Time Management is one of those skills that you don’t learn in school or university, yet it is one of the most important skills that you must master in order to be successful in today’s competitive workplace. It doesn’t matter how many years of experience you have or how skilled you are; your inability to manage your time well enough to get your work done will definitely cause numerous difficulties and complications to both your professional and social lives and can also lead to increased stress, anxiety, frustration and other negative feelings. Nowadays, careers are made or broken on your ability to handle multiple tasks and manage your time, and no matter what type of work you do, you can definitely have a hand in making your workday more satisfying with Akhtaboot’s following time management techniques.
Remember that those techniques should do more than just help you achieve your career goals, they should help you make more time for what you really want to do, not just what you have to do.
Prioritize Tasks with Pareto’s “20/80 Principle”
Effective time managers are aware of the fact that they cannot do everything that has to be done at once. They prioritize tasks by consciously choosing to spend their time on what is most important to them. The key to effective time management is to apply the “80/20 Principle” which states that 80% of your results are produced from 20% of your efforts. This rule will help you discover the percent of your tasks that you need to focus on so as to achieve the greatest returns on your efforts with the limited amount of time that you have.
Manage Time Allocation with Parkinson’s Law
Parkinson Law states that “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. It means that the time you need to complete a certain task depends on the time you originally give yourself to get it done with. If you give yourself a tight timeline to do something, you won’t start because you implicitly know that the time frame is unrealistic. If you allocate too much time to complete the task, you won’t start either, because you secretly know that you still have a lot of time on your hands. To break this loop, you have schedule how long you would like to work on certain projects or tasks and then track your progress. This method will help increase your productivity and reduce time wasting.
Identify your Biggest Time Wasters
In order for your time management process to be effective, it is really important that you identify the biggest time wasters at your job. Time wasters usually fall under two main categories: self-generated and external time wasters. Self-generated time wasters are things that we cause ourselves and that we have total control over, such as disorganization, the inability to say No and procrastination. As for external time wasters, interruptions to your work are inevitable; from the ringing telephone, to clients passing by unannounced, to meetings that go on too long with no fruitful conclusion. Making a list of the major time wasters and arranging them in order of their impact will help you save some of your daily working hours and maximize your productivity.
Get it Right the First Time with Total Quality Management
TQM is a process whereby the need to get everything right the first time and to continually improve your production is required. Total Quality Management is not about doing more, it’s about improving the quality of the important tasks at hand. This might take a little more time in the beginning but will definitely reduce rework required to fix mistakes and will save a lot of time on the long run. Contrary to poplar belief, time management is not about doing more things in less time, but it’s about doing the right things better. Keep in mind that the more you bite off, the longer you have to chew.
Taking Control of Technology
The internet is definitely one of the top addictive time wasters in today’s corporate world; it can actually consume a whole working day before you even notice. Your email, for example, has grown into a serious time drainer with your inbox getting out of control throughout the day. But just because someone can contact you instantly, it does not mean that you have to reply immediately. Unless your job demands that, do not respond to your emails immediately, instead, assign a few times a day to check it and respond and don’t look at it otherwise.
Everyone who works wishes there were more hours in the day so that they could do their job right. While time management is a not a new term, most people are really bad at making the most of their time at work. In the quest for success, however, wasting days, hours or even minutes is bad for your career, so why not cut to the chase and get rid of the factors and behaviors that are, in fact, wasting your time.
Whether you feel overwhelmed by your workload or you just want to find an extra few minutes in the day, one fact will always remain the same: we all have the same 24 hours and you really can’t manage that time, but you can manage yourself better. If you don’t, time will do a pretty good job of managing you!