Overwhelmed with your daily to-do list? By acquiring valuable time-management tips that can save you a headache or two in the long run. For many people, managing a stack of menial tasks is a big part of the typical workday. What happens when a coworker calls out for the day and you're asked to pick up their workload?
Time-management is the process where you are consistently prioritizing your tasks and efficiently dividing your time to meet assigned deadlines. It's all about working smarter. When you learn how to manage your time efficiently, you might find that it's easier to meet deadlines, provide higher-quality work and feel more in control of your work day.
If you test some of the time-management tips suggested when you're not overwhelmed, you might discover where you need to improve and find which strategies work for you. This can help you build effective time-management habits that can increase your productivity during crunchtime.
- Evaluating How You Spend Your Time
Your time-management plan should always start with an auditing process. To find out where your time is going, try keeping accurate documentation of your tasks and daily activities. Time tracking will allow you to determine how much you can accomplish within a limited timeframe. It will also point out which activities that you can spend less time on in order to boost productivity. When you evaluate where your time is currently going, you'll be able to implement the remaining time-management tips more effectively.
- Plan Your Day Before It Begins
Creating accountability for yourself can be a repeatable process like starting each day with a task list. Not only is it a great way to manage your time efficiently, you will also be less likely to forget certain tasks or put them off. Putting your most urgent tasks at the top of the list will assist you in determining how much you will realistically accomplish throughout the day.
- Get Rid of Distractions
If you're working in the office or from home, avoiding distractions is one of the most critical time-management tips to consider. To help you remain focused, try these six ways in order to avoid distractions:
- Close your door or book a block of time in a conference room if you have access to one. If not, consider purchasing noise-cancelling headphones.
- Create a comprehensive schedule of your time and allotted tasks.
- Shut off your mobile device during the workday.
- Consider moving your workspace to a less distracting location away from the kitchen, the main walkway, etc.
- Only check your email periodically when necessary.
- Are you able to start your day an hour earlier?
- Learning To Say No
When you're swamped with things to do, there are some instances where you can't realistically meet every assigned deadline. Do you have other deadlines that must be prioritized? Don't be afraid to say no or ask for help from a coworker if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Make sure you have good reasons and can communicate them to your supervisor and coworkers.
- Prioritize Your Tasks
You created a to-do list and you're receiving help from coworkers in terms of being able to meet your deadlines. To keep your workflow moving, consider prioritizing your tasks. You can accomplish this by keeping similar tasks together and remaining focused on the ones with the closest deadlines. If you don't have any firm deadlines, take a look at the tasks on your to-do list and set reasonable completion parameters for each. This will help you focus on one task at a time and allocate your focus into meeting your specified deadline.
- Utilizing Time-Management Tools
Working consistently and meeting deadlines can sometimes lead to burnout. If you're overworking yourself, you might find that you're less productive. It's important to balance your mental focus with periodic breaks. Time-management software isn't a requirement for staying productive, but it can help tremendously by giving you the flexibility to track your time spent on tasks, creating schedules, building in break-times and also setting deadlines.
- Saving Complex Tasks For Later
Some tasks can be more mentally taxing than others. You can attempt to avoid burnout by starting your day with more intensive tasks and saving the easier ones for later in the day. For example, if you're writing an article that requires research, consider starting it first thing in the morning. As the day progresses, work on the smaller tasks that require less focus.