Time management has been a key focus area for human resources professionals, managers, employees and just ordinary folk for years. It’s part of a better way to allocate your available hours in a day to maximize productivity and generate increases in your life and work.
Managing one’s time helps people figure out where they spend the majority of their time, what tasks they are able to accomplish in that time, and the ability to see the time it takes to get work completed. Time management, above all, is that balanced area where work, effort and time all come into play. You read about successful leaders: they often say that their most productive time is in the morning. They rise early, exercise (in part to stay in shape, in part to kick in the endorphins that fuel your brainpower) and complete a number of tasks and planning by the time many others are just rising from a slumber.
Two key elements in good time management are dedication and commitment. You have to stick to a certain list of tasks, abilities and focus areas to create a working time management program. Having a strategy that works for you and having the strength to put that strategy into practice are essential elements of time management. Let’s look at five areas you can improve upon today to increase your time management skills:
Create a practical To-Do list
Want to have a productive day? Take 15 minutes the night before and focus on what you need to accomplish the next day. Enter it into a program or write it down in a notebook. Make your to-do lists practical. Avoid tasks like “Work on education overhaul with school principal” type of tasks that are clearly more than a day’s work. By using small tasks, you’ll knock down a fair number of to-dos and create momentum for more.
Use online tools
There are many online tools to help in time management. Our Sandglaz task plan is great for tracking meetings, breaks, projects, meals and more in a given day. Other online tools excel as well. Try using an online file storage service like Mozy to store all of your files online, eliminate paper clutter and gain the ability to access files from anywhere. You’ll be amazed at how much time you’ll gain using online tools.
Turn off distractions
Distractions abound everywhere, but the web is the chief time-wasting medium. From researching fantasy sports leagues to reading movie reviews to wandering around social networks and Craigslist personal ads, there are far too many available distractions at your beck and call. Do your best to avoid them. Stay focused on completing tasks on your to-do list.
Learn to say no
As busy people get busy, others may try to take advantage of their productivity efficiency. A busy person again has to keep focus and learn to say no if the request doesn’t fit into the overall strategy. Know what you are able to do in the allotted time.
Morning, Midday or Evening?
Find the right time of day when you’re at peak efficiency. When you know that time, do as much as you can during that period. You’ll be amazed how much you accomplish when your brain is operating at top speed and your agenda items are getting clicked off. Know what part of the day works best for you, and hit that moment hard.