For professional workers, time management is an essential skill. In addition to helping produce higher-quality work, good time management also allows workers to be more efficient and productive.
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Regardless of job function or department, these five time management tips can help streamline and improve daily operations:
1. Plan ahead to arrive on time
Nothing throws off a daily schedule more than arriving late. With this in mind, it’s essential for workers to arrive on time to everything. This includes the beginning of the workday, meetings, and scheduled events. By arriving on time, employees can plan the rest of the day out as methodically and realistically as possible.
Workers also should take into account anything that could derail a plan to arrive on time, such as traffic, road construction, and ride-sharing wait times.
2. Prioritize efficiently
Prioritisation is one of the most critical aspects of time management and workers who learn to prioritize will have a distinct advantage over their more disorganized colleagues. Try this trick for best results: when confronted with a list of to-dos, define the top two or three most important tasks and focus on them first. Once they’re completed, determine the next two or three priorities and continue the process.
Alternately, look at the to-do list and ask, “Which of these things if done, will make everything else easier or irrelevant?”
By learning to prioritize your day this efficiently, workers can also learn to manage their time better.
3. Eliminate distractions
One of the most detrimental things in the world of time management is distraction. Today, workers live in a world of interruptions. Between buzzing cell phones, push notifications, ringing landlines, and inquisitive office mates, it can be tough to get anything done. Good time management demands that workers learn to eliminate these distractions and focus all available attention on the task at hand.
With this in mind, workers should take the following steps when sitting down to complete a task:
· Set cell phones on airplane mode
· Turn off push notifications on the computer and place messaging programs into “do not disturb” mode
· Shut the office door
· Silence office phone ringers
· Use an app to temporarily block social media on your desktop computer
4. Batch-check email and messages
According to the Huffington Post, U.S. workers spend a whopping 6.3 hours checking their emails on a daily basis!
With this in mind, batch-checking is an excellent productivity and time-management tip for professional workers. To batch-check your email, define two times each day that you will look at your email (say 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.) and then dedicate no more than 30 minutes to it each time.
When the period is over, close the email and don’t look at it again until the next scheduled batch. This does several things. On the one hand, it allows you to focus more fully on other things, instead of being continually bombarded and interrupted by your email. On the other hand, it allows you to focus entirely on your emails when you do check them, rather than breezing through them half-heartedly.
5. Allow some buffer time between tasks
Part of using time well means scheduling downtime, and this is critical in the workplace. Once you’ve completed a task, give yourself five minutes to step outside the office, grab a snack, or take a short walk. These “buffer” moments will help you focus and improve your time management overall.
Time Management: An Essential Tool
When workers learn to manage their time efficiently, they can be more productive, happier, and more efficient both in the office and outside of it.