Senior manager? Optimising your time management strategies helps to save money as well as time. Follow these 10 top tips for time management success.
The importance of good time management
Stop and take stock: are you in control of your time, or do you feel like you never have enough of it? The metaphors that we use to envisage time can tell us a lot about our relationship to time management and the effectiveness of our time management skills. Do you see time as an empty space to be filled up, for instance, or a foe to be defeated?
The healthiest way to think of time is as a resource like any other. We should manage our time just as we manage all our resources in the workplace, and it is totally possible to do so. This blog explains how you can manage this precious resource: time.
Follow these top 10 tips for time management success.
- Identify your aims. Having set goals motivates us and gives us a point to focus on. This ensures that as we move through time we do so in a streamlined, consistent way, making progress as we go.
- Create a schedule. Break your main goal down into several sub-goals and create a detailed schedule that ensures that you will achieve all of these sub-goals in an efficient manner. A physical aid such as a diary, wall planner or digital calendar with prompts and reminders can be helpful here.
- Know your priorities. Do not waste time working on inessential tasks when there is something more important that you could be achieving. Grade your goals and sub-goals by their importance – physically highlighting them in your diary in different colours depending on their importance is one way to do this.
- Focus on one task at a time. We hear praise of multitasking so often, but in fact cutting out all distractions and ensuring that each task is executed well before moving on to the next one is the best recipe for efficient, high quality work.
- Avoid temptation. Switch off your phone – or get someone else to take your messages – and avoid answering any emails whilst you are working to a deadline. Disable alerts from your emails that could distract you and suck you in and limit the time that you spend reading and replying to emails to three slots of half an hour at the beginning, middle an end of the day.
- Say no to projects you do not have time to complete well, or that would distract you from your main goals. Saying ‘yes’ to things can be overvalued as a trait for executives – there is often no need to take on as many new projects as you do. When asked to take on something new, do not answer until you have checked your calendar to verify that you have enough free time. If not, focus on completing your current project well.
- Prepare for the unexpected. Leave some extra time spare so that you have the flexibility needed to cope with any crises that may arise. If none arise, you can use that extra time to finish early.
- Plan, and plan again. An hour spent planning can be worth as much as three hours of poorly planned work.
- Monitor your progress. Log your progress and achievements so that you can keep track of them and spot any errors at a glance.
- Beat stress. We work very inefficiently under stress. Reserve some time to relax!