How to create more time for yourself at work
The benefits of improving your time management in business cannot be overstated, particularly in a world of high demands on your time. Learning how to balance and temper other people’s requirements of your time with your own tasks is a fundamental business skill. Here’s 7 quick but highly useful strategies you can use to ensure you are more productive with your time.
1) Keep track of your time
When you can clearly define how you spend your time, you will be better able to keep a record of how you spend your time. Make a point to analyse how long it takes you to complete the items on your list.
There is a big difference between what is urgent vs what is important. Prioritizing daily tasks is key to successful time management. When you prioritize, you make sure you accomplish the most important tasks first.
Use the Urgent / Important Matrix as a guide on what to prioritise.
Quadrant 1: Do First
Quadrant 2: Decide When
Quadrant 3: Delegate It
Quadrant 4: Delete It
3) Make your to-do list at the end of each day
The best time to make a to-do list is at the end of each day because you are in the flow of work and you can easily pick up where you left off the next day, rather than trying to remember everything the next day. Try breaking large projects into small daily tasks to track the progress towards the final goal.
4) Learn to say “no”
Learning how to say “no” nicely is a powerful skill in business, as it is important to set boundaries for yourself. You simply will not be as effective in keeping control of your time if you don’t practice this skill. Know your goals, know your priorities and put a value on your own time. Say yes only when/if you know you have time for and it will not drain your productivity.
5) Sleep at least 7-8 hours
For many of us, sleep is often the first thing to be sacrificed during a busy or stressful time. However, sleep is necessary for the brain to perform optimally. Without adequate sleep, you are more prone to stress, making it more difficult to focus on important goals and tasks.
Your ability to manage time can directly affect your health, so be as strict with your time when it comes to sleep as you are during the day. Your body and mind will feel better because of it.
6) Find your “productivity zone”
Find the time of the day when you are most active. Some people are most active in the morning while some after lunch. During this time pick the important tasks and use all your energy to complete them. You will be in full momentum and save a lot of your time for other tasks.
7) Learn the 80-20 rule
The Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 rule, basically tells us that 80% of the results we get are achieved from 20% of our actions. When it comes to time management, this concept that suggests two out of ten items, on any general to-do list, will turn out to be worth more than the other eight items put together. Do these first. Before you begin work on a task, always ask yourself, “Is this task in the top 20 percent of my activities or in the bottom 80 percent?”