Time management: Plan, focus, avoid and limit

Effective time management is crucial when it comes to maximising your productivity in the workplace. If you allow your workload to spiral out of control you will most likely find that your efficiency is lessened.

However, there are methods that can be implemented to ensure that you effectually manage your time no matter how busy your workload.

Planning

  • Set a daily agenda: At the start of each day map out a timetable of what you need to do and what you intend to do that day. If an agenda is set you are more likely to stick to it.
  • Prioritise tasks: Decide which tasks are business critical and which ones are not. If necessary challenge colleagues on ‘set deadlines.’
  • Get organised: Make sure you have everything you need in order to complete the task. Having to go and search for additional information half way through a task will make it harder to refocus.

Focus

  • Do one thing at a time: Don’t switch between tasks. If you do, it will only take you longer. Try not to get distracted by emails and phone calls. If possible schedule a time slot to deal with them so that they do not hinder your progress on more important tasks.
  • Take your breaks: Taking regular short breaks is an effective way of increasing concentration. When you feel your attention beginning to wain take a minute away from your desk.
  • Do the jobs you’re dreading: Dreading making a particularly difficult phone call with a disgruntled customer? Fretting about breaking bad news to your boss or your client? Whilst it’s tempting to push back these tasks it’s essential that you do them first thing. That way you can move onto something you’re excited about working on.

Avoid

  • Learn to say no: There are some occasions when you need to be selfish with your time. If you really don’t have the capacity to take on a new project or task explain the projects that your time is currently being spent on- politely decline. If there is really no room to say no, ensure that you complete the required task at a time that suits you.
  • Qualify tasks: Make sure you check exactly what is being asked of you. Gauge the extent of what is involved and the time it will take you. By gaining a thorough understanding you can avoid reworking the work you produce, saving you time in the long run.

Limit

  • Set your own time constraints: Make sure you set a time limit for each task. Consider how long each task should take you. This should help you focus on the job in hand.

Time management can be a difficult skills to conquer. If you learn to be more stringent in your approach and tackle your workload and responsibilities in an analytical way, your productivity levels are sure to increase.

Time management: Plan, focus, avoid and limit

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