Time management is a vital skill for anyone to have. We all have constraints at work, but time management strategies can help you get the most out of your day while still meeting deadlines, tasks, and goals. The energy we spend on the job is an investment in our future, and there are many time-saving tricks that every employee should use to get the most out of their workday.
Good time management strategies can help you:
- Produce better quality work
- Deliver a work-life balance
- Reduce procrastination
- Reframe what production looks like
- Deliver your work on time
- Reduce stress and anxiety, leading to a higher quality of life
This blog post will explain time management at work and provide some practical skills and examples that can be used in different situations.
Necessary Time Management Strategies
Time management at work is essential to complete tasks and projects efficiently. There are a variety of strategies you can use to help manage your time, including efficiently handling emails and planning your day. Here are 13 time management strategies you can use to improve your efficiency at work.
Don’t worry about responding to your emails as they come in. Set aside a specific amount of time each day to read and reply to them.
Of course, urgent emails should be addressed in a prompt manner, but the rest can wait until your allotted time.
Plan your next week on Friday
End the workweek by planning for the next one.
Before you leave for the weekend, take time to plan out what the next week will look like. What tasks do you need to continue? What deadlines do you have? This will help you start the next week with clarity.
Find your most productive hours
Everyone is different, so it’s important to figure out when you are most productive. Once you know this, try to schedule your more difficult tasks for those hours. Save the more manageable and simpler tasks for when you generally feel less locked in.
Use a timer
When working on a time-consuming task, use a timer to stay focused. This can be especially helpful if you’re easily distracted or have trouble with lengthy assignments. (More on this later.)
Create routines & stick to them
Routines help us become more efficient by eliminating decision-making and focusing on the task at hand. When possible, create routines like checking your email or preparing for the next day.
Delegate & outsource
If there are tasks that can be outsourced, do so! Delegating work to others is a vital time management strategy that will help you free up time to focus on the more essential things. Outsourcing can also be helpful if there are specific tasks that you don’t have the time or resources to complete yourself.
Use a planner/calendar
A planner or calendar is an essential tool for time management since it allows you to see your entire week at a glance. This can help you identify any potential scheduling conflicts and plan for them. You can even use your phone calendar or online tools like Google Calendar to sync your work calendar.
Use time tracking software
Technology can be extremely useful for time management at work, and there are various tools available to make you more efficient. Utilizing these tools will keep you organized and on track so you don’t fall behind. They can also help you visualize what you’re spending the most time on completing. Does the result line up with your priorities?
Do the most essential tasks first
Doing your most essential tasks in the morning can help you avoid getting bogged down by pressing matters later. Finishing these first thing in the morning will give you a sense of accomplishment and set the tone for the rest of the day. In the morning, you’ll also tend to be more rested, and your mind will be clear, so use this time to focus on your hardest tasks.
Skip ahead when you feel stuck
If you are having trouble focusing or getting started on a particular task, try skipping ahead to the next thing on your to-do list. This can help prevent procrastination and keep your momentum going by giving yourself something else to work on.
Taking breaks throughout the day can help improve concentration and increase productivity. Make sure to take a short break after a certain amount of time by going for a walk or organizing your workstation.
Accepting your limitations
There will be times when you cannot get everything done, and that’s okay! Learn to accept when you have reached your limits and delegate tasks to others whenever possible. Overcommitting yourself will only lead to frustration, so try not to bite off more than you can chew.
If coworkers or clients ask you to take on additional tasks that require you to work outside of business hours, think carefully about whether saying yes is worth it. If an extra commitment will increase stress levels without benefiting work performance, then politely decline.
It’s also important to avoid overcommitting yourself by saying “no” when the day gets busy. It’s okay to reschedule non-urgent meetings or phone calls to take care of more pressing work responsibilities.
Use A Time Management Technique
Here are three time management techniques to help keep your time management strategies consistent.
Some people recommend the “1-3-5″ rule as a time management technique. This is where you finish nine tasks on any given day, broken up by order of importance. First, pick one primary item and finish that first (like sending an offer letter to a candidate). Next, move on to three less critical tasks (responding to an email you got the night before or completing a mandatory training). Finally, finish the day by completing five smaller tasks (like setting up a meeting for next week).
These don’t have to be done exactly in the 1-3-5 order, but it helps you accomplish nine tasks—one big, three medium, and five small—every day.
Gantt charts are a time management technique that can keep track of projects and tasks. These diagrams help you visualize the steps involved in completing a project, what resources will be needed for each step, how long each task should take, and when it’s due.
They’re instrumental if your goal is to complete something on schedule because they give you insight into where you might run into problems. Gantt Charts are particularly helpful for large-scale events that take months to complete.
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that breaks down work into intervals. This method works by focusing on shorter bursts of activity with planned breaks between each accomplishment, thus preventing burnout and maximizing productivity.
The first step is to set your timer for 25 minutes and begin working. (That’s the default time. You can change that time based on your preference.) Once that 25-minute interval is over, take a five-minute break. Resume working for another 25 minutes until your next break. If these short periods don’t seem like enough time, try adding a few extra minutes after every four sessions to increase both your work and rest time.
Time Management Takes Time
Time management at work is crucial and is an essential skill for anyone who wants to succeed.
Good time management skills can be learned and improved over time, so don’t be discouraged if you feel like you have not mastered them yet. With a little practice, you will use these skills to your advantage and make the most out of your working hours.
If you’re seeking a new career with more flexibility that allows for better time management, search through thousands of listings on the Insight Global job board.