We all have those days/weeks where time runs away with us and we find we haven’t achieved the crucial things we needed to in that week. Identifying time management skills you can implement into your working day will help you to complete tasks on time and move on to the lesser priority tasks.
The key to successful time management is planning and then ensuring you protect the planned tasks and allocated times for these.
One particular element of the working day that takes over the best laid plans is our emails. We operate in an environment where we are so used to getting answers straight away we feel we have to answer every email as soon as we receive it, if you take a step back and really look at what people are asking you, they don’t need their email answered within five minutes of you receiving it.
Here are ten top tips to plan and manage your time effectively:
- Plan your day / week in the first 20 minutes of your day. Don’t start your day until you have planned the shape of your day and scheduled time for tasks in your day.
- Assign time to your tasks, if a task gets added to the bottom of a to-do list your list will become unmanageable. Adding it as an appointment time in your diary will allow your day to be scheduled to achieve the tasks you need to complete.
- Take five minutes either side of your task to determine the results you want to achieve from the task and if you have achieved them. This will help you to determine what success will look like before you start and measure success against this.
- When taking on a task / project from someone else ensure you ask when they need it completed by as well as what they need. Having a clear deadline for a project will allow you to schedule the time needed for this in your diary to fit alongside your current workload.
- Plan thinking time, sometimes we underestimate the time a task will take us, when we are involved in a project as well as the thinking time for your normal duties ensure you allow enough time to be creative and get the job done the way you would want it to be done.
- Avoid time suckers such as your emails, mobile phone, social media, unless these are part of the task at hand. These, as the name suggests, suck you of your time.
- Don’t panic when you are involved in another task that emails or calls are being missed. Allocate time to respond to emails and calls that won’t impact on your other designated tasks.
- Focus on the task you are working on, allowing your mind to wonder what is waiting in your inbox, who the voicemail is from or forward thinking for your next task will distract you from the task at hand and ultimately will take you longer and push your day back.
- Delegate tasks where needed and appropriate. There are times when we have too much on our plate and have to delegate tasks. To ensure you delegate effectively to ease your workload you need to identify the right person to delegate to and give clear guidelines to this person so they can complete the task. Where applicable allocate some of your own time to review the success of the delegated task.
- Think of your long term goals and tasks and allocate any small tasks that make these up into your day, without planning for the bigger picture you won’t have enough hours to complete this.
Time management enables each of us to improve and be more productive in our days and weeks. Personal productivity and success in our working day will give us the motivation and drive to complete the rest of the to-do list.