Ask a co-worker or friend to name three things they could improve on and I bet that time management is one of them. It is something I strive to improve everyday but sometimes it’s a struggle to figure out how to do it in the most efficient way. Sure there are books, courses, slideshares and planners galore; I find that they can consume more of our time which defeats the purpose to begin with, right?
Before we get started on the time management tips the most important lesson you’ll learn today is that no matter what you will be interrupted. Unfortunately as you climb up the corporate ladder or decide to branch out and become an entrepreneur, these distractions will only increase. You might not be able to get rid of them completely but you can decide how to manage them in a productive way.
Here are a few tricks I use to get me through the day more efficiently:
1. Put a note book by your bed and write down your thoughts so you clear them from your mind and get adequate sleep. Nothing makes you less productive then not getting enough sleep.
2. Schedule appointments and block out time for important activities and conversations.
3. Schedule ‘interruption time’ – whether it’s emails, Facebook or reading your favourite blogs. Take time to chill out and take a break so you can focus harder on the activities that matter.
4. When you get into the office, before you turn on your computer revise your day, make a list of 3 things to tick-off and nail them.
5. Got big deadlines? Lock yourself away in a meeting room and put an out-of-office on your emails, or better yet turn them off.
6. Before every meeting take a minute or two to establish what are the two questions you want answered from the meeting and leave with the questions answered and an action list.
7. Stop multitasking – focus on one thing and get it done.
8. Set realistic personal deadlines before the real ones are due. This will challenge yourself and increase your productivity. It also has the added bonus of some buffer time for corrections and even some preliminary feedback from a trusted colleague.
9. Turn key tasks into habits – if it’s something that’s regular it can become part of your natural routine and not a daunting task but something you can knock over fast.
10. Step back and appreciate. Remember to celebrate the wins and take time to enjoy your efforts.
Got any other tips? Share with us below and I’ll add them to the list!