Blue Sky Career Consulting's Top 10 Time Management Tips
A common issue I hear when working with Career Coaching clients is that they have too much work to do and not enough time to do it all in. So without working extra hours each day, (which I strongly advise against as it’s a slippery slope to becoming a regular event), how do we manage our workload to make the most of our working day and get through the to-do list that seems to never end?
Here are the Blue Sky Career Consulting 10 top time management tips to get you on the road to success:
1. Prioritise your work
Seems simple enough but we often spend too much time fire-fighting or doing quick but unimportant tasks that make us feel busy but add less value to the role or organisation. Eisenhower's Urgent/Important Principle is a brilliant tool to help you really work out where you are spending your time, and how effective use of that time really is.
The MindTools website outlines this principle in more detail -
2. Make use of your calendar
This is one of the fundamental tools for managing your time effectively. It allows you (and others) to see at a glance what your day/week/month looks like. Be sure to schedule in ‘desk time’ not just your meetings or appointments. Allocate time for each task throughout the day and try to stick to it.
3. Plan your day
Spend at least 15 minutes everyday (first thing) to plan out your day and make a to-do list. It’s too easy just to dive straight into those emails and before you know it an hour has gone and you don’t know what you are even trying to accomplish in that day.
4. Make use of timers
Set timers or alarms on your computer or phone so you don’t get caught up in a task and forget to move on. Timers actually make us work faster and stop us being distracted by unimportant tasks.
5. Learn to say a 'no' to people
We often take on too much, particularly if we are a ‘helper’ by nature. Colleagues can sometimes take advantage of this good nature so think before agreeing to help. Review your current to do list – how much of it is your work, and what have you taken on to help others?
Unlike the above point, delegation isn’t about passing off work to others, it is ensuring the work you are doing is appropriate. If you are a Manager, for example, don’t get caught up in administrative tasks if you have a team member whose role this actually is.
7. Scrap the multitasking
Focus on one activity at a time instead of doing parallel work or multi-tasking. This is much easier on our brain to deal with and genuinely makes us far more productive.
8. Identify and eliminate time wasters
Find out what your time wasters are - it may be a chatty colleague, it could be checking Facebook, or it could be constant unimportant phone call interruptions. Identify the time wasters that happen throughout your day, and make a plan to minimise if not eliminate them altogether.
9. Stick to the plan
Learn not to answer the phone just because it is ringing, or respond to emails instantly, just because they pop-up. While working, focus your attention unless it is absolutely critical.
10. Ask for support
Finally, if you are trying all these tips and you still have too much work, speak to your line manager. They may be able to help and lessen the load. At the end of the day, how sustainable is excessive work? Eventually we may crack and/or leave the organisation, so it is in your manager’s best interest to help create an environment where you are productive but not overwhelmed.
Blue Sky Career Consulting provide a range of career support services to help you succeed in your career. If we can help, please get in touch.