Time management makes a huge difference to both your productivity and your wellbeing. Having a keen grasp on how you allocate your time can make your workday feel effortless, but if your skills in this area are lacking, it can result in you feeling frustrated, looking back and thinking ‘What have I actually achieved today?’.
And, with 82% of people reporting they have no time management system, maybe it is time to start thinking about how you can better organise your day.
Well not to worry! Why not check out our time management tips below to start getting your work done on time and reclaim your work-life balance.
Our top time management tips:
- Prioritise tasks
- Set realistic goals and deadlines
- Minimise distractions
- Practice the Pomodoro technique
- Delegate and outsource tasks
- Avoid multitasking
- Take regular breaks and maintain work-life boundaries
- Schedule ‘scrappy time’ in your calendar
- Learn to say no
- Practise self-care
You can check out these time management tips in more detail below:
1. Prioritise tasks
Start your day by identifying and prioritising the most important tasks. Focus on completing high-priority assignments first, and make sure you’re clear on which can wait until tomorrow. This will help you stay organised and ensure that crucial deadlines are hit. Consider using tools, such as task management apps like Todoist or project management software like Monday.com, to stay on track.
2. Set realistic goals and deadlines
Break down your tasks into smaller, manageable goals with specific deadlines. Be realistic about the time required for each task, and don’t overload yourself with unrealistic expectations. By setting achievable goals, you’ll avoid feeling overwhelmed and maintain a healthier work-life balance.
3. Minimise distractions
Distractions can derail your focus and eat up valuable time that could be spent elsewhere. Identify common distractions in your workplace and take steps to minimise them. This may involve turning off notifications on your phone and email, closing unnecessary tabs on your computer, blocking meeting-free time in your calendar, or finding a quiet space where you can concentrate.
4. Practice the Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro technique is a time management method that involves working in focused bursts followed by short breaks, to boost productivity and prevent fatigue. Set a timer for 25 minutes and fully dedicate yourself to one singular task. Once the timer goes off, take a 5 minute break before starting the next Pomodoro session. Ideally, you should take this break away from your desk and use this time to move and stretch. Like the sound of this time blocking technique? Check out these free desktop and mobile applications.
5. Delegate and outsource tasks
Recognise that you can’t do everything on your own. Delegate tasks to colleagues or consider outsourcing certain responsibilities, if possible. Sharing the workload can benefit both you and the person you’re delegating to; trusting others to handle certain tasks allows you to focus on what truly requires your attention, as well as providing the other person with opportunities to become involved or gain experience with different tasks or projects. Ultimately, effective delegation creates a healthier work-life balance for all.
6. Avoid multitasking
Contrary to popular belief, multitasking can hinder productivity and increase stress levels. Instead, practise giving your undivided attention to one task at a time. Focusing on a single task allows you to complete it more efficiently and effectively, ultimately saving time in the long run by reducing the fatigue caused by task switching.
7. Take regular breaks and maintain work-life boundaries
Remember to take breaks throughout your workday. Stepping away from your desk or workspace can help to refresh your mind and prevent decision fatigue. Additionally, If you haven’t already done so, establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Avoid checking emails or working outside of designated working hours whenever possible. By maintaining a healthy work-life balance, you’ll be more energised and focused when it’s time to work.
8. Schedule ‘scrappy time’ in your calendar
Allocate a block of time in your calendar to deal with non-urgent tasks — for example, checking messages, responding to emails, or organising your meeting notes. This will mean that you can avoid being distracted by them during the rest of the day, as well as ensuring that they aren’t continually pushed down the priority list and forgotten (or left to snowball into a more pressing issue).
9. Learn to say no
Setting boundaries and knowing when, and how, to say ‘no’ to tasks or commitments can help to ensure that your goals and priorities stay on track. Focus on what’s most important to you and avoid overloading yourself with unnecessary responsibilities. If you want to learn more about saying ‘no’ check out our workshop on Assertiveness.
10. Practise self-care
Numerous studies have demonstrated the importance of eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep on our concentration levels. When we can’t stay focused, even our best time management efforts can fall by the wayside. Take the time to listen to your body and mind, and make sure to include time for relaxation and other activities that promote your wellbeing.
Final thoughts on getting the most from your time management
The best time to implement time management strategies is at the start of your day or week — start as you mean to go on! It’s much better for both your motivation and wellbeing to reflect on your day satisfied with the work you’ve achieved, rather than feeling stressed and unproductive.