10 More Tips to Manage Your Time Better At Work

On Tuesday, we gave you 10 Tips to Manage Your Time Better At Work. But you can always use time management advice – so here’s 10 more tips to help you out.

1. Organize your desk.

Can’t find that memo you need to give your boss at 3PM? It might be time to organize your desk. Clear the surfaces of visual clutter, and create a filing system that makes sense to you. Add a decorative touch like a plant for creativity or photos for happiness. Don’t forget to add an inbox! Instead of coming back from a meeting with notes from colleagues invading your space, they can put it in your inbox  – so you can deal with it at your own pace.

2. Add buffer times.

Don’t jump from task to task without a break. A 5-minute buffer between tasks helps you finish your first task and get started on the next one. It also gives your brain a break from intense bursts of focus so you don’t burn out at 5PM.

3. Set your own deadlines.

The day a major paper was due in college, most of your classmates trudged into class bleary-eyed from pulling all-nighters. Only a few looked well-rested and confident. How did they do it? By setting their own deadlines, a technique that remains useful in the professional world. When you have a long-term project due, give yourself deadlines for each section of the project. Set your complete-by date 3 days before the real deadline so you have time to perfect any potential snags. Remember, we are always more focused and productive when we have less time.

4. Break it down.

Another reason your well-rested classmate had it easy was because he/she broke down a seemingly impossible task into manageable chunks. Separate your major tasks into sections, and set a time limit for each one. This helps create a plan for completing your projects and prevents you from obsessing over insignificant details. As a bonus, you’ll know exactly what parts of the project you’ve completed when your boss asks for a progress report.

5. Learn to say no.

When you’re gunning for a promotion, it’s hard to say ‘no’ to a project. But say ‘no’ to tasks if they’ll overwhelm you and detract from your main responsibilities. If you have the opportunity to refuse a project, consider if you truly care about it, if you have time for it, and if it will advance your career. Don’t take it if you can’t commit.

6. Write down distracting thoughts.

Even when you shut the door and block your favorite websites, unwanted thoughts still run through your head. I need to pick up a prescription. I wonder what’s on TV tonight. When they do, don’t ignore them. They will bubble up in your head and continue to annoy you. Instead, write them down so you can think about any necessary distractions later. You can also try meditating to clear your mind.

7. Consider working on the weekends.

No, it’s not an ideal situation. But if you are overwhelmed by work, experiment with spending a couple of hours on the weekends working – although we don’t recommend more than 2 hours a day. Who knows? Maybe after a few weeks, you’ll catch up and won’t need to put in any extra hours.

8. Stop having meetings.

Almost all meetings are a waste of time. Al Pittampalli, author of Read This Before Our Next Meeting, calls them “the default stalling tactic for important decisions.” Generally, meetings can be replaced with a simple phone call or email, leaving attendees free to complete more productive work. If you must hold a meeting, define its objective and invite only essential employees.

9. Write everything down.

Are you terrible at remembering what you need to do and when you need to do it by? Stop relying on your memory and start writing everything down in the same place. You won’t remember any reminders if you don’t know where they are. Try a reminder app on your smartphone, since it likely never leaves your side. Don’t like mixing work and pleasure? Get a small notebook for business-only reminders.

10. There is always time.

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr. 

Like everyone else, you have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. When you say “I don’t have time,” you are actually saying, “Something else is more important.” That’s fine, as long as you have your priorities in order. If you want to accomplish more, change how you manage your time by following our tips. But never attribute to your own unproductiveness to a perceived lack of time. There is always time.

Did we miss your favorite tips? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook, or Tweet us @SuperheroYou!

Photo Credit: Flotographic Arts via Compfight cc

Written by Sasha Graffagna

On Tuesday, we gave you 10 Tips to Manage Your Time Better At Work. But you can always use time management advice – so here’s 10 more tips to help you out.

1. Organize your desk.

Can’t find that memo you need to give your boss at 3PM? It might be time to organize your desk. Clear the surfaces of visual clutter, and create a filing system that makes sense to you. Add a decorative touch like a plant for creativity or photos for happiness. Don’t forget to add an inbox! Instead of coming back from a meeting with notes from colleagues invading your space, they can put it in your inbox  – so you can deal with it at your own pace.

2. Add buffer times.

Don’t jump from task to task without a break. A 5-minute buffer between tasks helps you finish your first task and get started on the next one. It also gives your brain a break from intense bursts of focus so you don’t burn out at 5PM.

3. Set your own deadlines.

The day a major paper was due in college, most of your classmates trudged into class bleary-eyed from pulling all-nighters. Only a few looked well-rested and confident. How did they do it? By setting their own deadlines, a technique that remains useful in the professional world. When you have a long-term project due, give yourself deadlines for each section of the project. Set your complete-by date 3 days before the real deadline so you have time to perfect any potential snags. Remember, we are always more focused and productive when we have less time.

4. Break it down.

Another reason your well-rested classmate had it easy was because he/she broke down a seemingly impossible task into manageable chunks. Separate your major tasks into sections, and set a time limit for each one. This helps create a plan for completing your projects and prevents you from obsessing over insignificant details. As a bonus, you’ll know exactly what parts of the project you’ve completed when your boss asks for a progress report.

5. Learn to say no.

When you’re gunning for a promotion, it’s hard to say ‘no’ to a project. But say ‘no’ to tasks if they’ll overwhelm you and detract from your main responsibilities. If you have the opportunity to refuse a project, consider if you truly care about it, if you have time for it, and if it will advance your career. Don’t take it if you can’t commit.

6. Write down distracting thoughts.

Even when you shut the door and block your favorite websites, unwanted thoughts still run through your head. I need to pick up a prescription. I wonder what’s on TV tonight. When they do, don’t ignore them. They will bubble up in your head and continue to annoy you. Instead, write them down so you can think about any necessary distractions later. You can also try meditating to clear your mind.

7. Consider working on the weekends.

No, it’s not an ideal situation. But if you are overwhelmed by work, experiment with spending a couple of hours on the weekends working – although we don’t recommend more than 2 hours a day. Who knows? Maybe after a few weeks, you’ll catch up and won’t need to put in any extra hours.

8. Stop having meetings.

Almost all meetings are a waste of time. Al Pittampalli, author of Read This Before Our Next Meeting, calls them “the default stalling tactic for important decisions.” Generally, meetings can be replaced with a simple phone call or email, leaving attendees free to complete more productive work. If you must hold a meeting, define its objective and invite only essential employees.

9. Write everything down.

Are you terrible at remembering what you need to do and when you need to do it by? Stop relying on your memory and start writing everything down in the same place. You won’t remember any reminders if you don’t know where they are. Try a reminder app on your smartphone, since it likely never leaves your side. Don’t like mixing work and pleasure? Get a small notebook for business-only reminders.

10. There is always time.

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr. 

Like everyone else, you have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. When you say “I don’t have time,” you are actually saying, “Something else is more important.” That’s fine, as long as you have your priorities in order. If you want to accomplish more, change how you manage your time by following our tips. But never attribute to your own unproductiveness to a perceived lack of time. There is always time.

Did we miss your favorite tips? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook, or Tweet us @SuperheroYou!

Photo Credit: Flotographic Arts via Compfight cc

Written by Sasha Graffagna

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