Time management skills are what set the rookies apart from pros in the working world. If you’re like most people, you probably have more things you want to accomplish during the day than is actually feasible, and you often find your productivity suffering from simply not knowing how to fit everything in. In some cases, nothing gets finished. So, if you’re ready to learn how to structure your schedule to get the most out of your workday, pay attention to these four useful tips for effective time management.
1. Prioritize. When you’re setting up your schedule, ask yourself what really needs to get done: those piles of busywork that you could easily delegate to other people, or that critical project that you’ve been putting off for smaller tasks? Start with your top priorities first, and then see how much room you have left afterwards. By focusing your attention on what’s most important rather than how many different things you can put under your belt – essentially a quality-over-quantity mentality – you’ll be more satisfied and experience better pay-off in the long run by having the major ducks in a row with improved time management.[wpob id=”2″]
2. Nit-Pick for “Time Pockets.” Think about those little lapses of time you spend browsing through Tumblr, Pinterest, or YouTube – 30 minutes into a project you swore you’d finish that day. Or perhaps those intended 15-minute breaks that turn into hour-long gossip sessions with your coworker. Although these little chunks of time may seem insignificant on their own, collectively, they do cause your productivity to take a major hit. In order to eliminate these sneaky little gaps in your work time, take a log of how you spend your time over a period of a few days, tracking everything you do – literally. Once this is done, add up all of the time spent in meaningless and unnecessary activities. If you’re like most people, you could probably come up with at least several hours of free time you didn’t know you had.
3. Identify and Eliminate Interference. Tying into #1 and #2, you need to identify the sources of your distractions and other productivity killers before you can make any real changes. Don’t let pointless activities, or things that can wait until later, interfere with the most important tasks at hand. If you’re tempted to sift through your social media or email feed every 10 minutes, set up specific times dedicated toward those activities in regular two hour intervals throughout the day. As a rule of thumb, if it doesn’t count toward what you’re trying to achieve today, don’t do it.