Six Tips for Maximizing Time Management

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Do you find yourself wishing that you had 27 hours a day to get stuff done? It’s a frustrating feeling, but it’s also one that you can change.

When you improve your time management skills, you’ll find that you’re far more productive at work, and you’ll probably find that the quality of your work is enhanced as well.

Read on to discover how you can get on top of your to-dos so that you feel more in control.

1. Take Care of Yourself

Regular exercise, a healthy diet and quality sleep are essential for the modern worker. Without these three items, it’s impossible for you to manage your time well. Why? Because you’re sleepy, groggy, irritable and unprepared to offer your best at work.

This means that you need to build self-care into your daily routine. Schedule sweat sessions like they are meetings. Try meal planning and bulk preparation of meals to ensure that you’re getting a well-balanced diet. Set a predictable sleep routine for yourself, and stick to it. When you focus on these factors, you’ll be ready to manage your time at work.

2. Figure Out How You’re Spending Your Time

Do you ever look at the clock at the office and wonder how it got to be 3:00? The workday is almost over, but you’re having a hard time remembering what you’ve done. You were in a meeting this morning, chatted with some colleagues around the water cooler, got distracted by some personal email on your phone and put in some time on that big project.

You can’t help but feel confused, unsettled, lost and unproductive. Tomorrow, resolve to do things differently. Pay close attention to everything you do in the office, noting when you start, when you finish and how long it takes you to complete a certain task.

This type of accounting helps you to identify where you’re losing time and helps you to understand how long you’re actually spending on certain tasks. Without this information, it’s impossible to improve your time management skills.

3. Make a To-Do List the Night Before

Before you leave the office each day, commit yourself to writing down at least the three or four most important tasks for the next day. Doing so may mean that you don’t find yourself tossing and turning when you suddenly recall an important assignment that you need to do tomorrow.

Making a to-do list the night before also enables you to hit the ground running the following morning. You’ll be organized, refreshed and ready to go.

4. Tackle the Tough Jobs First

You know that project that you’ve been dreading? Whether it’s a one-time assignment or a report that needs to be completed weekly, you know that it’s going to be complicated and time-consuming. The best thing that you can do with this project from a time-management standpoint is to tackle it first.

Getting it done will give you a sense of accomplishment and free up your day for other projects that may be nearly as important. Plus, most people have more energy in the morning than they do in the afternoon, making this the optimum time to tackle complex tasks.

5. Use Buffers Between Work Sessions

Instead of jumping from one completed task to the next one on your to-do list, give yourself a small buffer between the two tasks. Whether you go for a walk, stretch, meditate, get some water or talk to a colleague, this is an opportunity to rest and recharge before you dive back in.

6. Eliminate Half-Work

You’re going full-steam-ahead on a project, and then a stray thought creeps in. Did you forget to pay that bill? Is Aunt Marge’s birthday this Wednesday or next?

Without conscious thought, you’re suddenly absorbed in your phone or checking your email. The minutes tick by, and you’re getting nothing done on that urgent project. Perhaps 15 minutes or half an hour go by before you dive back into work.

To avoid half-work, set a timer that designates a work session. While the timer runs, your focus is solely on the work task at hand. Everything else is reserved for the buffer time between work sessions.

If you need to, it may be wise to put your office phone and email on do not disturb during these work sessions so you don’t get distracted.

Poor time management prevents you from getting things done, but when you use these tips, you’ll find that you’re capable of greater productivity than you imagined.

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