How to manage your time effectively

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Working within such a bustling and lively office environment, I can understand why colleagues may get distracted – email notifications hitting an all time high, phones constantly ringing and paperwork creeping on to your desk in small stacks makes it tricky to remain productive. When you have a lot of tasks on your plate, it can be easy to procrastinate and flicker between jobs half-heartedly, however this is not the most efficient use of your time, and it is imperative to eliminate poor time management to really make the most of your working day.

1)      Get rid of future opportunities

You may think you’ll get more work done later on in the day, for example during the evening or over a weekend; however this mentality will only make you procrastinate more during the day. Leaving work for after hours could also make you feel more tired and resentful that you’ve lost your down time, so a better idea is to utilise your working day better.

One way to do this is to find specific times during your day when you can complete commitments. So, take a look at the projects you need to work through and break each one down into separate tasks. Estimate how long each task will take you and then assign certain spots over the working day to deal with that aspect of your project. This will ensure that you can’t delay tasks, as each one will be allotted its own time frame.

Related to this, it is also an idea to eliminate free time after work, even if you just pencil in the gym. If your spare time is full of personal commitments, then this will stop you delaying work for after hours. Also, if you determine what you want to do outside of the office, this will motivate you to make the best use of your time in the office, as you don’t have additional time to play with.

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2)      Think when and where

By setting when and where you will do something, you increase your likelihood of doing it, and this also applies to your workload. A to-do list is a great collection tool to give an overview of what needs working on, but take this to a more productive level by transferring it on to your calendar. Showcasing a finite number of hours each day, you will be able to plot daily accomplishments.  Using your to-do list as a guide, schedule each to-do into a vacant time slot on your calendar, placing the hardest and most important tasks at the beginning of the day – before you check your email if possible. This evaluating process will also help you prioritise your work, and think carefully about upcoming deadlines. Once you have moved a to-do from the list to your calendar, then you can cross it off as it has been pencilled in.

3)      Get a routine

Some people might have a slower paced morning, thinking they will make up for it by working really hard later on in the week. This is a dangerous mentality that can hamper your productivity. Tackle it by reducing the variability in your schedule, so try working the same amount each day, with little change in which tasks you do when. This will help you escape the mindset that you can delay important work, and ensures that you use the present moment wisely.

Procrastination pitfalls:

  • Learn to say ‘no’ to meetings occasionally if it is not vital for you to be there. This will allow you to knuckle down on tasks that need completing
  • Don’t save large tasks to do all in one day – it is very rare you will have a chunk of time that big. Instead, make dents when you can in small windows of available time and the project will be finished before you realise it
  • Don’t put off tasks to the end of the day, as we will often be more tired than we think we will
  • Don’t overwhelm yourself by taking on too much work. If you need to re-allocate some tasks or adjust some deadlines, then speak to your manager

[testimonial name=”Julie Smith” who=”Director of Account Management” imagelinks=”” vertical=”no”]”With over 15 years experience in the medical recruitment industry, I am an empowering and ambitious hands on Director, heading up the Client Account Managers at Total Assist Group. I have a high focus on quality customer service and delivering results.”[/testimonial]