DO you want to boost your productivity level by managing your time better? If the answer is yes, time management is the panacea. Managing time at work is a challenge for everyone. If you are not managing your time well, there is no way you are going to reach your goals at work and the life outside of work. It should be a top priority for human resources professionals and employers to work towards inculcating basic time management skills in the minds of employees to properly use most of the time available for the benefit of the company.
Time management is not only important for employees, but for business owners too, so proper management of time should be done. Effective time management is a competitive advantage for any organisation. The first thing you have to understand about time management is that, there is always only 24 hours in a day and from the 24 hours, eight hours are working hours. From the eight working hours if we remove two hours for break and lunch we will be left with six hours only. Time does not change, but how we manage the six hours will determine the success or failure of an organisation.
Good time management is one unique skill not all employees and leaders at the top have. In fact, the truth is that for employees who manage time well, their productivity increases to successfully accomplish all tasks for the day. We all go to work with good intentions, but some end up loosing focus in the way they manage their time at workplaces. Time management is easy to think of, yet it is also hard to practise. But if done right, this will be greatly rewarding. Here are some strategies that can greatly help in time management at your workplaces and individually:
Prioritise your task against time
It only takes about 10 or 12 minutes for you to prioritise tasks by planning out your day and creating a to-do list. Rank all tasks according to importance or urgency to plan your day and focus what you have planned. If you need to finish a certain task at a certain time you also need to set a deadline, but considering the practicality and workability of the tasks.
In actual sense when you say necessity and deadline, you need to find out the most crucial task that you need to finish immediately and work on those. Necessity refers to tasks that have greater importance in the company such as reports, meetings etc. Deadline means tasks that need to be finished at an earlier time even though they are far less important than the rest. Prioritising your tasks is an essential component of every job. However, how you manage your growing workload when every issue seems like a top priority matters most. Once you have your to-do list for the day, you will find that you are more productive, effective and at ease when you start working.
Get ahead of time and avoid procrastination
From the daily to-do list that you have prepared, do not wait and work according to your wish while you have a daily plan. This could be calling for disaster at work, which can result soon with unattended commitments as well as impending work backlog. Employees must throw out the habit of procrastination before they get themselves thrown out by the company. Managing your workload requires you to set a schedule and get your work done ahead of time. It is not encouraged to wait for the last minute before you start working on things as the results will be only but backlog. The earlier you start on your tasks, the earlier you finish, and the better the quality of your output and time for you to rest as well.
Set the calling and email time at work
Mostly, it is normal for e-mails to pop up almost every minute or so, but that does not mean you are supposed to read all the e-mails as they come. Proper etiquette is to make sure that you keep the concentration to do the important tasks first. Try by all means not to open e-mails as they come, but to have a proper time for you to view and respond to the e-mails.
Same as in calling, you do not have to call all the time, but you in your to-do list you should have time for calling as well as responding to e-mails. More so, you should also have calling time because you might ultimately end up wasting your precious time discussing unimportant matters over lengthy conversations on call during work hours.
Set time discipline times to respond to e-mails and receive calls in the morning, during lunch breaks and in the afternoon. By setting a time you are disciplining yourself to manage time properly. Good time management results in a good work performance, productivity and achievement at work. However, bad or poor time management could easily result in productivity stress, poor performance and disengagement.
Identify distractions, especially social media distractions and try to minimise them. Internet, social media such as WhatsApp, Facebook etc are filled with information, knowledge and entertainment. But all the information, knowledge and data are not important to you, especially during working hours. Use of the Internet without purpose and goals can lead to loafing at work which is also an issue. Be conscious of the time you spend on these, and do not let the time you spend on social media encroach on your work time.
Rest during lunch and break hours
Workday breaks are breaks organised during the working day by pausing the work for the purpose of resting, eating or other needs. It does better to take a break before your body is completely exhausted. Employees must have time to disconnect from work, If you turn your mind off of your job, it will help you rejuvenate and you’ll be able to focus better when you get back to your desk.
Delegate other tasks
Every employee has those daily key tasks their job entails; simply make these tasks a routine and you will realise how fast it takes to accomplish them. Knowing how to delegate properly is the greatest time saver. Sometimes, it is not just about how you can finish all the work alone, but knowing how to manage your people and getting them to work with you to finish all the tasks at hand. By delegating, you will be able to focus on the more important tasks on your list.
Close your day
No matter what time you leave the office, set aside the last 30 minutes, or even 15 minutes before you go home to appraise and evaluate your performance for the day. It is important that you review your achievement and shortcomings for the day, this would let you know how well you have done and the areas you need to improve and which task you have to carry over to the next day. This is not only going to help you with time management, it also makes you an outstandingly organised employee.
Time management is one of the factors that an employee has to successfully deal with. Good time management results in a good working performance, productivity and achievement at work. However, bad or poor time management could easily result in productivity burnouts, poor performance and disengagement.
It is how we spend our time here and now, that really matters to the success of individuals and organisations at large
Emmanuel Zvada is a human capital consultant/international recruitment expert and author. He writes in his personal capacity.