How To | Improve Your Time Management
Time management is a key area to get right. If you struggle with time management, here are some top tips you can implement right now.
Ensuring you prioritise, delegate where appropriate and produce work on time and budget are crucial factors in delivering successful projects or becoming a strong leader and manager.
Write ONE task list
This may seem obvious but pull everything together onto just one task list each week. Avoid writing tasks on scrappy post-its which you might then lose. This will allow you to prioritise tasks, ensure that you don’t miss any deadline and will help you identify what you’ve achieved each week.
Prioritise into A,B,C,D tasks
Categorise your tasks into A, B, C and D importance: Urgent and important (A), not urgent but still important (B), urgent but not as important (C), not urgent or important (D).
Always do your A tasks first, then focus on B. Ask yourself why you’re doing C tasks and with D – do they need to be on the list. Can you delegate C and D tasks?
If you are lucky enough to have someone to delegate to, this is a time management gift. Often workers don’t delegate because a) they feel it will take them too long to explain what they need and b) they think they could do a better job.
This is short-sighted – one clear explanation to a good employee will mean you’ll be able to delegate that type of task again and again.
You may be able to do a better job, but you can’t anyway because you’re too busy. Encourage and develop staff to improve their skills, this is beneficial for you, and for the organisation.
Give yourself a goal for each work day – this may be to complete tasks on your job list, but it might also be to develop an employee through delegation, to remain calm in the face of pressure, or to tackle a challenging conversation.
Setting yourself goals will give you a sense of achievement and help you stay motivated and committed, which will allow you to power through your work.
Set timed tasks
You can lose hours of time to an open email inbox. Getting distracted by a pop-up window reminding you your expenses are due will not get crucial work done. Set yourself an amount of time to deal with emails, then close your inbox completely.
Set yourself time for each task – even if that won’t complete it. This will help you focus for concentrated periods of time, and really focus in on what you need to do.
Learn to say no to tasks and meetings you don’t need to be involved in
There are two big time stealers out there – the ‘Cc every man and his dog’ email-er, and the ‘invite everyone in the whole department to the meeting’ colleague.
When you get an email you didn’t need to be copied into – shut it down. Contact the person and explain these emails are irrelevant and ask to be removed from the distribution list. You can cut your emails down significantly by taking the time to do this.
Ask yourself do you really need to be in every meeting you’re invited to? If you can’t see how you can contribute, have a discussion with the organiser about whether you really need to be there.
Take yourself away from open place office space
When you have a difficult or complex task to complete, being in an open plan office can be difficult; particularly if you’re a manager that may have employees regularly asking for your help.
Take yourself into a meeting room, a quiet workspace, your local coffee shop, or request to work from home. If you can focus on your task completely undisturbed you will complete it more quickly.
This may seem like the opposite of time management but breaks are essential to clear thinking and efficiency. Without a break, you can become sluggish and unproductive.
Give yourself a five-minute break every hour to stretch your legs, and take a break from your screen. Take a lunch break. Preferably get outside if you can – the fresh air and natural light will really boost your productivity.
Create email and document filing systems
If you don’t have an email and electronic document filing system, you need to rectify this. Hours are lost to searching for old emails and locating crucial documents.
Developing excellent time management skills takes practice. By learning how to manage time in a better way, you can reduce stress by adding more time to relax and still enjoy the satisfaction that comes with knowing that you can cross off every task on your list for the day.
About A and D Recruitment
A&D Recruitment is a vibrant, independent employment agency specialising in Renewable Energy & Building Services sectors.
Founded by recruitment experts Alessia and Darren Williams, A&D Recruitment has successfully placed candidates in a diverse range of roles over the last 13 years.
To get in contact call 01743 247774 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org