10 Tips to Manage Your Time Better At Work

Are you constantly late to meetings? Do you spend hours at the office but never get anything done? Have you missed dinner at home every night this week? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to learn how to manage your time better. And we’ve got 10 tips to help you do so.

1. Take inventory of your time.

To learn how to manage your time better, you must understand your starting point. For the next few days, keep an inventory of how you spend your time. Be honest. When are you the most productive? When do you spend 30 minutes on Twitter? Software like RescueTime tracks your Internet usage automatically, while Toggl allows you to input offline data.

2. Buy a wall calendar for your office.

Yes, you have a calendar on your computer. But a wall calendar is impossible to hide with a new browser window, so important dates are always visible. Hang it somewhere you can see it (i.e. not behind you) and mark it clearly with dates you need to remember. Cross out each day with an X to visualize how close you are to upcoming deadlines.

3. Plan out your day at the end.

Before you go home each night, plan out what you need to do tomorrow. Don’t create a to-do list. Instead, select your two highest-priority tasks and plan how to complete them. Why just two? They’re doable even with the inevitable interruptions of a regular workday, and will help you feel productive when you complete your tasks.

4. Don’t check your email first thing in the morning.

Do you check your email when you sit down at your desk? This habit sucks you into completing other tasks and disrupts the plans you made last night. Spend the first hour of each workday on one of your highest-priority chores. This way, you’ll make some headway on it – and are far more likely to return to it later.

 5. Schedule a time to communicate with others.

It’s hard to focus when you’re constantly distracted by pinging emails, ringing phones and chatty colleagues. Dedicate 30 minutes to an hour of each workday to communicating with others. You’ll be surprised by how much more work you can get done.

6. Ditch the open-door policy.

If you have an office, don’t be afraid to shut your door and put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign when you need to. If not, earphones will deter any requests that aren’t time-sensitive, or you can politely ask coworkers to come back later. While you’re at it, don’t have an ‘open-door’ policy on Internet distractions either. Apps like Freedom or Self-Control will help block them out.

7. Make time for interruptions.

Interruptions are annoying, but often necessary. Something will demand your immediate attention. An emergency meeting will be called. So don’t bother trying to plan out every minute of your day. Instead, expect only 4-5 hours of real work, and devote the rest to new tasks that come up throughout the day.

8. Batch similar tasks together.

If you enter ‘the zone’ at work, extend it for as long as possible by batching similar tasks together. This streamlines your processes and makes everything easier, especially if you need specialized tools for different tasks.

9. Take care of your body.

Have you ever pulled an all-nighter? Remember how tired and awful you felt the next day? When you don’t sleep, eat properly, and exercise, your productivity suffers. Take care of your body, and yes, this means not skipping your lunch break. Your bosses will thank you in the long run.

10. Pay attention to your biorhythms.

Go back to your notes from Step 1. When were you the most and least productive? You might find that it’s related to when you have your meals – one study found that hungrier judges were less likely to grant parole. Or perhaps you are most productive 45 minutes after your morning coffee. Use this knowledge to your advantage. Schedule your most productive tasks for when you have the most energy, and relegate routine tasks to when you have your least.

Did you enjoy our first 10 tips on how to manage your time better at work? Don’t forget to check back on Thursday for even more helpful advice!

Photo Credit: o.tacke via Compfight cc

Written by Sasha Graffagna

Are you constantly late to meetings? Do you spend hours at the office but never get anything done? Have you missed dinner at home every night this week? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to learn how to manage your time better. And we’ve got 10 tips to help you do so.

1. Take inventory of your time.

To learn how to manage your time better, you must understand your starting point. For the next few days, keep an inventory of how you spend your time. Be honest. When are you the most productive? When do you spend 30 minutes on Twitter? Software like RescueTime tracks your Internet usage automatically, while Toggl allows you to input offline data.

2. Buy a wall calendar for your office.

Yes, you have a calendar on your computer. But a wall calendar is impossible to hide with a new browser window, so important dates are always visible. Hang it somewhere you can see it (i.e. not behind you) and mark it clearly with dates you need to remember. Cross out each day with an X to visualize how close you are to upcoming deadlines.

3. Plan out your day at the end.

Before you go home each night, plan out what you need to do tomorrow. Don’t create a to-do list. Instead, select your two highest-priority tasks and plan how to complete them. Why just two? They’re doable even with the inevitable interruptions of a regular workday, and will help you feel productive when you complete your tasks.

4. Don’t check your email first thing in the morning.

Do you check your email when you sit down at your desk? This habit sucks you into completing other tasks and disrupts the plans you made last night. Spend the first hour of each workday on one of your highest-priority chores. This way, you’ll make some headway on it – and are far more likely to return to it later.

 5. Schedule a time to communicate with others.

It’s hard to focus when you’re constantly distracted by pinging emails, ringing phones and chatty colleagues. Dedicate 30 minutes to an hour of each workday to communicating with others. You’ll be surprised by how much more work you can get done.

6. Ditch the open-door policy.

If you have an office, don’t be afraid to shut your door and put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign when you need to. If not, earphones will deter any requests that aren’t time-sensitive, or you can politely ask coworkers to come back later. While you’re at it, don’t have an ‘open-door’ policy on Internet distractions either. Apps like Freedom or Self-Control will help block them out.

7. Make time for interruptions.

Interruptions are annoying, but often necessary. Something will demand your immediate attention. An emergency meeting will be called. So don’t bother trying to plan out every minute of your day. Instead, expect only 4-5 hours of real work, and devote the rest to new tasks that come up throughout the day.

8. Batch similar tasks together.

If you enter ‘the zone’ at work, extend it for as long as possible by batching similar tasks together. This streamlines your processes and makes everything easier, especially if you need specialized tools for different tasks.

9. Take care of your body.

Have you ever pulled an all-nighter? Remember how tired and awful you felt the next day? When you don’t sleep, eat properly, and exercise, your productivity suffers. Take care of your body, and yes, this means not skipping your lunch break. Your bosses will thank you in the long run.

10. Pay attention to your biorhythms.

Go back to your notes from Step 1. When were you the most and least productive? You might find that it’s related to when you have your meals – one study found that hungrier judges were less likely to grant parole. Or perhaps you are most productive 45 minutes after your morning coffee. Use this knowledge to your advantage. Schedule your most productive tasks for when you have the most energy, and relegate routine tasks to when you have your least.

Did you enjoy our first 10 tips on how to manage your time better at work? Don’t forget to check back on Thursday for even more helpful advice!

Photo Credit: o.tacke via Compfight cc

Written by Sasha Graffagna

  • Comments

Comments