Are there never enough hours in the day? Are you constantly interrupted? Always chasing your tail?
Below are eight tips to help you manage time, rather than the other way round!
1. Identify how you use and lose time
Are you easily distracted? Do you find it hard to get down to things, do you move between lots of different tasks struggling to complete them (for whatever reason)? By recognising how we lose time we are in a better position to avoid doing them. The best step in any journey is to know where you are.
2. Set goals for your work and life and steps to achieve them
What would you like to achieve out of life – at work and home? Setting goals is a great way of ensuring that our time is spent getting to where we want to. Once we have goals we can set out the steps we need to take to get there. At work, ensure you understand your goals and objectives as confusion can waste time.
3. Plan your day and week
The best way to make the use of time is to plan how to use it. We work with hundreds of delegates each year who consistently say that when they plan their time they get more done. It’s important we’re realistic about how much time we actually have. If your job is one that is unpredictable and / or you have many interruptions you may only have four hours each day to get your own tasks done. So plan for those four hours, rather than the eight – ten hours you’re at work. If you’re in a customer-facing role, it’s likely that most of your day will be taken up with customers, leaving you little time to do other things.
4. Make the best use of your best time
A lot of research work is being done on energy management. Are you a morning person? If so, do the most complex tasks then. Leave the ‘quick wins’ to the times when you have less energy, eg mid-afternoon. If you’re great in the afternoon, do the reverse. That way you’ll get more done.
5. Manage interruptions
This is one of the commonest causes of losing time. We cover more information on this on our courses but some quick tips are:
- Meeting at someone else’s work place (so you can leave when you need to)
- Standing up when people come into your office (makes you appear as if you’re about to go somewhere else)
- Anticipate any questions / calls you may have and deal with them in one go or send an email to reduce the likelihood of people disturbing you
- Remove the chair by your desk!
- Arrange quick, frequent meetings with staff (if you have a team) to prevent constant interruptions about small things that could wait.
6. Organise your office
Many of us work better when clutter is out of site. ‘Handle everything just once’. Put papers away, file or flag emails.
If at all possible, is there anyone else who can take on a task, however small? One Team Leader we knew delegated a 20 min daily task to one of his operatives. It saved him over 1 ½ hours / week and meant he left work sooner after the shift finished, rather than staying late each day.
8. Manage your health and stress
Feeling in control has a big impact on our stress levels. Putting in place some of the tips above can increase the sense of control and improve how we feel. Good luck!
Want to find out more?
Come along to our next courses:
- Time Management – 29 April
- Management Development Programme – Developing Yourself and Others – 24-25 May where we’ll explore Time Management as well as Appraisals and Coaching Skills.