Every one of us at some point has experienced the woes of time management at work, on projects, etc. You start the day with the drive to cross off all the “to-dos” on your list – while hoping to hit the gym as well as prepare a well-made homemade meal.

However, life sometimes happens and you may miss a deadline or delay your turnover on a project. A report by Starling Bank (2020) shows that 1-9 employees spend 15 hours a week on administrative duties. It goes further to show that for solopreneurs, 31% of their time is spent sorting finances weekly. If you lead a team or manage a department you would realize that these are just ad hoc activities out of the very important tasks that need to be done. This is why it is critical to managing your time.

We’ve put together 6 tips for time management to help you get started:

Understand how you are currently spending your time:

This is almost like tracking your spending budget, if your productivity is measured by output over a certain period then missed hours mean money out the window. So, it is very important to log your time daily by tracking activities that are taking up your time. This scrutiny would help you:

  • What is your feasible output daily?
  • Identify activities that suck up your time
  • You cannot do everything at once, focus on activities with the greatest returns.

This should help provide clarity and a clear sense of duration on how long certain tasks take you to complete. You can also see what time of the day you are the most productive.

Create a daily schedule – and stick with it:

This is critical for learning time management. It is important to at the start of each day have a clear “to-do” list, what are the most pressing tasks? Which is ad hoc? 

You can leverage tools like Notion, Google calendar, TickTick, etc to help you block your time. If you cannot do this the day before, it is advisable to do so early the next day. 

Pro-tip: Give it your undivided attention, and close off all distractions you might want to put your mobile phone on “Do Not Disturb”.

Avoid the impulse to “do everything at once”:

This can cut off efficiency and be dangerous to your output plan. This is easily the most overlooked tip, however, it is really important and creates that balance you need.  It can be tempting to try and get multiple stuff done at once, but mental juggling slashes productivity. 

As you go through this article, try this: breath in, breathe out and take your to-do one task at a time.

Sort out similar tasks:

Rather than spend time trying to accomplish them separately, batch-process them and complete them in one process. For example, create a chunk of time to respond to customers’ calls, queries, and follow-ups. So you can have it sorted.

Assign reasonable time limits to each task: 

It is important as you spread out to-dos daily that you also allocate reasonable time limits or timelines to each so you do not spend the entire day on just 1 task. This helps you stay in check.

Try the Pomodoro technique to help you check off your to-do while taking decent breaks and meeting deadlines. Timeboxing helps you set and cross off at your own pace.

Eliminate distractions: 

Block out all the external noise, from Twitter pop-up notifications on your mobile to your co-worker trying to indulge you in a side talk or Netflix’s buzz on a new movie’s arrival. You need to turn off personal calls till lunch.

Take deliberate steps to identify what your distractions are, and focus on suppressing them for a week or two.

Pro-tip: Eat healthily, get your beauty sleep, and drink enough water also helps you stay focused during work hours.

In conclusion, time management is more of a skill than hacks. You need to build the foundation of your time management skill to support any hacks or tips you apply. Take back your workday with these best practices and boost your productivity.

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