9 Ways to Manage Your Time at Work

by Alex Chris on July 13, 2012 · 2 comments

Following our previous post 16 Tips for Better Time Management we expand more on the topic with 9 tips on how to manage your time at work.

Nowadays many people are always under “time pressure” and they are constantly overwhelmed by work without the results to justify the effort.

The result?

  • Anger, stress and Frustration;
  • Inability to complete even the seemingly small or insignificant tasks;
  • Limited or no time for social / personal life;
  • Endless list of obligations and outstanding issues.

Before you reach into any conclusion about your skills or any possible weaknesses, we propose you first identify those tasks which can “steal” the precious minutes of your day:

  • Telephone calls
  • Poor management of e-mail. Is your inbox the size of a telephone directory? How often do you interrupt your work to read incoming messages?
  • The “one minute” disruption. Think how often you interrupt your work for only for 1 minute to answer a question or read an email. After each break you need about 5-6 minutes to revert back to your work.
  • Poor management of meetings. Consider the time you spend weekly on preparation, implementation and review of meetings.
  • Tasks you should assign to others. If you prefer to do everything on your own, you will never finish.
  • Avoid taking decisions. Is the “hard work” you have in mind a relatively easy job that was not completed the time it should have been completed?
  • Weakness in denial. You do not wish to upset others, or from the fear of possible consequences, you never say “no” when you are asked to do that extra task or activity that normally you shouldn’t.
  • A ‘messy’ office. Each paper over your desk distracts your attention 5 times a day. Think how much time you lose looking for something that is “buried” beneath the pile of papers.

Good management of time (Time Management) requires clear thinking and good planning. So manage your time, starting now:

1.Write in a piece of paper

It is extremely difficult to pinpoint the time lost every day in “minor things” (phones, e-mail, etc.). Record accurately for a few days your activities and the time you spend in them.

2.Concentrate on the important activities

According to the Pareto principle (80:20), 80% of the output resulting from the “critical” 20% of the effort. Give priority where appropriate.

3.Find your productive time

If you work 7 ½ hours a day, you have approximately 1,500 production hours per year. Discover the hours you are more productive to work the most difficult and painful issues.

4.Do not postpone things for later

Tackle each issue when it is needed. Do not leave it for another “better time”. When under the pressure of time you are likely to make mistakes and take faulty decisions.

5.Start a job and finish it without interruptions

If you leave many jobs pending, at the end you will need more time to find where they had left.

6.Delegate jobs to other people

Do not do everything on your own, simply because YOU CANNOT! Share responsibilities with others who can help you. Check periodically the progress of their work.

7.Schedule your communication

Set a few hours each day to deal with phone calls and e-mail. Set some time in the day to discuss and organize your routine matters.

8.Organise your office

Keep only the necessary papers, create a clever, simple and easy to use archiving system (envelopes, colours) and organize the largest volume of your work online. Try to avoid irritating paperwork.

9.Book an Appointment with … yourself

This is the most important tip from all. Find some time, maybe one hour per day and hide from people, phone, and email. Do what you would do if you had an important appointment in your office. It is particularly productive. Take it!

9 Ways to Manage Your Time at Work by

Alex Chris
About the author

Alex is editor-in-chief of manageyourlifenow.com. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. You can also contact Alex for any comments or suggestions about the web site.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jared Balis September 12, 2012

Hey Alex. Great tips! I’m working on organizing my office at the moment. It’s been a mess. I like your tip about scheduling your communication and booking an appointment with yourself. I’m going to try those. I’m just curious; What’s your format for your appointments with yourself?

Jared Balis

Reply

Alex Chris September 13, 2012

Jared Hi

Thank you for your comment.

What I usually like to do is close the phone, laptop, tablet or anything else that makes noise (i.e. TV) and sit by the window relaxing. Most of the times I also take a short power nap or if the weather permits I walk for 20-30 minutes. I found out that taking a break in the afternoon (an hour after launch) gives me more energy until the end of the day and I also sleep better at night. You have to try and find out what works best for you, based on your schedule and activities. I see other people going to the gym or for a drink but that does not work for me the same as taking a short nap or a quick walk.

Thanks
Alex.

Reply

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