Coffee chats with co-workers, pointless meetings, mindlessly browsing Facebook or remembering to Google a curious symptom that emerged yesterday and many other distractions pray upon us during an average workday. According to a survey, 60% or less of work time is actually spent productively.
I strongly relate to this.
Recently I decided to completely change the way I perform my duties at work. During my Google search, a very common expression kept popping up: time management. Of course, it wasn’t completely new to me, but it wasn’t something I knew what really means and what practices it suggests. So, I decided to gather as much time management tips I could, pick out the ones I like the most and implement them in my workdays. To my surprise: they helped! So if you are anything like me, you will find these time management tips life-changing.
(Photo by Kaylah Otto on Unsplash)
But let’s start with a short intro. What exactly is time management?
“Time management” is the process of organizing and planning how to divide your time between specific activities. Good time management enables you to work smarter – not harder – so that you get more done in less time, even when time is tight and pressures are high. Failing to manage your time damages your effectiveness and causes stress.
But how do I master the art of time managment? Now let’s see the tried and true tips!
1. RECOGNIZE AND EXCEPT THAT TIME MANAGEMENT WORKS DIFFERENTLY FOR EACH PERSON
We all have different personalities, habits, jobs, schedule etc. It is no surprise that not all time management practices work for everyone. The best way is perhaps to try out a few and don’t worry if they don’t seem to work for you.
2. FIND YOUR GOALS
From gaining a sense of control over your time, through minimizing the time spent on social media to completing a specific project, there are plenty of goals you can achieve if you practice good time management. Take some time to think about the goals you need to set and then find the best practices to achieve them.
Some days just don’t seem to be suitable for work. Everything is blurry and you can’t seem to start doing anything. Here are some useful tips on how to find your focus.
4. FIND OUT WHERE YOU ARE WASTING TIME
It may be phone calls, constant checking of e-mails, interacting with co-workers, social media, mindlessly browsing the internet and your lack of motivation that makes you waste precious time. But there is hope: check out these apps that help you stop wasting any more time.
5. MAKE TO-DO LISTS FOR THE DAY AHEAD
Scientist say that what you do in the 20 minutes after you wake up determines how productive you will be that day. Write down your to do list in that 20 minutes and wait for the results! The list also comes in handy whenever you feel like losing track, you can easily check your to-do list and see where you were and what awaits.
Start your days with the most important tasks and leave the less important for the end of your workday.
7. USE TIME-MANAGEMENT TOOLS
Organizers, calendars, online to-do lists, time tracking apps and more. There are a lot of tools out there that help you with your time.
8. SET TIME LIMITS FOR TASKS
Think like this: „I am going to spend 30 minutes replying to e-mails and then research the topic of my next article/blogpost for an hour.” Make it a new habit to set limits for tasks and use your phone to remind you when the time is up.
9. TAKE A BREAK WHEN YOU NEED TO
Our brain can only concentrate for so long. If you feel like your productivity has decreased to a critical level, go for a short walk, drink another coffee or find a suitable way to gain back your energy and focus. But beware of so called fake breaks when you just mindlessly browse your Facebook feed or read the news – they can wait.
10. FIND INSPIRATION
There it is, again, the scary blank word document you have to fill with ideas of your own, but you feel like you have absolutely nothing left in your brain. Don’t wait for inspiration to hit you and don’t rely on others, like your boss or deadlines to inspire you. Whenever you feel uninspired, use one of these helpful tactics.
What is time management?
11 time management tips that work
You waste a lot of time at work (infographic)
9 best time management tools
Goals & benefits of time management
The secret to time management? Focus. Focus. Focus.