Effective Time Management Tips to Work Less and Play More!

Time management is something that very few in this world seem to have conquered. If not so, life hack coaches would not be so popular. There are a certain number of hours in a day and the really organized ones have aced the art of turning them into good effect. The rest of us spend time looking for productivity hacks, how not to procrastinate, how to manage time—- we all know the drill!

Time Management Tips for Professionals!

effective time management tips

Time is money.

While productivity hacks and to-do-lists are helpful. Here are some time management tips to help you find your nirvana in doing work right, in time, and without stress.

Limit your intake

To start with, put only that much on your plate that you need to eat, do not overfeed yourself. Be vigilant of what makes to your work plate.

Plan your day trip or your yearly trip

Have a roadmap for the day. And if you are taking life decisions, then have a roadmap of where you want to be in a year’s time. It is the same as planning a road trip. If you are going on a day trip, then you will have chalked out what time you will leave, where you will make a stop and what time you will return. Your day’s productivity needs to be mapped out similarly.

Having a broad-based task time-line set out is a good start to the day. Take time to define set outcomes with interim milestones, so you know where you’re going.

Prioritize your tasks

If you are meeting a deadline, then set a time limit and priorities. If in day you have set yourself tasks that include a grocery run, helping your child with his homework, submitting a 1500-word article, then what would be the first thing you should tackle?

Set the article in the first half of the day to finish, at least the first draft. Set aside the afternoon for helping with the homework. Do the grocery run early evening (you will miss the crowds around 4 to 5 p.m.). Submit the edited version of your draft by late evening. That is a day well spent.

The above scenario is about prioritizing. Early mornings are good to tackle the most important task–drafting as you tackle the deadline. In the afternoon, you are able to give your whole attention to your child.

In an office setting, you can prioritize the important work in the first schedule, keep the afternoon schedule for interactions, catching-up team tasks and project progress etc. Evenings can be set aside for networking, or clearing up and taking stock.

Do not overschedule

Do not take up more than you can chew. Be clear about what can be done and not done in the day. Effective leaders reprioritize. If an urgent request comes in for the day, then learn to shift and reallocate your time. 

Productive people know how to delegate work. They are not out there to prove that they can perform, their priority is to get a task done, and done well. If it requires outside help or passing on to someone else, then they do it.

Restrict smartphone time

If you were not aware, then let me share with you a scientific titbit—smartphones are addictive. So please dig deep and find the determination and resolution to restrict its usage. See it as a tool to be used and not something that uses you. 

According to an Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange survey, an average person spends nearly four hours on his or her smartphone.

Multi-tasking is a myth

Focus on the task at hand rather than dealing with three tasks at once. Do not talk on the phone and continue writing/ editing, checking the numbers, drafting a legal document. It does not work, you think you are multi-tasking, but you are just plain wasting time. Once you have finished talking, you always need to start redoing your work from the beginning.

These are some practical suggestions. Of course, there are many tools and tricks and apps out there that can be set to alert you of time spent or wasted. But what works is the willingness to work hard at keeping time and sticking to the set routine for the day. 

Rest comes easy. It is always the first step toward that hard climb that takes you to the top. 

Jane Harper
Writer. Human resources expert and consultant. Follow @thehrdigest on Twitter

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