Workplace time management strategies for a more productive work
It’s no secret that most people experience the woes of time management while planning or working on different tasks. You wake up early, optimistically have every job that you want to handle in your mind. However, along the day, things happen, and you end up not achieving everything you had arranged for. It can be very frustrating, right?
The same happens in most offices or workstations. An organization might have so much inclined line for their workers with every resource allocated. But, if one resource- time is not adequately managed, then most plans would hit a dead end.
Fortunately, you can always find ways to manage or reclaim your lost hours when you have the proper planning in place. This article discusses some of the best time management strategies and tips you need to consider for effective or productive work.
But first, let’s find more about time management.
Understanding time management
Have you ever asked yourself why some people have achieved so much yet we all have 24 hours? The answer and the difference lie in time management.
So, what’s time management?
Time management is planning, organizing, and allocating time for different or specific tasks or jobs.
A simple definition is the ability to effectively and productively use your time in achieving your tasks. Good time management would help you get more done in less time, and vice versa is real. So, how well do you manage your time?
The following are time management skills to help you manage your time
This is the first step for any excellent time manager. Setting your goals right at the start allows you to see and understand the end objectives plus everything you must give weight to achieve your goals. Therefore, set both short and long-term goals to guide your success.
Organization and planning
You can never allocate time for something you don’t know. So, have a clear picture of what you need to handle and when you need to do it. Have efficient plans on how you’ll accomplish your things. Proper panning would guide you through your execution process.
Communication is key to every organizational success. So, if you’re working with people on specific jobs, you need to communicate your plans of how you need your task handled. Therefore, you must ensure you deploy strong communication skills to help make your goals or plans clear to different persons involved.
Once you know what to do, you have the chance to allocate the weight and urgency of every task. Therefore, assess each of your functions based on their priority. But how best can you prioritize your works?
Simple, consider the following tips:
Have a list of all tasks to cover/handle– this helps you have the full scope of what needs to get done.
Identify what’s critical in achieving your goals– depending on your goals, give weight to those pertinent factors that directly relate to your objectives.
Highlight what’s more urgent and vital- with your list written, you can quickly identify the task or task that needs to be done promptly completely then plan with deadlines. You can consider handling urgent and essential tasks.
Avoid competing priorities– managing competing priorities can sometimes prove challenging. You may have thousands of task to handle, but all of them seems as crucial as the nest ones. To be successful in search scenarios, you need to focus on one task at a time.
Consider your effort– staring at a to-do list might make things look pretty simple, which may not be the case when you start working. Therefore, you need to evaluate every task concerning the effort you’ll require to complete them.
Should your task prove burdensome, you can decide to have a simple job fast followed by more involving ones. Clearing the simple functions gives you breathing space and provides some sense of power to propel you to accomplish your goals.
Review, evaluate and stay realistic– No matter how comprehensive you prioritize, there is only a level of task you can manage at a time. You may not be able to handle all of the tasks on the same day. Therefore, be realistic while settling your goals or tasks.
Besides, you don’t need to develop some false hopes or expectations, making you feel as if you’re failing to achieve your tasks. Also, you should frequently review your goals to ensure you regain or maintain your focus and control over your list of tasks.
Employees running late on deadlines
Now that you’re aware of some of the time management skills, what are some of the things you stand to gain when you practice effective time management?
Importance of time management
Your time is valuable whether you assign a dollar to it or not. Any attempt to poorly manage your time would lead to several negative factors from missed deadlines, lack of enough sleep, and unhappiness to, poor quality of work, stress, and health complications, among other effects of poor time management.
However, effective time management is important because it helps people control their daily activities and projects without compromising their work-life balance. So, when you manage your time well, you stand to gain the following:
Improved work production and performance
Effective time management does not mean you have to work all day and night to meet your deadline. But, it means you space out your work and allocate most of your time to the most critical task depending on their priority levels. It gives you a better idea of what you need to do plus how long you have to make doing them.
Having a schedule to follow would ensure you focus on the specific task at a particular time, thus avoiding time-consuming distractions. When this happens, you’re in for improved performance and production.
On-time delivery of work
Practically managing your time means you assign every of your task to specific times. You know when you plan to complete a particular job and your work towards the deadline. Sometimes, you’ll find out that you clear your task ahead of the deadline to give you time to handle more challenging work.
Proper time management would also boost your self-discipline. You would most probably avoid procrastinating your tasks but drive forward in achieving your goals.
Reduce your stress levels
It’s common to feel anxious, especially when you have vast lists of tasks to accomplish within the specified time. It can be even worse when you are time-bound and think you have no control over your job.
But, you’ll be safe if you practice good time management skills because you’ll know how to prioritize your work, settling aside enough time needed to handle essential tasks. When you know what to do plus how much time you need, it means you have control over your assignments. And that reduces your level of anxiety and stress.
Distractions are among the most prominent production killers that you must find ways to eliminate. Social media platforms contribute a significant part. Some studies suggest that a third of employees are distracted for about 3 hours of their daily work.
However, having a well-programmed schedule of operations would help regulate most of the distractions because you’ll be having something to motivate you. And that’s constantly checking your time. So, if you find you’re getting distracted more often, please consider eliminating the distraction agent.
Boost your confidence
Have you ever completed a task on time, and how did you feel? It definitely brings a sense of good feeling to accomplish your goals. This, in turn, would boost your confidence abilities and motivates you to take new work or tasks.
Produce better work
Correctly timing yourself saves you from the unnecessary rush that would come up when you face a deadline. The chances are high that you would put more effort into your work when you’re not worried about time or deadline. With adequate time management skills, you’ll be able to manage your time and ensure you complete every task within its allocated duration.
Simply put, the quality of your work increases when you’re not rushing, a factor that is exceptionally managed when you have control over your duties.
Improve career opportunities
Properly managing your time makes one become a more reliable employee. Besides, suppose you timely and continuously submit high-quality tasks to your employer. In that case, you increase your chances of expansion within your career. Let’s face it; most employers want those workers who can help them achieve much within a short duration. So, suppose you can be that person. In that case, you stand a chance of promotion or increasing your professional reputation, which can help you find more new opportunities to build your career.
Enhance your decision-making abilities
Like earlier mentioned, well-managed time will help you reduce stress and anxiety. The factors that can negatively impact your decision-making process. Therefore, properly managing your time ensures that you do everything within the required time to give you ample time to relax and you plan for the next assignment.
For you to enjoy the full benefits of a well-managed time, it would be better if you have some guidelines to follow. In other words, schedule or strategize for every activity you plan to take for improved work production. So what are some of the best time management strategies?
Workplace time management strategies for a more productive work
No matter how well you can juggle various duties and priorities, it can be challenging if you don’t have clearly outlined strategies in place. Therefore, consider the following time management strategies:
Figure out how you spend your time
The first step to success is to identify your weaknesses. Yes, it can be hard to plan for your improvements if you don’t know the areas to make better. Therefore, understand how you currently spend your time.
In figuring out how much time you spend on your duties, you can diligently log or track your daily activities. Tracking your time helps you:
- Determine how much work you can easily accomplish within a specific time or day
- Identify activities that drain your time.
- And helps you focus on roles or activities that provide significant returns
But how can you tell you spends your time in unproductive activities or need to adjust your time management game? Simple, consider the following:
Common signs and symptoms poor of inefficient time usage
Poor punctuality-it can be understandable if you’re late to work because something came up like you had a flat tire or too much jam. However, that’s different from someone who is never on time for various activities and roles.
Constant rushing– if you realized you’re constantly jumping from one task to another without catching a breath, you need to be on the watch out. Because a red flag for some poorly managed time. Of course, there can be different reasons to stay late and rush to complete assignments. However, most last minutes rush are attached to poor time scheduling.
Low quality of work– if your manager complains of receiving sloppy work, then there are chances that someone is not using their time well. It could be a sign of rushing for the sake of completing the task assigned.
Frequently missing deadlines- Sure, there are many reasons for missed project deadlines. But, a more significant percentage is attached to poor time management and improper planning.
Procrastination– it’s normal for people to wait until the last minute to complete essential tasks. However, procrastination can lead to stress and anxiety, especially which does not work well with concentration on the job.
Easily distracted– every workplace is full of distractions that can constantly interfere with one’s production. So, if you quickly get distracted, you don’t know when or how to avoid the distractions, then you probably will fall short of time while doing your tasks.
Multitasking and overextension– truth be told, multitasking does not work, especially when you’re trapped within specific timed bound tasks. But of course, you’ll be tempted to handle more than one job at a time, especially when you have several commitments. That would increase your overextension chances- which is another symptom of poorly managed time.
Burnout is the emotional, mental, or physical exhaustion caused when you’re overwhelmed with tasks. So when you poorly manage your time, the chances are high that you’ll strain to complete your assignments within the limited time remaining in achieving the deadline.
Other common signs of unmanaged time include:
- All talk with no action
- Achieving fewer results even after a whole day of work
- Future worries of events instead of focusing on the job at hand 2. Plan your work ahead
Planning is key to any project’s success. Therefore, after figuring out how you spend your time, it’s now time to plan what and how to accomplish your tasks within a given timeframe. So in planning, ensure you create a daily schedule of work and stick to it. In other words, have a to-do list that consists of must-haves or want-to-haves.
Having a plan of handling your tasks gives you a clear vision of what you need to make your operations a success. Also, timely planning helps you establish your goals and objectives to achieve during or after the end of your task’s duration.
So, how best can you plan ahead for improved work production?
Simple, with the knowledge of how you spend your time, you shall have known what takes much of your time. And you can now anticipate some problems you may face during your subsequent execution of tasks. Therefore, put your plans on paper as you anticipate problems and how to solve them.
3. Set clear priorities
While planning, you cannot thrive on working on every task that comes your way. You must ensure you wisely give weight to your tasks. As earlier discussed, there are several tips for prioritizing tasks, so choose the best way that suits the work or job you’re assigned.
Better still, your to-do list may sometimes be overwhelming. So to manage it, divide it into smaller chunks, and then handle or eliminate them based on their levels of effort needed, urgency, and importance of the tasks.
However, it’s common for most people to allow the task’s urgency to dominate when they should focus on that task that supports the company or personal growth or goals. Therefore, start your elimination with those tasks that you should not be doing in the first place, but identify the essential ones in line with your goals’ achievements plans.
Undoubtedly, it can be challenging to prioritize tasks on the urgency or importance of the jobs. But to help avoid the pitfall, Stephen Covey, in his book “First Things First,” provides a time management matrix that helps prioritize tasks based on the idea of urgency and importance.
Here are the details:
Important and urgent tasks- these are assignments with crucial deadlines and high urgency levels. They must be completed right away.
Important but not urgent tasks- these are essential items that do not require immediate attention. You may create a long-term strategy and spend more of your time solving them.
4. Handle one task at a time
Some people praise multitasking. However, doing more tasks at a given time is inefficient and ineffective and, in most cases, would cause more harm than good to a person and a workplace. Besides, your brain needs time to relax or switch off from one task to another, and your attempt to handle more than one job would result in a lag time, and you may not be much productive.
In fact, some studies suggest that those who multitask experience more significant problems, primarily while concentrating on complicated or essential tasks.
Therefore, to avoid memory impairment or increased stress dealing with complex or challenging tasks, please handle one task at a time. Put all your effort and focus on the task at hand and ensure you block out any distractions that would hinder your project execution.
5. Assign time limits to your tasks
Forget about deadlines; when you assign time limits to every task you handle, it automatically controls your work. It ensures you have a realistic view of your availability. You’ll be aware of the exact time you need to take doing a specific task.
Therefore, when creating your daily schedule, it would be better to allocate time to each task to guide your performance. While assigning time limits to your tasks, ensure you create shorter deadlines. Reason? The more time you have for a specific work, the bigger the procrastination chances.
Practice the art of delegation
It can be hard to achieve much when you have so many jobs to tackle. And to be a good time manager, you must learn the art of delegation to help you accomplish your work within the required time frame.
Time management skills and strategies are essential for any company, business, or individual who wants to improve their production. Therefore, to ensure on-time delivery of works, improved performance, and reduce stress levels, especially while working on several time-bound projects, you must ensure you put adequate time management strategies.