Time management is one of the biggest challenges in the modern workplace. Many leaders complain of being short on time or are looking for ways to improve productivity.
With that in mind, Frances Booth, writing for Forbes.com, shares a long list of time management tips, including:
• Instead of complaining and focusing on what you don’t have time for, concentrate on what you do have time for and get on with it.
• Start working properly within five minutes of sitting down at your desk. Procrastinating for half an hour or an hour will prove costly.
• If you feel under pressure and time is short, completely ignore your email until the situation improves.
• Switch off your email whenever possible, even if it’s for periods of 15 minutes or half an hour.
• If you find yourself procrastinating, try not to get frustrated or annoyed. Instead, try to find the reason for your procrastination.
Is it that you’re scared of the task ahead? Perhaps it is too difficult, too easy, or dull. Maybe you are tired.
“We can waste a lot of energy and time on the things we’re putting off,” observes Booth.
• Stop at a fixed time so work doesn’t end up filling the entire evening. Booth recommends having two finishing times – one for an ideal day and one latest time you can’t work beyond.
• If you use social media for business, schedule your updates so you can switch off at certain times. Choose a week to perform a time audit and look at how you’re spending your time on a regular week day and across the weekend.
Then think about how you could redistribute your time to increase efficiency, effectiveness and productivity.
Also think about how you are spending your time on things you don’t enjoy or value and the areas in which you are wasting your time.
• If you have a spare half hour before a meeting or appointment, don’t just “float” – use it wisely because, as Booth points out, “you can actually get an awful lot done in half an hour”.
• Take “mini breaks” during the day to help maintain your focus and motivation.
• To stay productive in the long term, take lengthy breaks away from work – don’t let work spoil time off during evenings, weekends or holidays. Remember it’s common to underestimate how long a task will take – so factor this in when preparing your schedule. Don’t try to force things into a certain time frame if it’s not really necessary. Try letting things happen in their own time if they’re not urgent.