10 Tips for Time Management – Even though managing your time is not as complicated as you think, it’s more than just reading a book or attending a time management class. Good time management needs to become part of your daily life; it needs to become a habit. Isn’t it interesting that many offices have some frustrated and often disorganized employees with stacks of time management literature on their bookshelf?
No, these books are not useless. But people have a busy schedule. They have a hectic life full of meetings, appointments, and deadlines. Problem is they do not have enough time to implement the know-how from these books. This insight prompted me to write 10 tips for time management to get you started.
10 Tips for Time Management
- The most important tool you need is a good day planner such as the Franklin Planner. The planner will help you get rid of all those sticky notes. It will be the one and only place to keep your notes, collect ideas, schedule appointments, tasks and so on.
- Make a list of all things that need to get done each day. Again, use your organizer’s To-Do list. Of course, you can use your computer for this as well. Next to all the To-Do’s mark their priorities. Is it a normal task? Or is it considered to be important or urgent or both?
- First thing every morning you should do is to go over all the tasks in your list. Do NOT check email, read the newspaper or make phone calls.
- Do the same after lunch and then again in the evening. Mark the things you did as completed. Review the remaining tasks on your list. Eventually, re-prioritize as needed.
- Before you finish your day, transfer all remaining tasks on your list to the next day’s list. Clean out the things that became insignificant and are not needed anymore. Add new things as they come up.
- If you are in a position where you can delegate work to other team members or employees, do so whenever you can. Think about engaging a VA (Virtual Assistant) for a number of hours each week. This way you don’t have the obligations that come with hiring someone full time and the cost is affordable. This is especially important if you live a mobile lifestyle or travel frequently.
- Keep meetings to a minimum. Avoid them whenever you can. If you can’t avoid the meeting, make sure there is an agenda and no time is wasted with small talk and unrelated topics.
- Establish a closed door policy when you do important work. If your workplace is a cubicle and you get interrupted, ask your colleagues to come back later when your task is completed.
- Make sure your voice mail is activated and turned on. This way you can focus on your important work instead of answering phone calls. Don’t forget to list the callbacks on your task list.
- Learn to say NO. This is crucial when you reach the limits of your capacity. Do not work overtime. Leave your work in the office, don’t take it home. Don’t forget: When you’re physically and mentally tired the quality of your work is not at its best. That’s why you must learn to say no.
Improving your time management at work is easy. But you need get the hang of it. Make a commitment to yourself. Change your habits. Implement the 10 tips for time management outlined above into your daily life and hopefully you will have soon another problem: what to do with your free time.