Time management can spell a whole lot of difference for your productivity at work. Whether you’re working a 9-to-5 or globe-trotting as a digital nomad, it’s key to getting great results for your business and organisation.
Having an effective time management strategy in the workplace can:
- drive efficiency for your team,
- produce high-quality outputs, and
- find overall satisfaction in your everyday work life.
BUT it’s easier said than done.
There are a lot of pitfalls – aka distractions – to watch out for. Some are so blatant that you can easily spot them, i.e. Facebook. Others tend to sneak into your work habits (“urgent” emails) that before you know it, the day is gone without you accomplishing anything.
That’s why time management is an important skill that’s highly sought for in the workplace. It takes a discerning eye, self-awareness, and a whole heap of effort and discipline to pinpoint the distractions and kill them.
6 time management tips no matter your work set up is
In this day and age, professionals no longer start the day clocking in, sitting and facing the computer the whole day, and clocking out.
The concept of work has now evolved into flexible working hours, remote work spaces, and new ways of doing things.
While this has significantly resulted in access to a better team, faster turnarounds, and more efficient ways of doing things, the contemporary business setting has challenges of its own.
Remote work could also mean working with Netflix in the background, or constant chitchat’s from the other table in the café.
It’s an understatement, but time management is more important now than ever before.
Luckily, there are tips and tricks to make sure your time management skills at work actually work… no matter your role is:
If you are a business owner
TIME is your biggest asset.
There’s nothing else that’s so important than your man-hours, which can either mean thousands of dollars or losing them. It’s key to know which tasks to prioritize, like you really mean business (pun intended).
Figure out the tasks that suck the life out of your productivity.
You may be doing a lot of different tasks and thinking throughout the day, that it’s easy to miss which ones are taking most your time. Email? Calls? Meetings? Networking?
It’ll be helpful to diligently log your activities and the time spent for each. You can go the primitive route of doing an Excel spreadsheet, or opt for the more time-efficient path –an app.
If you spend a lot of time online, a time-tracking app may be extremely helpful to find out how much time you actually spend on emails or social media.
These apps can help you become more aware of your time-wasters. If you’re not too happy with the results, go ahead and adjust accordingly! Focus on the more strategic side of business and delegate the rest to your capable team.
Apply the Pareto principle.
Using the Pareto principle of 80/20 is one way of working more strategically and efficiently. The 80/20 rule means that 80% of the results are based on 20% of your work. Or 80% of your revenues come from 20% of your operations. Or 80% of your sales come from 20% of your salespeople.
To find out more, you can watch this quick video explanation:
Know that the Pareto principle is a constant work-in-progress so keep experimenting until you find the sweet 80/20 spot!
If you’re a freelancer or a digital nomad
Get rid of distractions.
The best way to start doing and stop procrastinating? Kill the distractions.
Time spent scrolling down your Instagram feed can suck the productivity out of your work hours. So go ahead and sign out of that app. Turn off the TV. Switch off those mobile games. Lock yourself in and move yourself away from the chatters. Block the time-wasting websites. (Read: Top Time Wasting Websites to Block Today)
It takes a whole lot of discipline. But on days when willpower and getting a second wind can’t save you, you can always turn to tools, like website blockers.
Here’s the Ultimate Guide on How to Block a Website.
Go for the “pomodoros.”
The Pomodoro technique is what many successful people use to accomplish a lot in a day. It’s as simple as working for 25 minutes straight to finish a task (called “Pomodoro”), and then taking a break for 5 minutes before starting another task.
It sounds so simple, yet it’s very effective! Titans and successful people attest to it!
Here’s how you can manage your time using the Pomodoro technique.
Adopting this system works because it helps you steer clear from burnout, a sure-fire way to kill productivity. Especially for self-employed professionals like you who have their own schedule in their hands, the tendency is to forget to take a break. That, or the complete 360, which is a 5-minute break and an unintentional hour extension filled with cat videos and texting.
So set your alarm every 25 minutes. Or use a break-reminder app that will prompt you to get off your chair for 5 minutes and sip a warm cup of tea.
If you work a 9-to-5
Go for an early start.
There’s no better feeling than to get to the office first thing in the morning with only a couple of people around you. It’s the perfect time to settle in and embrace the peace and quiet – no hustle and bustle from the floor just yet.
It’s just you, your warm cup of joe, and your first big task of the day. Sounds like you’re off to a great start!
And sometimes, starting off on the right foot carries the good juju throughout the day.
(Of course this only applies if you’re not a night owl or coming from a big night.)
Batch your tasks together.
Some people thrive in multi-tasking and mixing up their work with an assorted list of to-do’s. But more often than not, it doesn’t work. It’s reactive. It takes control away from you.
What regains your control is batching. It’s a time management technique that groups similar tasks together. For instance, you can have a full morning of coding or writing, and a whole afternoon of calls and meetings. By doing this, your brain doesn’t have to switch from one thinking cap to another.
Batching minimizes distractions and hinges on your brain’s capacity to focus and be “in the zone.”
Time management, when done right, can lead to positive impact on your work and life overall. Harnessing it can be a strong skill to have in building your career and achieving your goals.
All it takes is practice, a whole heap of discipline, and some tools to aid you in sticking to your plans.
Sign up for your free FocusMe trial now and become a Time Management Ninja.