7 Ways to Manage Your Time and Get More Done
Do you struggle to keep your working day on track? Perhaps you’re so caught up with small unimportant tasks that you never seem to make any headway on the things that matter. Working longer hours isn’t the answer. And you can’t magically squeeze more hours from your day. So, how can you adapt to get more done?
The answer is better time management. By taking control of your time, you can eliminate non-essential tasks and achieve more in your working day. This not only reduces the stress and anxiety of always feeling like you’re behind, but will also help you get ahead in your career and make your job more enjoyable.
The following tips will help you take control of your time:
- Invest in the right office stationery
Before you overhaul your routine for the better, you need the right tools. Invest in office stationery that will enhance organisation in the workplace. Items like diaries, planners and to-do lists are designed to help professionals manage their time and organise their working day. Remember, everyone is different: some people prefer a monthly planner, while others like a day-to-a-page or week-to-view.
Create a to-do list
Take time at the beginning or end of each day to list what you need to achieve. Write down everything you need to do onto your dedicated office stationery, including the specific phone calls you need to make, reports that need writing, planning for meetings and so on. You will get a real sense of satisfaction every time you tick something off the list. And it also keeps you honest – it’s harder to put off a task if it’s written down in front of you!
Record your time
There are lots of benefits to keeping a diary at work: it keeps you focused, helps you plan ahead and get organised. By recording how you’re spending your time, you can look back at where your time is going and identify where it was wasted and where it could be better spent. Being aware of how much time you are spending on insignificant tasks – tasks that you could delegate or eliminate entirely – will help you control your workday and get more done. There’s lots of office stationery designed to help you with this, such as monthly planners and day-to-a-page diaries.
Write your deadlines into a planner or diary. With a visual reminder of key dates, you can better manage time rather than panic at the last minute. Be aware of false deadlines too – you might be told to complete a task “ASAP” or “right now” when in reality it’s not that urgent. Find out the situation for all parties involved and set a deadline that works for everyone.
Once you have a list of your tasks and your deadlines, you can prioritise. According to Pareto’s Principle, 20% of your daily tasks will produce 80% of your results. So identify which they are and focus the majority of your time on them. Raid the office stationery for labels and highlighters so you can colour code your list as an effective visual reminder if you start getting off track.
Wherever possible, delegate some of your responsibilities to junior team members. Not only will delegation save you time, but it will also help other team members to develop new skills and keep them motivated. Be sure to explain to the team member how they are helping you, why you have chosen them to help, and how they will also benefit from taking on new responsibilities. This will help them feel valued and respected, and ensure they don’t resent the work.
Stick to one job at a time. Even if you have a colossal to-do list, do not fall into the trap of starting lots of tasks at the same time. This is the least effective way to get results. Instead, tick off the task you’re on before you move to the next.