Whether it’s in your job or your lifestyle as a whole, learning how to manage your time effectively will help you feel more relaxed, focused and in control of your life.
Good time management is essential to achieve the lifestyle balance you want, and in some cases, need.
Here are some suggestions to start gaining control of your time:
What are your life goals?
Work out who you want to be, your priorities in life, and what you want to achieve in your career or personal life.
Once you have worked out the big picture, you can then work out some short-term and medium-term goals. Knowing your goals will help you plan better and focus on the things that will help you achieve those goals.
To-do lists are a good way to stay organised. Try it, and see what works best for you.
Your to-do list can be handwritten or Outlook based, whichever works for you. Just be careful of time-stealing habits such as not prioritising your to-do list, hitting the “snooze” button on your Outlook diary. A big part of time management is self-discipline.
Make sure you keep your list somewhere accessible. If you always have your phone, for example, keep it on your phone.
Focus on results
Good time management at work means focusing on the tasks that contribute to yours and the businesses success.
These tasks may be revenue generating, customer satisfaction generating, whichever are dependent on how your business measures success.
Have a lunch break
Lots of people work through their lunch break which can be counter-productive. As a general rule, take at least 30 minutes away from your desk and where possible, leave the building.
Go for a walk outdoors or do some exercise. You will be more productive in the afternoon as a result of it.
Planning your day with a midday break will also help you to break up your work into more manageable chunks.
Tasks can be grouped into four categories:
- Urgent and important
- Not urgent but important
- Urgent but not important
- Neither urgent nor important
People with good time management skills concentrate on “not urgent but important” activities. That way they lower the chances of activities ever becoming “urgent and important”.
Practise the ‘four Ds’
One study found that one in three office workers suffer from email stress. Making a decision the first time you open an email is crucial for good time management. Here are the following “four Ds” you need to practice:
- Delete: you can probably delete half the emails you get immediately
- Do: if the email is urgent or can be completed quickly
- Delegate: if the email can be better dealt with by someone else
- Defer: set aside time later to spend on emails that require longer action