In today’s business world, more demands are constantly placed on employees to get multiple jobs done faster than ever before. That’s why from an early age, it’s important to learn time management techniques that will allow you to get the work done on time, at your own pace, without succumbing to the pressures and stresses of looming—and passed—deadlines.
No matter if you’re in high school or college, are just starting a new job or are ten days away from retirement, everybody can benefit from time management tips.
5 Effective Time Management Tips You Can Put to Use Today
Effectively managing your time equates to more free-time to enjoy your life, rather than getting stuck doing work on your own time that should have been completed on the job. Here are five great ways to manage your time more effectively.
- Schedule your Email Responses
One unrealistic expectation we succumb to is being at the beck and call of the entire world day and night. For most of us, this problem stems from smartphones, tablets and laptops—essentially, we are always plugged in so if someone emails us, we tend to respond right away. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the best case scenario for time management and productivity. Answering emails as they come in breaks our momentum and train of thought, taking time away from other projects. It’s better to answer all of your emails at a few set times a day, aiming more for predictable availability on your behalf, not immediate availability. Just be sure that the people who need to can still reach you in an emergency and you should be fine with answering emails once in the morning, once midday, once in the evening and then maybe once at night.
- Know your Productive Times
Have you ever noticed that you work better at a certain time of day? Mornings? Right after lunch? 3 AM? Schedule your tasks for completion during your productive hours, giving higher priority to tasks that might need more concentration or attention. If you bang out your more difficult tasks during your productive time, the easier tasks are left for those hours when your mind wanders to dinner or going out with friends that night.
- Prioritize importance First
Set up a time period where you spend an hour or two on your most important project when you first get to work. Sit down, ignore all emails, don’t say good morning to everyone—just bang out a hard hour’s worth of work on your most vital and difficult projects. Then, go ahead and take a break from it and tend to your emails, getting a cup of coffee, etc. This breaks up the monotony of the day and gives you a huge head start on your work. You’ll be surprised at how this motivates you to come back to the project and finish it—still, be certain your prioritizing is ruthless. Get done what you need to get done and don’t spend more time than you’ve allocated on any one project—if you go over the time you’ve set, come back to it later.
- Stop Playing the Waiting Game
A lot of time in our day is spent waiting—waiting for a conference to start, for a doctor’s appointment, the train, an important phone call, a client meeting. Take some simple work with you while you wait and take care of it then. Balance your checkbook, read a report or jot down ideas for your next project. Don’t waste the waiting hours being idle—these precious minutes add up and if you’re utilizing them to get ahead in your work, you’ll be surprised at how much free time you’ll have at the end of the day—maybe even knock off early.
- Track your Daily Activities
While there are programs out there that will monitor your daily activities, some feel this is invasive. If you’re not comfortable using time tracking software, use a pen and paper and be brutally honest with yourself. Spend a few days writing down every minute of your day. This includes surfing the web, checking emails, going to the bathroom, to lunch, your commute, personal calls, time spent in meetings. Then, look for your biggest time wasters and either eliminate them or work on cutting back on the amount of time you’re spending not being productive.
Managing your time isn’t that hard, as long as you’re motivated to change and are being brutally honest with yourself.
Image courtesy of renjith Krishnan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Author Bio – This article is written by Matthew Hurley on behalf of Calendar to Print, a sought after website offering a whole range of free printable blank calendars as well as tools & resources to help you save time. If you’re on the lookout for a free printable 2014 calendar that’s carefully formatted to your needs do check out calendartoprint.com today.