Do you miss deadlines?
Do you often forget meetings?
Are you staying unproductive the whole day? Or Do you keep on looking at the watch to see the clock tick 5?
Well, time passes slowly when you’re doing something you don’t like. However, when you have tonnes of responsibilities in your head, even 24 hours a day seems less.
A workplace can be a tiring and challenging place. You can do so many tasks in so little time. The only way you can manage your office tasks is by efficient time management techniques.
In 1998, I was married and had one daughter. I was a housewife back then and would do all the household chores. I used to plan many things, but would not fulfill them and think to myself that I do not have enough time.
Once, my friend and I were having a cup of coffee when I jokingly said, “ 24 hours are too little to accomplish all my tasks. There should be 36 hours in a day.”
She laughed and replied, “ It is not only you, the time is the same for everyone. The president of America or Prime-minister of India, all get the same 24 hours. It is on us how we make the most of those 24 hours. You first need to check where you waste your time the most.”
It was in 2004 when I went for a spiritual training course, one of the people from the group asked, how should she manage her time. She was a working woman and had to manage family, work, house, and other chores.
The coach there taught us a beautiful life lesson. He asked us to think that we have three rabbits and we need to catch them. Now, when you’ll try to catch the first one, the second rabbit will run away when you’ll try to catch the second one, the third one will escape, and you’ll be wasting the entire day. You will end up being tired and unsuccessful.
But, how can you fulfill this task? He suggested simple planning and management can help you catch all of them. He said if we could put some carrots in, all the rabbits will come to eat them, and you’ll get hold of three of them easily and quickly.
The moral of the lesson is that planning, wisdom, and execution can change your perspective about not having enough time. If you pre-plan things, you’ll execute your plan and get results quickly. However, if you start working without a plan, you’ll end up getting late or missing a deadline.
The lesson was indeed useful, but I didn’t know where to execute it. In 2007, when I lost my husband, I had to take charge of everything from family to business. From managing home, raising my daughters, and taking care of our business, I had to manage all single-handedly. At that moment, I realized these are the three rabbits that I need to catch, and it is my planning and determination that can help me do so.
Today, when clients ask me why they are unable to get the results of their efforts even after working for so long on a project, I don’t get surprised. There’s one common reason for all these complaints, and it is that most people today do not give their 100% to a task.
I believe that when we are 100% involved in one task, we perform it efficiently. When we try to jump our minds from one task to another, we end up getting tired without even achieving our goals. When you start giving your 100% to each task, you’ll take less than the required time to finish that task.
What are Time Management Skills?
Time management is the process of planning and executing control over your time. In simple words, it is the process of spending your time consciously by meditating each time slot to specific tasks. It is a simple act of working smarter and attaining more.
Time management is the way you juggle various activities of your day to increase efficiency and form a better work-life balance. Time management skills can improve your work at the office and enhance the performance of a worker. Moreover, it helps you achieve your desired goals with minimum effort and effective strategies.
What if you do not manage time at the workplace?
Time management is a very useful skill for every person. However, when it comes to the workplace, time management becomes even more critical. If you do not manage your time well at the office, someone else will overtake you. Today, the corporate world is very competitive. Only the person who can manage their tasks and time well on time can sustain and succeed.
You cannot afford to lag behind in today’s superfast work culture. If you fail to manage your time or you show poor time management skills at work, it can result in the following problems:
- You will miss deadlines and appointments. It can degrade your impression and work performance. No one likes an employee who is not responsible enough to submit work on time.
- You will lose focus and miss on details. As I said, it is crucial to be completely present at the moment, when accomplishing a task Distraction or procrastination can decline the quality of the work.
- If you do not manage your time efficiently, then your work will lack the required professional touch. It is better to give professionally best in all your tasks.
- Even if one person is inefficient in managing time, the entire workflow of the office is disrupted. In a workplace, most tasks are interdependent.
- We all know how stressful situations get when we leave our work at the last minute. Poor time management causes unwanted stress to a person as they reach deadlines or miss completing tasks.
- An employee’s reputation highly depends on his working style. An employee who hardly finishes tasks on time or even attends meetings on time will not be given bigger responsibilities.
- Moreover, workplace relationships often strain when an employee remains irresponsible about managing time. Your manager or supervisor will soon start getting angry at you.
- The worst part about poor time management is that it does not let you form a work-life balance. It is crucial to managing your professional and personal life equally. However, when you don’t complete your tasks on time, you have to work extra and overtime. It disrupts your personal life.
10 Tips for Time Management Techniques in Workplace
Time management can completely change your working style. Once you learn how to manage your time efficiently, you can ace your work and stand ahead of other employees. We have collected some tips for you to manage your time.
- Evaluate Your Schedule
As I said earlier, the first thing that you need to do is evaluate your current schedule. Most of the time, we create a new schedule before evaluating what we’re doing wrong currently. We then perform the same mistakes again unintentionally.
So, you first need to evaluate how you are currently spending your time. You need to find where your most time goes. You can track your daily activities for a week and note down your observations. It will give you a pattern of your time management behavior. You can also determine how much time you utilize efficiently and how much of your time is wasted in other activities. Through this method, you can also focus on the activities that provide the greatest returns.
This time audit will make it clear how much of your time is spent on conversations, unproductive activities, and phones. Also, you’ll understand how much time a specific type of task takes. This time audit will also determine when you are the most productive and when your creativity is at a low.
- Create a Daily Plan
It is the most crucial aspect of time management. If you’re a beginner, you should always start by writing a to-do list. It is the simplest and most satisfying way of managing the day efficiently.
You can use the ‘Eat the frog’ method for creating to-do lists. First, you need to complete the tasks that you feel are boring or will take the most time. Once you eat the frog or complete the hardest task then you can complete your other tasks.
At the workplace, before leaving your home, create a list of things you need to do during that day. If you do so, you’ll get going as soon as you reach the office. Also, you may put it on paper or create a digital task list. If you create the list at night, you can sleep peacefully without stress. You may also write it early in the morning if you don’t have time at night. When you’ll do so, you’ll see how much time it will save.
- Set Priorities
As I said earlier, time management is all about setting priorities. Even when you are preparing the to-do list, you should know how to prioritize your work. One ancient method is the ‘Eat the Frog’ method. You should first think of the tasks that you do not need to do on an urgent basis. We all always have three to four major tasks that are to complete first. Make them your priority and finish those tasks.
You can take help from a time management matrix. It has four quadrants:
- Important and urgent: These are the tasks with crucial deadlines and high urgency. You need to complete these tasks right away.
- Important but not urgent: These are crucial tasks but have no deadlines. It means you can spend time working on these tasks and ensure good quality work.
- Urgent but not important: As the name suggests, these tasks are urgent but not important. So, you can delegate, minimize, or eliminate them because they do not affect your overall output.
- Urgent and unimportant: You should eliminate these tasks from your to-do list immediately as they hold no value.
As you figure prioritization, your time management reaches a whole new level. You’ll be more focused on your time throughout the day.
- Group Similar Tasks
Grouping similar tasks together are the best way of saving your time. I have always followed this time management technique. It has helped me a lot in my personal and professional life. Grouping similar tasks also saves your physical and mental energy. For instance, I answer all my emails or phone calls while I commute. I do not respond to each mail as I receive them.
When I’m sure I have replied to people, I am not distracted by my phone time and again. Similarly, when you go to a department to ask some query, you can also complete some other tasks if you are there. When you create a to-do list, you’ll get an idea of how many times you need to go to a particular department.
- Avoid Multitasking Always
Many people think multitasking is the most effective way of time management. However, I believe multitasking is hyped and generally does not provide good results. Many people multitask to finish many tasks at once but end up not completing even a single task with efficiency.
With so many devices and gadgets around us, it is quite easy to get distracted. We must focus on one task and block all other distractions. While multitasking, you lose both productivity and accuracy. A lot of time is wasted in switching from one task to another. If you have a to-do list, then try completing it on time. However, you should stay stressed over completing it will only hurt your health.
All you have to do is take one task at a time and complete it efficiently.
- Assign Time Slots
One very effective way of accomplishing tasks on time or even before time is, assigning time limits to tasks. You can set time limits on tasks instead of just working and completing them. To-do lists are wonderful, but you might spend too much time on a task that requires only a few minutes.
At the workplace, it is critical to complete tasks within the given time limits or time frames. You can use the Pomodoro Technique. It helps by checking off the to-do list every 25-minutes to mark your progress. You can also take short breaks between each stint and a long break after completing four hours. You get a narrow focus through this time management technique and also get breaks to reduce mental strain.
- Give Scheduled Breaks
One of the very critical and often neglected aspects of time management is taking frequent breaks. In the urge to complete all our tasks on time, we forget or avoid taking breaks. However, avoiding breaks only reduces your quality of work.
At the workplace, with time, your energy declines, and you get less productive. If you take frequent short breaks, it will reduce mental strain and refresh your mind. Breaks should always be a part of your schedule. As you finish a task, give yourself some time to breathe. Mini-breaks help you recharge your body for the next task.
You can go for a short walk, meditate, breathe, or play your favorite game in the break to reduce stress. However, do not let your work breaks get too long that you lose track of time.
- Do as much as you can
One thing that I have observed in many people is the inability to say no. Many employees have the charisma to say yes to every task they are allocated. No one really likes taking extra workload. It is just their personality to please everyone that they are unable to say no to work.
However, It is very very wrong. If you have a to-do list prepared, you’ll hardly have time for new tasks to be adjusted. You will never learn to manage time at the workplace if you do not learn to say no. It is only you who knows how many tasks you have and what you’ve come so far. If you feel you have some other important task needing your attention, you should not be afraid to say no and let it go.
Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? It states that 80% of your output comes from 20% of your inputs. It is your efforts that make all the difference. Many times, we do not have the option to say no to a task. In such cases, you can delegate the work to someone free. Delegating tasks works wonders for personal time management.
- Get More Organized
Time management is not only about arranging tasks according to time. It is much more than that. Time management is about organizing your tasks and work. The first stage of organizing time is organizing your desk. You cannot work with concentration on a desk that has paper scattered all over it. If you need to find one paper out of them, it will become a daunting task. There is nothing worse than wasting time on tasks like finding a document or Pendrive. Also, a cluttered table is the biggest distraction. A cluttered table clutters your mind. It gets really hard to focus in such situations.
You should always keep your desk clear and clean. It will enhance focus, boost productivity, and keep you stress-free. You can create a simple filing system for all the documents. You may even unsubscribe to the emails you no longer need. These simple ideas of organizations do not consume much of your time but yield promising results.
- Remove All Distractions
When we talk about distractions, it is not only the clutter on your table. Social media, OTT platforms, messaging, e-mailing, and many more can be very distracting while working. At the workplace, web browsing, chatty co-workers, and text messages can be highly distracting.
One of the best tips for time management is being proactive about getting rid of these sources. For instance, you can close your room door when you’re working, as it will limit interruptions. When working on the laptop, you can close all the tabs that you are not working on currently. Similarly, you can turn off notifications and leave your personal phone calls on hold while you’re working.
Many people do not even realize how they are getting distracted. You might pick up your phone to look for something but end up spending 40 minutes on social media. You cannot transform in one day. You need to take small steps to eliminate distractions.
To start with, you need to identify your top two distractions. For the first two weeks, you should work on those distractions and conquer them. Also, eating, sleeping, and drinking enough water is very crucial.
Time management in the workplace is critical. A person who does not know the value of time will end up wasting all the time they have on this earth. As Charles Buxton quotes,
“You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.”
We hope our selected time management skills and techniques help you, and become the best employee of your company.