Everyone has 24 hours a day, yet some people can accomplish more tasks within this time than others. One of the most essential skills a successful professional must have is excellent time management. Every individual has his or her own ways to organize time and complete jobs in a prompt manner. However, there are some basic techniques anyone can use to better manage time.
1. Observe Your Behavior
Before you implement any specific time management tactics, you must observe what exactly causes the waste or misuse of time. To do so, think of time management as not the actual management of time, but the management of your behaviors. Go through a regular work day, but keep track of any behaviors or actions you take that waste time. Take note of how much time each task requires. Understanding these behaviors is the first step to correcting them and using time more effectively.
2. Create a Plan and Deadlines
Now that you have a better understanding of your schedule, it is time to create a specific plan based on how much time you will spend on each activity. Prioritize the work that needs to be completed earlier or the level of difficulty. Create specific deadlines for each task so you can stay focused on completing it before the time. Try to estimate an adequate time slot depending on the challenge level or volume of the task. Also, establish buffer periods in case you run behind schedule or simply need a break between tasks.
3. Take the Heaviest Work First
The morning is usually the best time to complete tasks, as this is the time of the day where you will have the most energy and alertness. Not only is this the best time to complete objectives, but it is also the ideal time to complete the more difficult or heavy assignments first. You will focus most of your time, energy, and resources into something that needs it first. If you manage to get a difficult assignment out of the way early on, it may also provide motivation to get through shorter or easier tasks for the rest of the day.
4. Learn to Delegate
Sometimes the work load is filled with several tasks that are not important, but still eat up a significant amount of time that could be spent on more important assignments. If you can, delegate this work to other qualified team members or hire a freelancer or assistant. The time and money you spend hiring or training someone to delegate tasks to can be a valuable investment.
5. Use Organization Tools
There are always new advancements and innovations in technology that will make it easier to structure time and keep you on schedule. For example, online calendars such as Outlook, Google Calendar, or Apple Calendar allow you to create time blocks, set up appointments, and establish reminders for each. You can also access these tools from any computer or mobile device.
Everyone has different strategies to organize their work time. However, these suggestions help establish basic time management that can always be rearranged or adapted to each individual. Managing your time effectively will allow you to finish work on time and boost your reputation in the workplace.