Whether at home or in the office, effective time management can provide the peace of mind and confidence to take on even the most chaotic of days. When you start managing your time intentionally, you become proactive about how you spend your day instead of reactive.
The benefits are undeniable. When you are in control and manage your time wisely, you get more done in less time, accomplishing your tasks seems easier, and you have more confidence. You also feel less stressed and stop wondering, “how am I going to get it all done?!” Sounds pretty great, right? Start taking control of your day with the following simple practices.
Write down every task that’s in your head – professional and personal. Think of it as a “brain dump.” When these tasks are floating around in your head, they all fight for top priority. This can overwhelm you and make it difficult to determine what to do first. Writing everything down puts your mind at ease by eliminating the fear that you may forget something.
Once everything is out of your head and on paper, it’s time to prioritize. Start by focusing on the most important and time-sensitive tasks first. That way, if you run out of time in the day and still have tasks listed, the ones you delay until tomorrow are not the most crucial. Prioritize open tasks daily to ensure you are always tackling the most important and urgent items first. As you prioritize, consider how many tasks are listed as “top” priority. Be realistic about the hours available in the day. Consider where you might ask for assistance or delegate tasks or sub-tasks to others.
Even with your best attempts to plan and prioritize your work day, there will always be unexpected interruptions and distractions. Employ strategies to prevent distractions and to handle the ones that you cannot prevent, such as:
silencing your phone.
checking emails at designated times.
adding new tasks that come up to a prioritized list instead of trying to address them immediately.
creating an agreed upon system in the office for “do not disturb” times.
Being able to handle multiple tasks is not the same as multi-tasking. You are able to accomplish more at a higher quality by focusing on one specific task that has to be accomplished. Instead of multi-tasking and trying to juggle multiple tasks at the same time, know when to say “no,” and “not now.”
APPLYING TIME MANAGEMENT
Now that you’re ready to take control of your workday, it’s time to choose a tool. There are countless options, ranging from Outlook to SharePoint Tasks to Web Apps like Asana. You can also use Excel or paper and pen, depending on your preference. Once you find a tool, be sure that you stick with it for several weeks and determine if it’s working for you. By planning, prioritizing, and preventing distractions, you take control of your time, instead of letting it control you.
Time management presents a unique challenge for everyone and can vary by industry, company, and role in the organization. Contact FUEL it to schedule an interactive session with your company or team to discuss your specific time management challenges and explore techniques and tools.
About FUEL it
We ignite organizational results with strategies, training, and performance solutions. We exist to help power the transformation that drives your company's growth and success by aligning your goals, processes, and activities to a framework that generates results. If you want to learn how to apply these leadership and management skills in your organization, contact us today. We offer a variety of custom and ready-to-use content, delivered online or through a series of facilitated workshops.