It’s inevitable that your to-do list grows every day and probably takes more time to complete than you have available. By embracing better time management skills, you can not only boost your productivity but also grow as a professional. Making the most of the time you spend at work can help you to maintain better control over your responsibilities. However, while many people have the best of intentions, there are several areas where time management often breaks down:
- Improper prioritization: Arrange your day according to what must get done followed by things that are less time sensitive. Keep in mind deadlines as you plan and where you have some flexibility. Prioritizing tasks can keep things from building up to the last minute where then you feel rushed to complete them and may not be doing your best work.
- Failure to plan: You should go into each day with a schedule in mind that breaks down each task to be completed and how long it is anticipated to take. Without a clear plan, you may waste time jumping from one activity to the next and over- or underestimate what you can realistically complete. Plan for everything from meetings and responding to email to managing others and focusing on individual assignments.
- Not setting goals: Know where you are headed both in the short-term and long-term. Identify developmental goals that will help you to grow as a professional within the coming year. Determine the steps necessary to get there and use these goals to keep you motivated to improve yourself. Break larger projects down into short-term goals so they do not seem as overwhelming. Having set targets and deadlines can keep you on track and boost confidence as you tick off each task.
- Getting Distracted: We’re all guilty of getting distracted from time to time. However, this can make assignments take even longer because they do not have your full attention. Put your phone in your bag, close your door, clear off your desk, minimize your email, and direct your focus to the task at hand. It is amazing how much you can get done when other things are not interrupting.
- Taking on too much: You know what needs to be done and how much you can realistically handle. If someone approaches you about taking on additional work, discuss with them your current work load and priorities. It’s not a good idea to accept an assignment, let your boss or co-worker believe you can complete it, and then miss a deadline. Rather, partner with others to generate alternative ways to complete the work.
- Being unorganized: Staying organized takes time. However, time spent organizing saves you significant time in the future. Consider the time you spend looking for something that wasn’t put away. Keep everything you need in a convenient location. Make folders (either physical or virtual) to store related files so that you can easily access them when needed and have essential information at your fingertips.
- Avoiding breaks: It’s essential to allow yourself down time and it actually helps you to be more productive. After a certain amount of time or number of tasks, get up and stretch, take a quick walk, or do something else to clear your mind. Then you can come back and feel more refreshed and energized to keep pushing ahead. Forcing yourself to keep going even though your mind is exhausted can be counterproductive.
As the old saying goes, “Work smarter, not harder.” With some strategic planning, organization, and focus, you will be surprised with how much more you can get done in the same amount of time. At JP Kantor Consulting, we can help you to implement strategies that work and make the most out of each day. Keep projects running smoothly and efficiently while reducing risk of burnout by knowing how to better manage your time. Kick your day off right by contacting JP Kantor Consulting today to meet with one of our professional consultants and reorganize your work approach.