Being productive at work isn’t just about using the best systems and tools for your needs. It’s also about making the most of your time during the day. It may sound hard to believe, but when you take time out of your day to properly manage your time, you’ll be better prepared to tackle your schedule and workload. In fact, learning how to effectively manage your time can enhance your ability to get things done at the office, home, and beyond.
Here are five tips to help you better manage your time during the workday:
Take immediate action
Waiting for the “perfect” time to begin a project or complete administrative tasks? There will never be a more perfect time for you to begin your work than right now. Tackle those troublesome to-dos on your list or get started on a project you’ve been avoiding. Whatever you choose to accomplish, avoid overthinking your work. Round up those materials, write that email, open that file, and get to work!
Protect your time
Are you protective of your work schedule? Or do you let other people, events, and situations “steal” your valuable minutes and hours? If not, you’ll want to get in the habit of guarding your time as if it were a precious jewel. Do what you must to ensure you have adequate time available to you to actually complete your work. Block out time in your calendar for projects, decline invitations to non-essential meetings, and eliminate distractions while you work.
Avoid throwing away your minutes
It’s not uncommon for small chunks of time, be it five or fifteen minutes, to be dismissed or overlooked over the course of a day. Why not take back all those minutes you unwittingly dismiss as being inconsequential and unusable? Yes, you may not be able to accomplish as much as you would in a longer period of time, but you can still get things done. Which tasks or actions can you complete in a brief period of time? Can you make a phone call, check the status of a delivery, review some documents, or tidy up your workspace?
Track your time
Time tracking allows you to get an accurate reading of how you are spending your minutes and hours during the work day. If you haven’t yet done so, try tracking your time for the next day or two. Make note of how you spend your time during each hour. Then, review your findings with a critical eye. How many hours did you spend working on projects, participating in meetings, or traveling? Did you spend more or less time than anticipated in your work? Knowing this, what steps can you take now to streamline your schedule?
Schedule time for reflection
If you want to improve your productivity levels, you’ll definitely want to set aside some time for thought and reflection throughout the day. Taking just five minutes to reflect after a meeting, interview, or session can help you better process and evaluate information. Try setting aside a few reflection sessions during your day. You can replay conversations in your mind or review your notes. And of course, you can certainly use this time to plan for the future.
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