Top 10 Time Management Tips to Help Boost Your Productivity
We all have the same 24 hours in a day, but how we spend those seconds, minutes, and hours is a personal decision. Time management is a much-talked about topic in the business world. We're all trying to figure out how best to balance our workload with the allotted time in our workday. It's not always easy! Time management is a developed skill that takes, for lack of a better word, time (both to curate and to conquer). Here are our top 10 tips to boost your productivity and manage the allotted time you have in a day. Work smarter, not harder!
1. Establish a routine
Like most things in life, establishing and maintaining a routine is a good habit to pursue. It eliminates the time wasted in making certain decisions each and every day. If you already have a routine in place, those simple tasks—from the time you get up to the things you need to do in the morning to actually get started on your work—are already decided. The same holds true for your work day. The order and importance of your tasks should form some sort of routine that works best for you and your productivity.
2. Create a daily plan
Along with creating a general routine comes a daily plan of attack. Take a few moments the night before or in the morning before your work day begins to create and/or review your daily plan. It only takes a few moments to look over your calendar, familiarize yourself with the meetings and appointments you have coming up, and any deadlines or priorities that are pressing. That way, you're not walking into your work day totally unprepared for the day ahead.
3. Find out where you're wasting time
There are plenty of time wasters awaiting you each day. What you allow into your day is up to you. In order to boost your productivity in the work place, you have to take a mindful few minutes to figure out where some of that time may be going. Too many social media breaks? Too much texting? Too much time spent surfing the internet?
In a survey on this topic, 89 percent of respondents admitted to wasting time every day at work:
- 31 percent waste roughly 30 minutes daily
- 31 percent waste roughly one hour daily
- 16 percent waste roughly two hours daily
- 6 percent waste roughly three hours daily
- 2 percent waste roughly four hours daily
- 2 percent waste five or more hours daily
How much time are you wasting and on what?
"It's not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?"- Henry David Thoreau
4. Eliminate time wasters and minimize distractions
Once you can answer the above-question and identify the culprits, it's time to address them. Along with the eliminating the time-wasters, you should also try to minimize the amount of distractions you have on a daily basis. Whether that means closing your office door to signal that you don't want to be disturbed or turning off your phone so you're not tempted to look at the barrage of notifications coming in, find ways to focus on the tasks at hand.
5. Use time management tools
From calendars and lists to reminders and alarms, there are no shortage of time management tools from which to choose. Find what works best for you. We each have preferences and ways of getting things done that are effective. Find them and use them! Keep in mind that what may work for a coworker may not work for you, so be open to trying new tools—but only keep using the ones that help you achieve your goals. And of course, there is usually an app for that.... many, many apps in fact. If you're looking for something beyond your typical Outlook calendar or smart phone reminders, these top time management apps might be a good place to start.
6. Batch tasks
You may already do this intuitively, but if not, then make it a priority to group similar tasks together and work on them all at once. It's more efficient than moving from task to task and will really streamline your day. For example, set a time to read and respond to email instead of responding each time a message comes in. That way, you're not wasting time going back and forth from one application to the next. These little moments add up and take up more of your time than you might think.
7. Set a time limit
Give yourself a focused time limit to complete your batch of tasks. Actually set a timer! You'll be more efficient with your time when it's an allotted amount. It also gives you a cut-off for tasks that you could seemingly work on all day long if you allowed yourself to do so. Focused time is always more productive than time spent multitasking.
"Take care of the minutes and the hours will take care of themselves."- Lord Chesterfield
8. Allow time between tasks
When you're scheduling your batched tasks, don't line them up one right after the other. Give yourself a buffer of time, usually 5-10 minutes is sufficient, to switch between tasks. Also allow yourself a few minutes to get up and move, walk away from your desk, stretch your legs, and/or drink some water.
You probably won't complete everything you want to in a day. Such is life. That's why it's important to prioritize. Do those tasks that are of the highest importance first, and then move on to the rest. Whatever aligns with your daily goals is of course what you want to focus on first. The rest will have to wait or be delegated to someone else.
10. Track your task time and adjust
You may not always know how much time to allow for certain tasks until you actually time them and analyze how much time you're spending on your tasks. Once you get a good idea of how much time you need, you can always adjust moving forward. You might be surprised how much some tasks take compared to others. The more you know, the better you can align your time and your tasks to achieve your goals.
WHAT'S YOUR BEST TIME MANAGEMENT TIP?
Drop it in the comments below!