9 Essential Time Management Strategies for Work
Effective time management can make you more productive. But what’s the key to staying efficient and meeting your deadlines?
Each day brings a new opportunity to start fresh. But with a lot of people still working from home, the need to stay productive during your workday is more important than ever. You only have so much time in a day, so how do you make the most out of the time that you have?
Using effective time management not only helps you stay more productive with work, but it can also overflow into your personal life. When you maintain your focus on the tasks at hand, you complete them more efficiently. And when you become more efficient, you have more time to do the things that you love.
Think about it like the classic metaphor that time is money. For example, if you look at your calendar as if it were a budget, where are you spending the most time? Are you spending time on things that aren’t giving you any type of return? What are your most urgent tasks? If you’re wasting time, you’re wasting money.
Here are 9 essential time management skills to help you be more productive at work!
Here’s What We’ll Cover:
1. Plan Out the Details of Your Day
How often do you wake up in the morning and think through the things that you need to do that day, stressing about your to-do list? When you use time management techniques, your stress levels can shift towards productivity.
Take 5-10 minutes each morning to map out the daily tasks you want to complete. It will not only hold you accountable but will also allow you to prioritize. You can even leave a few blocks of time empty for anything unexpected or more difficult tasks.
You can do this the night before or in your spare time. When you get up in the morning all your priorities will be top-of-mind and you can start your day being as productive as possible.
2. Prioritize Between Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Tasks
Chances are you have a million different things going on. Some might be an immediate priority and others might have a little bit more flexibility. But one thing remains the same: everything has a deadline at some point.
Focus on the single tasks and duties that you have in your job to create a more structured schedule. Think about what’s an immediate priority and what’s not. One of the best ways to do this is to break down those tasks and duties into daily, weekly, and monthly priorities.
Once you can see when everything needs to be completed it will be easier to stay focused on your immediate to-do list. Not only that, but you will also be much more aware of what’s upcoming and be able to better prepare and plan your schedule.
3. Remove and Avoid Distractions
One of the biggest distractions that you have is your smartphone. Getting sidetracked to browse through social media or responding to a text message affects your attention. Other distractions include emails, meetings, and chatting with your coworkers.
With a million different things available at your fingertips, it’s important to create a separation. Put your phone on silent, tuck it away in a drawer, or leave it in another room. You won’t be tempted to check it every 5 minutes, which will make you focus on the task at hand.
You’re not always in control of when you receive emails or when meetings get scheduled, but you are in control of how they can affect your productivity. Limit when you check your email to scheduled breaks. For things like meetings, try and avoid last-minute schedule changes when you can.
4. Figure Out When You’re Most Productive
Are you a morning person? Are you a night owl? Do you just sleep whenever you get a chance? Everyone works in different ways. Knowing when you do your best work and when you’re most productive can help maximize your time management strategy.
Someone who rises before the sun all eager-beaver to get their day started is more likely to be productive during those early hours of the day. Night owls might start their days a little bit slower, but are more productive during the afternoon or into the evening. You just need to recognize which one you are.
By recognizing when you are most productive you can also recognize when you’re most motivated. And getting motivated is a huge contributor to time management.
5. Create a Dedicated Workspace
A lot of people have been working from home for over a year and might continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Having a dedicated workspace allows you to distinguish a work-life balance. It might be enticing to flake out on the couch with the TV on in the background, but distractions are distractions.
Having a dedicated workspace for you to do your work will help avoid any of those distractions. Your brain will also shift from personal to professional, which is an important element to working from home. It might not be easy to do and not everyone has extra space, but finding a quiet space to work will go a long way.
6. Make Use of a Timer or Alarm System
There are a ton of time management tools and resources out there for you to use to better manage your time. You don’t have to use multiple tools, but even adding one time management tool can save you hours each week. And they don’t have to be one of the million apps you can download.
Use the timer or alarm on your smartphone or computer to create time blocks. Want to spend an hour on the project you’re working on? Set a timer and get to it. Need to break up your morning tasks? Time blocking can let you know when you need to shift gears.
It might not sound like much, but even the littlest of things can add to your productivity and make you accountable for the task at hand.
7. Avoid Multitasking
Multitasking might seem like a productive skill, but evidence suggests that it’s not. When you multitask, your focus is all over the place and you actually spend more time completing your tasks. It’s tough to focus on one thing when you’re thinking about 3 other things.
Organize your calendar and set aside blocks of time for the specific tasks you need to complete or duties you need to fulfill. Put your time and energy into one thing at a time, and once you complete it, move on to the next. You will accomplish more in less time.
8. Delegate Work When You Can
It’s great to be busy, but being busy has its limits. Take a look at the responsibilities you have in your role and identify any tasks you can delegate. If you take on too much it will not only affect your productivity but can also lead to mistakes and even burnout.
Determine the priorities that you need to focus on by making lists, assessing each task, and figuring out what’s most important. Once you figure out those priorities, it will make it easier for you to make a decision on where you can delegate work.
9. Take Time to Recharge Your System
One of the most important areas to take into account when it comes to essential time management strategies. It doesn’t matter what tools and resources you leverage or how in-depth you create your calendar if your body is overworked. When you become tired and stressed it’s harder to stay focused and productive.
Take the time to recharge your system. It doesn’t have to mean taking a few days off or a week-long vacation, but set aside some time to regroup. Having a balance between work and personal life is crucial. Schedule time in your calendar to take an afternoon walk or limit your workday to end at a certain time.
Have you been working 12-hour days for the last few months? Take a few nights off each week to spend time doing things that you enjoy. Your next workday will start with fresh energy and a newfound enthusiasm to be as productive as possible. Sticking to a schedule and taking the time to recharge will only benefit you in the long run.
It can be overwhelming trying to make changes to be more productive and have better time management. It’s not always going to be easy, but all you need to do is start somewhere. From there, implementing different time management strategies for work will become second nature.
Start by planning out your days and prioritizing the tasks that need attention first. Focus on your responsibilities and determine the amount of time you think they will take, and schedule accordingly. You will be amazed at how small changes can turn into a big difference.
Ask yourself if you’re spending enough time on the tasks that are most important or if there’s anything that is contributing to you not completing them. Use these essential time management strategies for work to become more productive. Prioritize tasks and develop greater happiness when it comes to your work and personal life.
Find more tips and strategies for productivity on our resource guide.