Do you ever feel like Cher and wish you could “turn back time” to get more done? Cher couldn’t do it and neither can you. But you can become a master of time management, so you don’t need more time.
Even if you can’t place an exact price on time, we’re all aware of the importance of time efficiency to the success of your company. Time efficiency can lead to the difference between a happy customer and a dissatisfied customer. Across departments, mastering time efficiency can help improve performance and productivity.
So, how can you manage your time more efficiently? Follow these six time management best practices to eliminate time waste:
1. Write It Down
If you store your goals, deadlines, and projects in your head, along with one million other thoughts, you will inevitably forget something important. So if your mind is cluttered and can’t seem to settle down, write down to-do’s, or find an app that will help you stay organized. Getting things out of your head and onto paper allows you to stay focused, without that nagging feeling that you’re forgetting something important.
2. Choose a Prioritization Strategy
There are many different methods of prioritizing tasks – from grocery lists, to kanban, to more complex team productivity tools. Think about the complexity of the tasks you are trying to manage. Will a quick set reminder do the trick? Or are you managing a complex project with many dependencies and tasks spread across teams? Now consider the different methods of staying organized, and pick the one that fits best.
3. Block Out Time For Regularly Occurring Tasks
Whether it’s scheduling social media posts or creating an agenda for a weekly meeting, we all have a set list of tasks that we must complete, without fail, each week. So set aside a consistent block of time each week, and mark it on your calendar, so everyone knows that is your time.
4. If It Will Take Less Than 15 Minutes, Do It Immediately
Not all tasks were created equal. Many actions can be completed in a matter of minutes of seconds, whereas some projects will take days, weeks, or even months. If a to-do comes your way and you know it will take less than 15 minutes, complete it immediately. Those little tasks build up, so knocking them out as they come will clear space in your mind to focus on larger tasks at hand.
5. Put Away Your Cell Phone
If you find you’re using an excessive amount of time sending non-work related text messages and checking Instagram, it might be worthwhile to store your phone in a drawer. The temptation can be easily conquered when said temptation is out of sight, out of mind. If you have an attachment to your phone and it is affecting your productivity, allow yourself set times to check your messages, so your thoughts aren’t consumed with what you’re missing. Once mid-morning, once after lunch, and once more before you leave the office.
6. Manage Your Stress
Stress in the workplace often occurs when we accept more work than we can reasonably manage (or more work than we think we can reasonably manage). When you pile all of your personal stress on top of that, your body is physically affected. You will become tired, you will lose motivation, and your productivity will be negatively affected. So be sure to actively manage stress in and out of the work place. Exercise is always an effective means of stress management. Join a gym, a yoga studio, or go for a jog. Take a few breaks throughout your work day to go for a short walk outside. There isn’t much that some fresh air and muscle movement can’t resolve.
It’s human nature to become stressed and to procrastinate. But if you actively work toward improving your time management skills in the workplace, you’ll find your mind is more free to enjoy your time outside of the workplace. Follow these tips, and you’ll never wish you could turn back time again.