Time Management is an important skill to learn for productivity and success. Learning more about the techniques that high performing managers and employees use will help you to stand out in the workplace. Become a high performing time management professional with the following techniques:
1. Reduce or stop self-distractions
There’s a good likelihood that you interrupt yourself at work in addition to your co-workers. Is social media, the internet, or your phone a frequent source of distraction for you? Establish boundaries for how often and when you’ll use these things, and when you’re not using them, put them aside or don’t log on.
Say to yourself, for instance, that you’ll check your phone and social media accounts at lunchtime and twice throughout the day during five-minute breaks, but that the rest of the time you’ll set them away so you can concentrate on your work. When you’ve created the best plan for you, follow it despite any temptations you might encounter!
2. Perform your most crucial activities first. (Eat the frog)
You might be surprised to learn that busywork can keep you from accomplishing your most vital work. People frequently believe that they will feel productive if they complete a lot of tiny tasks on their to-do list. Avoid letting these minor duties prevent you from making the necessary progress toward your major objectives.
You can try making a list of priorities labelled accordingly, say, X are for tasks that are most important, Y tasks are of the next level of importance, and Z tasks are the least important. By following this order, you can get your tasks done in an organized and efficient manner. Undoubtedly, this approach won’t likely enable you to complete ten tasks before your set break time, but it will enable you to move forward with your larger, more vital initiatives without neglecting the tasks of least urgency. The saying Eat the frog relates to the illustration that if you were presented a meal with a frog on it, eating the worst thing first will help you get through it, leaving the nicer things to enjoy.
3. Make a list.
Consider maintaining an interruptions list in addition to your priority list for your tasks. Today’s date should be written on a notebook that you keep near your workstation. When someone phones, comes to visit, or instant messages you need something vital but not urgent now, and you’re busy doing something else, jot down what they want rather than doing it right away. You can lessen the impact of the interruption by doing this. It enables you to primarily maintain your attention on the current activity with only a small gap to list the new task. You can avoid forgetting about the new assignment by writing it down. Once you’ve completed your current work, review the interruptions you’ve listed and determine whether any other tasks need to be reordered to make room for them.
4. Batch Tasks and Time Blocks (Batching techniques)
Doing similar things together is a good idea whenever it’s feasible. For instance, if you have to write two articles and analyse three reports in one day, you might wish to arrange time to write the two articles at the same time and then set aside more time to read the reports. To avoid continually switching between the two “brains” you need to complete the work; it is better to group similar activities together because producing an original piece and evaluating data each require a different mindset.
Another benefit of blocking off time for similar chores is that you can schedule new work around those times because your schedule is already well-organized with your must-do items. Then just make a note to get in touch with that person at the time you specified and return your focus to the task at hand. For instance, if you’re writing content between 8 and 10 AM, and someone comes by at 9:30 AM to ask for a favour or follow up on a task, you can tell them that you’re free to discuss it after 10:00 AM instead. Call Centres will also have the “hour of power” where they close off the world for 1 hour to make calls.
5. Manage Email Effectively.
Email can be helpful as well as problematic. It’s useful since it makes it simple to communicate and keep track of who sent you resources. Due to the unpredictable nature of email delivery, the potential for distraction from notifications while working on another activity, and the tendency to feel “always on,” it can be a burden.
You can take control by scheduling the times when to best manage your email. Emails and notifications are something that normally breaks a worker’s concentration. Set your own personal rules, based on what’s logical for your workplace culture and what’s most helpful for you, as to how often you check and respond to your email. For example, on an average day where there’s time to spare, you could check it at the beginning of your workday and then once an hour, or maybe not at all when you’re in the middle of an urgent task or project. Of course, on a day where there is an urgent project that requires your attention and collaboration, you may need to temporarily abandon this routine.
6. Declare Your Workload
Do your email and instant chats have an option you can use to indicate that you are busy? If so, set it during times that you are focused on your projects and would prefer not to be interrupted. People may avoid approaching you if they see that you are busy until the “busy” setting is disabled.
7. Change Your Location.
Not everyone will be able to accomplish this, if you frequently get interrupted by neighbours who are loud or by passers-by who want to chat, see if you can work on your project in a quieter area for a while. So that you don’t have as many in-person interruptions, you might be able to work for a few hours in a conference room or even request to bring your work home for a while.
8. Make use of the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro technique may be useful if you frequently get interrupted and side-tracked because you have trouble focusing in general. It entails dedicating 25 minutes at a time to concentrating intently on your project. When you’re in that time window, be sure to focus solely on the topic at hand and ignore any interruptions, such as email. To help you keep track of your 25 productive minutes, you may even utilize a Timer or tracker online.
9. Limit your expectations
Do not be afraid to concentrate if you are working on a large job. Inform co-workers who are close to you or with whom you usually interact in advance. The message might be as straightforward as, “Hey guys, I really need to finish this report for a client today, but I’m free to help for whatever it is needed after!”. This kind of courteous response informs people that you’re busy, suggests that you don’t want to be disturbed, and conveys that you are delighted to assist them afterwards.
10. Put on Headphones. (If permitted)
If noise distracts you, even when no one is speaking to you directly, consider wearing headphones while working. Play some classical music or natural noises like beach waves or forest bird calls if lyrics-heavy music is distracting you. Bonus: People may be less likely to interrupt you if they see you hard at work with headphones on! Some even wear a telephone headset to avoid interruptions.
11. Stay Silent
Although being friendly and social at work is typically a positive thing, try to restrict your participation in conversations that aren’t related to your work if you need to concentrate and have a deadline. There will be plenty of chances to talk later in the day when everyone is winding down and your chores are accomplished.
12. Go for a Stroll
Whenever you need to refocus following an interruption, get up and take a five-minute walk. After a walk, you might feel more concentrated and ready to continue working when you go back to your desk. Additionally, you’ll have an opportunity to stretch your legs for a few extra minutes of workout!
Overall these techniques above will help you to be more productive and effective at managing your time. Remember that time will always be moving, and there is no way to capture it, so navigate it as best as you can. You can learn more about Time Management by taking a short course or inhouse training session that is provided by many professional development organisations today.