Good time management is crucial to sustain or increase productivity at work. But everyday brings new distractions that take your attention away from what needs to be done - phone calls, emails, unexpected client queries that need to be actioned NOW. Before you know it, it's 5pm and you have achieved nothing that you set out to get done that morning.
This is a normal day in the office for me. My biggest struggle running a business is being time poor. There seem to never be enough hours in the day to get everything done that I need to do.
To better manage my time I have learnt some tips and tricks over the years that work for me.
Spend some time at the start of each week planning your week ahead - what jobs do you need to do, what is priority and what can wait.
Make sure you schedule tasks, meetings and jobs into your calendar. Scheduling out set time blocks and working to these helps you to be productive and work through what you need on a daily basis.
If you are lucky enough to have a team, make sure you delegate out tasks that you don't need to do yourself. This can be email follow ups, jobs, and internal work. If you can delegate it and it will free up your time, then do so
- Create lists:
Some people are list people, some aren't.... I'm definitely a list person and it really helps me to stay on track and get things done! While I have job management software, I still use old school hand written lists. Each week/day I will list what I need to get done and work through that list. It is typically an ever-changing list but it works for me. And the satisfaction of crossing tasks off the list is reward and encouragement to keep going.
- Allocate time:
When working through daily tasks like clearing your inbox, time can easily be swallowed up. Make sure you are allocating time to each given task and spend no more that the allocated time doing that task before you move on to the next. If you set yourself 1.5 hours each morning to work through your emails, then only spend that 1.5 hours and then move on.
- Avoid multi-tasking:
While multi-tasking may seem productive, it can actually make tasks take much longer and you may be more inclined to have to re-do things as they weren't done properly the first time around. This can create serious inefficiency. Stick to one thing at a time and GET IT DONE!
- Make the most of downtime:
Use downtime wisely - travelling, waiting on appointments? Work through your inbox or make those calls while you wait.
- Include 'ME' time:
You can't keep with productivity and your work load if you aren't taking time out for yourself. Make sure you schedule out regular breaks. Even if it's just to get up, have a stretch and make a cup of tea. If you keep yourself refreshed during the work day you will perform better and be more productive.
Hopefully implementing some or all of these tips will help you manage your time better, so you can take control of your day!