One of the most important skills you can have in life is effective time management. Time is precious, especially when working in a busy environment. If you never seem to have enough time to complete your tasks, managing your time could help you gain control of your days. Learning how to manage your time effectively can help you feel more relaxed, focused and in control. Below are some tips for managing your time effectively.
Use your time productively:
Identify your goals:
Setting goals is a key component of time management. Setting daily goals allows you to think about what needs to be done and mentally prepare for each task. Some people find it helpful to make a list of their daily tasks. Lists can bring order to chaos and help you organise what is otherwise overwhelming. Once you have worked out what you need to do, you can then work out short-term and medium-term goals. Setting yourself targets and breaking down bigger projects into small, manageable steps. Actively set your goals by deciding what you need to do, how you are going to do it, and when you need it done by.
Many people find that setting SMART goals helps to keep them on task and on track. SMART stands for smart, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Setting SMART goals provide a sense of direction, motivation and provide a clear focus. SMART goals are:
Specific: this is not a detailed list of how you are going to meet a goal, but it should include an answer to the popular ‘w’ questions – who, what, when and where.
Measurable: this makes a goal more tangible because it provides a way to measure progress. What metrics are you going to use? If it is a project that is going to take months to complete, set some milestones
Achievable: this focuses on how important a goal is and what can you do to make it attainable. The goal is meant to inspire motivation, not discourage. Think about how to accomplish the goal and if you have the skills/tools necessary.
Realistic: a goal can be realistically achieved given the available resources and time. Goals should be realistic, but this does not mean that they need to be easy. They should stretch individuals, teams, and organisations, they can be demanding but not so much that the chance of success is small.
Timely: a deadline for when the goal will be accomplished is necessary and must be included. A deadline helps to create urgency, prompts action, and focuses the minds of those who are accountable for the completion. Not setting a deadline reduces motivation and urgency
Before you begin your work load for the day, prioritise. To-do lists are a great tool, but organised them a little rather than just writing down everything that needs to get done. Group tasks in terms of importance
Stephen Covey offered an organisational tool for your to-do list based on how important and urgent tasks are.
Important and urgent – tasks that must be done. Do them right away
Important but not urgent – tasks that appear important but upon closer examination aren’t. decide when to do them
Urgent but not important – tasks that make the most noise, but when accomplished have little or no lasting value. Delegate these if possible
Not urgent and not important – low-priority stuff that offer the illusion of being busy. Do them later
Write down your three or four important and urgent tasks that must be addressed today. As you complete each one, check it off your list. This will provide you with a sense of accomplishment and can motivate you to tackle less essential items.
Do not multitask:
Many people assume that multi-tasking is a great way to get more done and mange time wisely. However, focusing on multiple tasks at once actually makes you less productive. Tasks will take longer, as you’re not giving one task your full attention. Focusing completely on one task at a time instead. You will get your tasks done quicker, allowing you to make the most of your time.
Using the correct tools:
Document management systems:
Document management systems (DMS) is the use of a computer system and software to store, manage and track electronic documents and electronic images of paper-based information captured through the use of a document scanner. Using document management systems can help employees who work from home and employees in the office share documents. A DMS enables documents to be stored in an electric filing cabinet. Therefore, employees can use documents at the same time from different locations, meaning employees do not have to come into the office and search for the documents they require. Therefore, saving themselves time, as instead of searching the office for a file which may have been misplaced or another employee is using, the file is available on the document management system. We offer a range of document management systems, to find out more, contact us.
Shut off your phone:
When possible, turn your phone off. Phones can take up a lot of time throughout the day that you could be using to be more productive. As it’s easier to log onto social media or message friends. Help yourself, and turn off your phone whilst you’re focusing on other tasks.
Interruptions disrupt your workflow. If you’re in the middle of a task and stop to do something else, it can be hard to get back into the work flow you were previously in. when you’re on a task, try to complete it before getting up to do something else. Other things can wait whilst you strive to complete something else. Remember that sometimes disruptions are inevitable. If you receive an urgent call during a task, you should take the call. Do your best to avoid interruptions, but don’t worry over the occasional distraction.
Following a daily schedule:
Using a digital calendar:
Technology is a great way to manage your time and keep track of deadlines, appointments and more. Make use of calendars in your phone and computer. Write down daily tasks, like appointments and your work schedule. Set reminders for yourself. In addition to a digital calendar, it can help to have a physical calendar as a back up. Keeping this in your desk or carrying it with you in a planner.
Have a lunch break:
Many employees work through their lunch break; however, this can be counterproductive. Taking at least 30 minutes away from your desk will help you to be more effective in the afternoon. Going for a walk outside, or even exercising will help you to come back to your desk re-energised with a renewed focus. Planning your day with a midday break will help you to break up your work into more manageable chunks.
Stick to a sleep schedule:
If you want to manage your time, a sleep schedule is vital. A good sleep schedule ensures you’ll wake up early in the morning and be ready for the day. Most people need 7-8 hours of sleep for their bodies and mind to function optimally. To maintain a sleep schedule, go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time each day, even weekends. Your body will adapt to your sleep/wake cycle, leaving you feeling tired at your bedtime and energetic in the morning.
Call us today on 01785 785 650, and speak to one of our experts.