It almost always seems like 24 hours in a day isn’t enough and we’re constantly wishing we had more time. We’re lucky to have technology that can speed up a lot of our work, but unfortunately it can also be a great distraction. If you’ve been struggling to get things done and want to manage your time working more efficiently then read on...
Before we begin - Take a moment to ask yourself these questions:
When do I feel most productive? - Is it first thing in the morning? Or later in the evening? Do I prefer silence or does background noise help me focus?
Once you’ve figured out the answers to these questions you’ll hopefully know exactly when and where you feel most comfortable working and can create a suitable environment.
Now it’s time to get started -
Create a list.Planning out what needs to get done is a great way to keep yourself in check and remember every task that is just on the horizon. How you want to go about it is up to you - it might end up being a daily or weekly list based on the amount of activities that will need to be done. Creating separate lists for work related and personal items is also a good idea. Keeping them in one notebook, in an app on your smartphone, or simply even on sticky notes can help you stay on top of everything you have going on.
Being aware of what order things should be done in is a crucial component of being effective, since not every task has the same importance and time constraints attached to it. Knowing what to start on first and how much time to allot is imperative. Grouping similar tasks together can also help you get organized and create a kind of flow to your day.
Get it done early.
Start those “looming” items as early as possible. Commit to getting a small piece done each day, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. It’ll add up quickly and later you’ll be grateful you weren’t scrambling at the last moment. If other people are involved in a project, reach out to them as early as possible to get the ball rolling. Tackling a task as a group is generally much more complicated because it involves coordinating multiple schedules, as well as, trusting others and yourself to stick to the plan. Getting everything done early will save everyone unexpected unpleasantries towards the deadline.
Block out distractions.
Here’s a secret: multitasking doesn’t really exist. When sitting down to work, make that your top priority. Turn off email notifications and close any tabs in your browser that you know you won’t be able to resist and aren’t relevant to the task at hand. Make those around you aware that you’re occupied and shouldn’t be disturbed. Constant interruptions no matter how short can quickly add up and prevent you from finishing anything.
If you feel your focus fading while working, take a short break. Get away from your desk for a few minutes and turn your attention towards something else entirely. Hopefully when you get back to the task at hand, you’ll feel more refreshed and ready to dive back in. However, be careful to gauge your breaks and not make them too long or you might find it even more difficult to restart.
Make it a habit.
By continuing to adjust your work methods and keeping the listed tips in mind, you should be able to quickly make it a habit to work more efficiently and effectively. Those around you will also start to change their behavior once they know your patterns and everything should start running much more smoothly.
Don’t stress.No matter how much you have piled on to your plate, remember, don’t stress. If you start working more productively, you’ll constantly be chipping away at what needs to be done and it will be manageable.
Unfortunately we can’t add more hours to a day, but we can change our habits and begin managing our time effectively to start getting things done.
What is your best time management tip? Are there any must have apps that help you organize your time?