Time is of the essence, especially for business leaders and managers. It can often feel like there are never enough hours in the week to cram everything in, which is where a good time management strategy is essential.
Time management is the process of planning, prioritisation, and managing our attention and how long we spend on activities. Effective time management enables you to work smart, complete more in less time, and reduce stress, all of which lead to greater career success.
Follow our seven tips for effective time management to become more productive in your role.
1. Plan ahead
It’s like the old saying ‘Fail to plan, plan to fail’. It may seem obvious, but devising a daily or weekly plan is the key to success in business. Whether you write down a list of tasks to be completed or schedule everything in your diary or calendar, look at everything you need to achieve within that day, week, or month. Also, look at what you need to complete and what tasks you need to delegate or outsource.
2. Prioritise your workload
Look at your list of tasks to be completed and prioritise them. When looking at your tasks, you will find that they fall into 1 of 4 categories: (1) Urgent and Important, (2) Important but Not Urgent, (3) Urgent but Not Important or (4) Not Important or Urgent. You may find that you are working mainly on those tasks in the first box, and these tasks will demand your immediate attention. However, over time aim to reduce the tasks in this box and work in the second box where you are working on tasks in good time, so they are not yet urgent. Different tasks may have to be carried out to complete one more extensive project, and therefore, you should also prioritise these.
3. Keep to deadlines
Be realistic about how long a task should take, schedule that time, and stick to it. If you are doing something for the first time, overestimate how long it will take rather than risk underestimating and leaving yourself short on time. It is better to give yourself more time than you need, finish early and have time to take a short break or start something else. If you go over the time allocated, look at why this happened. Were you a little overambitious when considering how long it would take, and as a result, you gave yourself an insufficient amount of time to complete it? Alternatively, should it have been completed in that time, but you were procrastinating or allowed distractions such as phone calls and emails to get in the way? Either way, what can you put in place to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future?
4. Schedule deadlines and appointments
Make sure that you are noting down all deadlines and appointments. If you are working too much and neglecting yourself, your family or your friends, why not schedule some time to do something for yourself or spend time with friends and family?
Also, use email or mobile phone reminders to ensure you keep to your schedule. Missing a deadline can set back every project and task you have in your plan. If appointments or client deadlines are missed, it could have a detrimental effect on your business and the excellent reputation you have taken so long to build.
5. Productivity levels
Make sure that you are noting down all deadlines and appointments. If you find that you are working too much and neglecting yourself, your family or friends, why not schedule some time to do something for yourself or spend time with friends and family?
Also, use email or mobile phone reminders to ensure you keep to your schedule. Missing a deadline can set back every project and task you have in your plan. If appointments or client deadlines are missed, it could have a detrimental effect on your business and the good reputation you have taken so long to build.
6. Keep time free
Keeping some time free in your schedule where you will not be working on anything can allow for unexpected circumstances. You may have to take an unexpected phone call, speak to an employee, or you may even be given another task to complete at short notice. You should be ready for anything; having some free time will allow you to deal with unplanned events.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you are struggling and feel that you need a bit more support than the six tips above provided, seek support from a Mentor or Coach. As they are objective, they can help you identify areas you are unable to see yourself. They can also provide that much-needed accountability partner to keep you on track until you get into the swing of a new way of working and great those much-needed good habits.
If you would like to discuss how Delphinium can provide you with time management coaching skills, contact us to arrange your free initial consultation.
Author: Gemma Rolstone | Published 18th January 2021