10 Ways To Manage Your Work Time, Part 2
I recently started typing all my work-related responsibilities into the notes app on my smartphone. While it's given me peace of mind to know that I'm recording everything in one place, it's also alarming to see the list growing continuously, and to know that I don't have time to tackle all the tasks I'm responsible for in a single day. I feel like everything on this list needs to be resolved right now, which is physically impossible—not to mention, stressful.
In search of a solution, I've been listening to podcasts and reading articles about time management, and a few of my favorite suggestions came from Lauren McNeely, senior content marketing specialist for Lucid Software and a blogger for LucidChart.
Yesterday, Promotional Consultant Today shared five key time management tips from McNeely. Today, we'll share five more.
1. Assign time limits to tasks. To-do lists are great, but sometimes it can feel like you're never checking anything off, and all your time is being evaporated by a single task. To resolve this, McNeely says setting time limits on tasks instead of just working until they're done.
Use a time log to estimate how long each activity will take you. Once you've spent the designated amount of time working on that task, cross it off your list and move on to the next important activity. You'll find your productivity skyrocketing and your to-do list shrinking when you have these parameters in place.
Another thing—you know those awkward pockets of time that pop up? For instance, those 15 minutes before your next meeting, or those extra 30 minutes after a meeting that has ended early. It can be tempting to whittle away those minutes doing nothing. But those minutes add up to significant chunks of your day. Use them.
2. Build in buffers. Incorporate breaks into your schedule. When you complete a task, give yourself a minute to breathe. Take mini breaks to recharge, whether that consists of a short walk, a visit with your colleague or some meditation time.
3. Learn to say no. You'll never learn how to effectively manage your time if you don't say "no," every now and again. You're the only person who knows what you have the time to do, and if this requires you to politely decline a request in order to focus on more important tasks, don't hesitate to do so.
It's also important to note that if you take on a project that is obviously going nowhere, don't be afraid to let it go. Remember the 80/20 rule—80 percent of your output comes from 20 percent of your input. Focus your efforts accordingly. If you have trouble saying "no," then delegate the task. Remember, you've put together a talented team, so determine the tasks you can pass on, and move onto the more important duties.
4. Get organized. If you have piles of papers scattered all over your desk, finding the one you need can waste valuable time. Plus, clutter can make it hard to focus. Create a filing system for documents. Unsubscribe to emails you no longer need. Just think—you only have to do it once, but you reap the benefits indefinitely.
5. Eliminate distractions. Social media, web browsing, chatting with colleagues, text messages, instant messaging—the distractions at work can be limitless. A key to personal time management is being proactive about getting rid of distractions. Shut your door to limit interruptions. Close all tabs except the ones you are currently working on. Turn off messaging notifications and leave your personal phone calls for lunchtime.
Take baby steps. Identify your top two distractions and focus on conquering those for two weeks. And remember that getting enough sleep, drinking enough water and eating a healthy diet can all help you stay focused during the workday, especially when that afternoon slump hits.
Source: Lauren McNeely is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University, where she majored in business management with a focus in marketing. McNeely works as a senior content marketing specialist at Lucid Software and as a blogger for LucidChart.