Time Management Techniques
Good organizational skills do not always come with genes so you can work on them if you are keen on improving yourself. Here are a few simple tips and pointers that may help you get started with your time management planning.
Plan ahead. Write down all your duties and tasks, including work related and family/private obligations on a daily and weekly basis. Try to have everything written down for the week ahead and leave small adjustments for each day. You can’t predict everything, so you can always expect some small urgent tasks to arise during the week. Make sure your list is properly prioritized and try to get more urgent and important tasks done as soon as possible, leaving less important tasks for later on. That way, if you run out of time or you are simply too tired, you can always shift parts of the tasks to the following day. When possible, try creating even longer term plans, for a month or even a year.
Break down big projects/tasks into smaller chunks. Huge projects may intimidate you and cause you to waste time on panicking; they can cause you to lose your motivation easily because there is simply too much work ahead. It may even look to you that you haven’t achieved anything for the whole day or for days if you are working on one big project. By breaking it down to small sub-tasks, you can clearly see your day to day progress, which will keep you on track and make you more motivated. On top of that, you can even delegate parts of your project to others, either to your employees or teammates, and get the job done through the team work.
Get organized and schedule your time accordingly. Use all available tools to get yourself organized. If you have a smart phone, then there are a lot of apps that can help you in this process. Once you are well organized, try to estimate how much time certain duties will take, time-wise, and create a schedule. When possible, try to mark certain tasks with distinct colors, which will help you prioritize your to-do list. This is definitely the part where tools like NimbleSchedule can come very handy as they can help you organize both yourself and your team in a more efficient way at the same time ensuring smooth time management planning.
Focus and avoid distractions. You will be surprised how much more work you can get done without having a phone or TV distracting you every couple of minutes. Try avoiding working with people who do not take their work seriously and impose a serious distraction. Focus on getting one part of the work done in 60-90 minutes and then reward yourself with a small break. It doesn’t have to be an actual work break – having a couple of minutes thinking about something else or just taking a walk to the bathroom and back may help regain your concentration. Do not let such breaks consume too much time, though.
Delegate and avoid multi-tasking. When there is an additional set of hands available, try delegating parts of your tasks to others, either to co-workers or employees providing you are a manager or employer. At the same time, avoid performing a couple of tasks at the same time when possible. You will have a much better focus when doing one thing at a time. Delegating, being one of the most effective time management strategies, will also improve the quality of your work and it will ensure equal distribution of work throughout the organization. Hence, multi-task only when it is completely necessary.
Life is not just about work. Always dedicate certain time to your family members and friends. Having a rich and successful private life will help you grow your career and will definitely help you re-energize after a hard working day. Organize your day the best way you can so you have enough time to get a good sleep which is vital for your focus and health. Stay healthy, or else everything else falls apart.
Once you manage to better organize your life and your tasks, you will feel less stressed and more productive. There are neither universal recipes nor effective time management strategies that will work for everyone the same way. You have to find the right balance, knowing your own potentials and characteristics.