To successfully manage your time you have to get organized both in your professional and personal life. Getting organized in an efficient way is a skill that not all people have. To manage your life and work you need to first manage your time.
In our days people spend most of their time working. There are times that they feel that they will never manage to escape from the four walls of the office and are lost in the various projects and tasks they have to finish.
Their personal life has become an old memory, which has been «locked in the drawer». The solution to this vicious circle is one: get organized and start managing your time. This article outlines 14 ways that can help you manage your time successfully and efficiently.
1. Make a list of what should be done
Make a list of what to do and try to constantly renew the list and keep it up to date. Include in this list both urgent and non-urgent things so as never forget or ignore something again. Keep the list all the time with you, in your briefcase or in your daily agenda.
2. Allocate your time correctly
Include an estimated time frame for each action and the date by which each task must be completed. If the order that each task must be completed does not matter it may be possible to complete something during an unexpected free time. For example, you can look for information on the Internet while you wait in your office to start a meeting.
3. Set your own deadlines and meet them
Be realistic about the deadlines you set and try to meet them. It is true that any work gets exactly the time allocated for it. Have you ever noticed how quickly you can finish something you have to write, give assignments and take decisions on the last day before your vacation? Although we tend to complete many things when we are under pressure, is less stressful and much more professional to establish and follow an action plan.
4. Use your time intelligently
Consider the case to check your e-mail only certain times of the day and let the answering machine respond to your calls so as not to interrupt your work for a couple of hours. If possible, avoid dealing with the same job or the same e-mail again. Never open e-mail address if you do not have time to read and edit, that is, to answer it, send, or delete it.
5. Organize your desktop
Organize your desktop; manage the copies of your files, your computer folders and e-mail folders so that you can easily find what you want. Minimize the time you spend when searching for information. Benjamin Franklin once said: «A place for everything, everything in place».
6. Insist in your targets
You should have an “in tray” in your office so that others can give you what they want to give you and not just leave it on your desk. Have you ever come back from a meeting and find additional records, letters and documents all over your office? Rather than follow your own program, you are “forced” to follow someone else’s priorities.
7. Do not distract your attention
If you have a door, you need to close it occasionally. If you have an open door policy that must always be open for your employees, but if you do not have time to really listen to their questions and concerns, then you will not manage to keep your promise. If a colleague comes to your office when you have a job and cannot discuss, seek to find another time to meet.
8. Co-operate with your colleagues
Colleagues will expect you to finish the job on time, so make sure to avoid any delay. You would expect the same from them. To avoid any delays, give more time to the project so as to be able to handle unexpected complications, misunderstandings or missed deadlines. If the date of presentation is the 25th of the month, be sure to plan to finish everything by 23.
9. Avoid unnecessary Supervisions
If you authorize someone else for a job or a contract, do not deal any more with this, unless you have a specific responsibility to monitor. Many people spend precious time to listen or read reports of other projects. If the investigation of your colleagues or their professional responsibilities does not affect your daily work, your performance at work or objectives of your career, you could simply express an interest just to encourage them.
10. Cancel routine meetings
Decide if the meeting is absolutely necessary. If, you have to attend, set an agenda and make sure that you follow it – start the meeting and finish it on time. If your presence is not necessary for the entire meeting then leave earlier.
11. Be constantly busy
Keep your skills in shape by having at least one project to be involved. Two or more (projects) would be even better because you are given the opportunity to «change speed» and to focus on something else for variety. To deal simultaneously with different project assures that you will always have something on which to work. Also, it keeps your mind alert and renews your prospects.
12. Choose carefully your projects
Make sure that your work has some value for the company and that it raises your skills. There are many good reasons why you cannot accept to take part in a meeting and refuse to take an additional project. Successful entrepreneurs know how to say «no». Ask yourself, «this will promote my career?» and «Can I give the necessary time to this assignment?” You will win more respect by working with a colleague, whose expertise and skills complements your own, rather than getting an extra work on your own and overloading yourself.
13. Do not waste your time
It is an integral part of human nature to postpone unpleasant tasks. Plan some of the more pleasant tasks of the project to be made after any unpleasant tasks. If you do not like to work with numbers, plan to do the accounts in the morning when you are still fresh and there are not so many things to distract your attention.
14. Reward yourself
To manage your time efficiently does not have to do only with your job. You should also include in your schedule time where you stop everything, relax and recharge your batteries. Thing of a reward to give yourself when you finish your work. This may mean to make a break for coffee once finished reading a long report or to leave for vacation just after the promotion of the new product.
You must give greater attention to how you spend your time. Watch how successful businessmen allocate their time and emulate some of their time management practices.
Success comes to those who know how to manage their time well.