“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, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” H. Jackson Brown Jr
Time management is the key to getting things done successfully in today’s multitasking environment. There are plenty of productivity tools that can help you in time and task management, but it is ultimately your attitude and discipline that can make all the difference between juggling tasks and having a balanced work – personal life. Here are some tips to help you make the best use of the resources around you.
Best Time Management Practices to Get Things Done
If you are having difficulties in managing your tasks on time, it is probably because you haven’t done your homework correctly. Before you begin a task, analyze and break it down into several smaller parts. Write down snippets of information about each smaller part (such as how big or small it is, how important it is, items needed to accomplish the tasks and so on) and then set out to organize tasks and prepare a time schedule for each one.
Target One Small Step at a Time
Don’t think of the job as a whole and how much time you have left to do it. That will simply overwhelm you and leave you anxious – obstacles that will stand in the way of achieving your targets. Rather just focus on the smaller part you intend to work on for the moment. When you complete it successfully, you will be in a more positive frame of mind to take on the rest.
Take the First Step with Determination
If you analyze why you have often failed in completing a job on time, it is often because you procrastinate in taking that first step. Set your mind to never get up from your desk until you have completed that first step. Once that’s t aken care of, you will be motivated to complete the rest. You can even give yourself a reward for completing that first step to keep your motivation high.
Take the Most Troublesome Task Head On
Often your reason for procrastination may be that you have a phobia or resentment towards some specific part of the task. For example, this may involve having to ask tough questions in an interview or give a difficult feedback to someone . Identify that part of the task which is making you anxious and causing you t o lose confidence and procrastinate. Then find ways to handle the situation best.
You could do some online research on best practices, read advice that has helped others in similar situations, take up some practice sessions and then tackle the task head on. Once you get over the most difficult job, you will be able to accomplish the other tasks with far more efficiency as the stress and anxiety is now out of your mind.
Start the Day with a Reminder of Risks/Rewards
Sometimes the best motivator for getting things done is rewards or risks. Before you begin the day, look at the task before you and ask yourself if achieving this on time or ahead of time will bring you a certain reward, if not now at least later. Think about the benefits of doing the task and look forward to it. Your job is just as good as half done.
On the other hand, you can also think of the negative consequences of not completing the task on time. Maybe a bad review or a negative report from your client or a confidence lost in your capabilities could spur you on.
Do the Most Important Tasks in Your Peak Time
If you are a morning person , one who likes get things done before the rest of the world wakes up and smells the coffee, prioritize your work to get the most crucial tasks of the day completed first. You’ll never know when you are distracted from your work with other nitty – gritties of the job and miss out on the real task at hand. On the other hand, if you’re a late starter, make sure you complete all the inane tasks while your brain is st ill half awake and then take on the most important task when you are in the groove.
Don’t Become the Donkey
If you’re good at your job, chances are your team leaders will dump more work on your head. Don’t be afraid to say NO when you cannot fit them into your calendar. Check out your schedule, see if you can complete any of your tasks for the day/week faster using smart productivity hacks and then, if you have sufficient time for the additional task go ahead and accept it.
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Also make sure you follow Step 1 and analyze the new task thoroughly before you take it on. You can set aside extra time for any obstacles th at may arise in the new task. If the new task starts to eat into your existing task time, the result will be mess that will leave you frustrated and missing out on all deadlines.
Eat and Sleep Well
Your work may be important but not as much as YOU are. At the end of the day, tune your mind off work, engage in a hobby, spend time with family, exercise or do what makes you happy and relaxed. Losing sleep over a difficult task will not solve your problem, but a refreshed mind and body will help you figure out a solution in the morning. Get your much needed sleep for 6 to 7 hours, eat well and tell yourself that tomorrow you will GET THE JOB DONE.
Turn Off the Noise When You Are Engaged in a Task
When you start to work on a task, turn off all the noise around you. Put your phone in Quiet Mode, close browsers you are not using and focus on the task. The Pomodoro technique works best as you can put all your efforts in completing the task within 25 minutes (any time of your choice is fine), and then you can take a break. If listening to songs helps you work better, you can plug in your earphones but otherwise it is best left to when you are doing mundane tasks.
Don’t Get Stuck in the Details
You don’t always have to do the task perfectly in the first effort. If something isn’t working out or is not to your satisfaction while you are doing it, don’t get stuck in the details. Go ahead and complete the rest of the task a nd you can come back later and refine it to your satisfaction.
Don’t Get Caught Up in Social
You can take a break from work to browse your social networks or play a game of snooker, but make it a habit to only spend a certain amount of time to unwind. Taking a short break between tasks help to refresh the mind and think clearly when you step into the next activity . Find a quiet, absolutely silent place to unwind for even just 5 minutes can do wonders to a hyperactive mind.
Complete Related Tasks Together
Sometimes it i s easier to do related tasks together. Instead of working on tasks individually losing time on each task, batch process similar tasks to save time and work efficiently. In Step 1, you should identify activities that can be clubbed together so that you assign times and schedules accordingly.
Find a Hack
If there is something that you do on a regular basis in your work, try and find a shortcut to simplify that task. It may be automation in the process or discovery of a tool that can save you a few hours . Set aside some time for that extra activity and make it a point to come up with at least 1 hack a month that will simplify your work. Sharing these hacks with other team members will also boost your self – confidence.
Never do things half – heartedly. It won’t just ruin what you are currently working on, the damage to your mind and confidence will spill over into aspects of your life as well. Take one step at a time and stay committed to the task. Be a thorough professional and make this a routine habit.
Above All Else, Enjoy Your Work
You can never stay committed to anything in life, if you don’t enjoy doing it. Don’t get caught up in all the outside drama of work. You are doing what you are doing because you love it, and don’t let anyone or anything take that away from you. If you push yours elf too much, you will burn out. Always find ways to keep your job exciting and interesting. Try something innovative in the workplace when you have spare time. Discover new ways of bringing out the best in your team mates, train some fresh talent and embrace change. And don ’ t forget to smile!