Do you find yourself lurching from one task to the other, without crossing anything off your to-do list? Are you struggling to multitask? Managing your time isn’t about squeezing as many tasks into your day as possible – it’s about working efficiently and productively, so that you can leave the office on-time and stress-free. So if you want to work smarter, instead of work harder, read on for Saro Recruitment’s tips for improving your time management!
Do a Time Audit
If you reach the end of every day with hardly making a dent in your workload, you need to figure out where your time is going. Try logging the time that you spend over a week by tracking your daily activities. When you finish this time audit, you’ll be able to see how much you can feasibly accomplish in a day; you may be underestimating how long it takes you to do certain tasks, and therefore find yourself falling behind. You should also take note of which activities are taking up the most of your time and consider how you can streamline them. And finally, identify which time of day you are the most productive – and schedule the projects that require the most focus and creativity during this time.
Do you jump into your to-do list head first, desperate to get all the tasks done as soon as possible? You may find yourself quickly running out of steam and unable to get anything finished. The golden rule of time management is to prioritise. At the beginning of every day, take five minutes to look through your task list and weigh each one. Which ones are the most essential and important (and not just urgent)? Concentrate on completing these first, and then you can move onto the less essential items. Don’t know where to start? Ask your manager or a colleague for help – their feedback will help you to measure the importance of each task, and eliminate any projects that you shouldn’t be working on.
Once you’ve prioritised your task list, the next step is to hunker down and focus on each task in turn, while minimising distractions. Multitasking is often the enemy of time management; you’re more likely to get your work done in a timely manner if you get focused. Social media is poison to time management, so close any non-essential browser windows and put your phone away. If your office is noisy, consider finding a quiet room or invest in noise-cancelling headphones. And learn to say no if people are clamouring for your attention.
We’ve all been there – faced with a difficult task, it’s easier to be distracted by a colleague’s story or a post on social media. You’ll do anything to put off climbing that mountain. But procrastinating will just increase your stress levels while you watch your to-do list add up. Are you overwhelmed by the size of the project? Break it into smaller, more achievable tasks and get started that way. Are other urgent tasks nagging at you? Just because a job is urgent doesn’t mean that it’s the most important. Consider delegating pressing tasks so that you can get on with the essential job at hand.
Build in Time Limits and Buffers
Why do so many well-laid plans for time management go awry? Because they aren’t realistic. You can’t possibly stick to a schedule that doesn’t take into account how long it takes you to do each task. Without detailed time limits for each activity, you risk spending too much time on one thing, and then desperately scrambling to get everything else done by the end of the day. Check the time audit that you did previously to know how long you spend on each project, so that you have a realistic picture of what you can achieve. Most importantly for your productivity and state of mind – build buffers into your day, like a short walk outside or a tea break with a colleague. This will allow you to take a breather and recharge, ready for your next job.
So now that you’re a pro at time management, don’t waste another second – get in touch with Saro Recruitment today to get the job of your dreams!
16 October 2018