get people to work to your time instead of working to theirs. Don’t schedule meetings for the sake of it, only set them up if they are important.
Learn to say ‘no’
‘Yes men’ inevitably take on too much work. At first everyone will love you for always saying yes but once you start producing work late they won’t be so happy. Only take on what you can manage and what you are good at. Delegate work if you don’t feel you can budget time for it.
Break big tasks down into short and simple steps
Small tasks are more achievable than big ones so break the larger tasks down. Otherwise you will always put off that big task in favour of other, small tasks. Break a task up also means you can schedule time to do other things.
Look at breaks as rewards by scheduling them for after you complete a task. Instead of taking a break at a defined point in time and just dropping everything when you reach that point, say that you will break once you have completed a goal. You will then work harder towards achieving that goal in the knowledge that there is a reward at the end of it.