Author: Rachel Phillips
We’ve all been there - staring at a ‘to do’ list as long as your arm, the clock ticking whilst precious minutes ebb away as you waste time wondering where to even begin. Armed with some simple techniques you can change the pattern and stop procrastinating to reclaim control over your time and make sure you use it efficiently.
Write a ‘to do’ list
Making a list of everything you need to do, and when the deadlines are, will help you to feel less overwhelmed and ensure that you don’t forget important tasks or miss deadlines. You should re-write your list as often as needed to make sure that it is always up to date.
Prioritize all the tasks on your ‘to do’ list
Once you have your ‘to do’ list, you need to sort out which tasks are urgent, which are important and which are less important. Categories every point on your list as priority 1 through to 4, based on how urgent and important they are. This will help you to clarify which tasks you need to tackle first. Make sure you reprioritize your list regularly as you tick off actions and additional tasks are added.
Ask yourself what you are avoiding. Start with the tasks you are dreading to get them out of the way, and break larger tasks down into manageable chunks.
Avoid constant interruptions
Much time is lost through the constant interruptions which life throws up. To regain control of your time, let people know when the best time to contact you is - in a polite and constructive manner. Equally if you are going to be concentrating on an important task, let those around you know in advance that you will be busy at that time.
Set yourself a routine and stick to it
As well as letting the people around you know when best to contact you, create a routine for yourself based upon the times of the day you are most productive. If you feel sluggish in the mornings use the time to check your post and emails or do other routine tasks. If you are wide awake after lunch, schedule in the activities which demand the most brain power.
Learn when to say ‘no’
Taking on too much of other people’s work or trying to please everyone can have a serious impact on your efficiency. Take time to think about your role, what you can say ‘no’ to and what jobs you can delegate to other people. When delegating, provide clear actions, guidance and deadlines and make time to clarify any questions.
Stay one step ahead by looking at the forthcoming week, month and quarter so that you can anticipate large jobs and plan them into your schedule in advance.
Reign in meetings
Meetings can be one of the biggest time consumers if they are not chaired properly. The best way to manage people who are happy to talk all day is to set an agenda with time slots allocated against each point, and circulate it in advance. Then in the meeting remind people of their time allocations and make sure they stick to them.
Use unproductive time
It is inevitable that time out of the office eats up into productive time, for example, whilst waiting for a meeting to begin or traveling on a train. It is well worth considering whether you could use some of this time to review notes or catch up on reading.
Time Management Course
Working late all the time, finding it hard to meet deadlines and constantly feeling stressed? Then these courses are for anyone battling it out with time management issues. A time management course can help you to manage time, set and achieve goals, prioritize tasks and manage resources effectively.
About the Author
Rachel Phillips is a freelancer writer and loves to write on a wide variety of topics.