Words by Carlie Tucker
Too much to do and too little time – it's a struggle we've all dealt with, whether in the office or on the road. Effective time management is a great way to tame the day, ensuring you make the most of every hour and finish feeling accomplished rather than defeated. It's also a skill that benefits from regular practice and finesse, so in the name of honing those skills here are five easy steps to better time management.
Break It Down
They say a mountain is climbed one step at a time, so it only makes sense to do the same when you have a 'mountain' of a day to get through. Start things off by breaking everything down into easy steps and set goals for what you'd like to accomplish. Remember to keep them realistic so as not to penalise yourself before you even get started. Not only will this make your day seem easier to handle, it will provide much needed organisation and direction.
Don't Be Afraid To Delegate
One of the biggest pitfalls in time management is convincing ourselves we can do it all. Tackling too much can often lead to feeling overwhelmed, dissatisfied, stressed and burnt out. It can also have an effect on your quality of work as you rush to get everything finished on time. The smartest strategy is to know when you have too much on your plate and delegate some of those tasks. Utilise the skills of your team members to not only free up some of your time but also produce a higher quality of work.
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No More Multi-Tasking
Studies have shown that multi-tasking may not be the best approach when it comes to productivity. In fact, it may even be hindering your progress and creating a source of stress. If you want to get things done quickly and to the best of your ability, the best approach is to give one task 100% of your attention. That means cutting out all of those other little things that tend to pop up. Of course, this can often be easier said than done.
There will always be a phone call, email or co-worker that needs a minute of your time, but there are ways to effectively manage those distractions while staying on course. This includes scheduling free time slots to allow yourself to deal with any emails or issues before getting back to your task list.
Stay Positive And Move On
The occasional hiccup is to be expected when you're dealing with a busy day. Mistakes will be made either by yourself or others involved. The key to keeping your time management on track is to not let these things deter you. Stay focused and persevere. Keep a positive attitude and use those mistakes as lessons rather than hindrances. In the end, you'll finish everything you've set out to while gaining insight into best practices and problem solving strategies.
Take A Break
Don't be afraid to work some down time into your schedule and take advantage of it! Taking a break is a chance to let your mind and body relax so you can return to your work with a renewed sense of motivation. You're less likely to get bogged down, which is a great way to keep your productivity up. Even if it's just a five minute breather to stretch your legs on a quick walk around the office, a little time away from the desk can do wonders.
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