By: Together Abroad 25-03-2019
6 Steps to Effective Time Management
How many times have you heard someone say: “There aren't enough hours in the day?” It is easy to spiral further into a stressful state after taking on an unrealistic workload or not effectively managing your time. Workloads can become overwhelming and social lives suffer, yet this does not have to be the case. Practicality, communication, and positivity are essential in ensuring deadlines are met and stress levels are kept to a minimum. Here are six steps to go about effective time management:
The best starting point in time management is to create a list of jobs and goals. Rapidly scribbling everything down and then numbering them by priority is my usual method. It can be tempting to scratch off the small items first, but this could be leaving the worst till last. There can be multiple factors in prioritisation, be that the deadline, duration, or seniority of the member of staff that delegated the task. Consider these and regularly refer back to the list.
2. Be realistic
You are only human. Do not set goals that cannot be achieved within the allotted time frame – it will only amplify your stress levels when you fail. The ‘quality not quantity’ maxim is applicable here; rather than skimming through a list, plough through it.
Efficient teamwork is only possible with communication. Coordinating workloads is an effective way of managing not just your own but everyone's time and therefore utilising the benefits of teamwork. Meetings can be organised to assign roles or actions to every member and establish a clear deadline.
Do not be afraid to ask for help and, simultaneously, be open to assisting others. I work in Administration where we frequently communicate our workload to our team. When it is a quiet period, we blatantly ask to help with any work. This means that the weight of work is distributed more evenly, and we can all manage our time more efficiently.
Remember that you can say no. My work ethic is to help everyone as much as I possibly can, as I like to maintain a reputation of reliability. This links back to being realistic, that not everyone can be pleased all the time. There are polite ways of saying no, of course, such as suggesting a different and more realistic deadline when possible. This is also a good way of establishing the importance and severity of the task as if it is a tight deadline. Your priority list may require some shuffling.
If you are in a position to delegate, assess employees’ strengths and abilities and assign appropriate tasks accordingly. Delegating is a useful skill that requires an element of trust and perception to work efficiently.
5. Create a positive environment
When does your productivity thrive? It may be as soon as you open your eyes or deep into the night, alone or accompanied, in a calm or serious environment. Psychology Today suggests that to combat common pitfalls like procrastination and poor self-control, we should create our own personal optimal surroundings. This makes finding motivation considerably simpler. It is important not to create a structure that is too rigid, or you risk finding excuses not to work. I enjoy typing away on a noisy keyboard at a tidy desk but have had to grow accustomed to mobile working on my phone.
6. Stay organised
It is one thing to establish priorities and another to maintain a slick method of organisation. Setting email or phone reminders can be constructive as it removes the dependence on merely your memory to complete jobs. Filing can be tiresome, but it is satisfying when everything has a place. Scraping a last-minute bid or presentation together requires quick access to all kinds of documents, aided by maintaining an efficient digital filing system.
Productivity with good time management in the workplace is a necessity for everyone; we are expected to complete our tasks efficiently and on time. It is paramount to stay organised in a way that works for you, such as making lists or setting reminders. This then needs to be communicated with your boss and team, so progress and team roles can be tracked and altered if necessary. At the same time, only so much can be achieved, but maintaining a robust and effective structure of organisation can certainly alleviate stress levels and keep you on your time management track.
Need help improving your time management skills? Our career coaches are available!
Written by Harriet Cox for Together Abroad