Time management is a fine art, and it is absolutely necessary to unlocking productivity and achieving your work goals. Here, we delve into proven strategies and practical tips to help you manage your time, prioritize effectively, optimize your schedule, and take back control so that you always feel prepared at work.
1. Make a list—and keep managing it
Yes, a list is essential to manage your time and keep ahead. Make sure both tasks and deadlines go into your list—most people only manage one!
We recommend using digital over physical lists because you can prioritise and reorder your list as you go. You can also hyperlink and copy/paste information to individual tasks, keeping all your information in one place.
Managing a daily list of work responsibilities can feel like you’re “procrastiworking”. Avoid falling into this trap by keeping your list free from bells and whistles like stickers, colour codes and other approaches that do more to support the aesthetics of your list than its function.
2. Work backwards from the deadline
If you have several longer projects with many dependencies, include each deadline on a spreadsheet—monthly planners are great for these purposes, or you can find several done-for-you online planners that can help you. Once you have noted these deadlines, work backwards: Break the bigger projects into smaller tasks, think about how much time you will need to complete each individual task, and then enter mini-milestones into your calendar. This way, you will always feel that you’re moving forward.
3. Reward yourself when you manage your time
Which reminds us: When you complete those milestones, treat yourself along the way. Celebrating when you have made progress is important because this will motivate you to finish the project.
4. Block off focus time
Apps can be so distracting. There will always be one time of day when it’s a little quieter—where you might get fewer phone calls, drop-ins and emails. We suggest setting aside this time to go one step further—to manage your time effectively, switch everything off, and block this time on your calendar so that it can’t be used for a meeting. This is a great moment to get ahead with the work where you really need to focus.
5. Sometimes it’s best to step away from the desk!
In high-pressure jobs, when you’re working to a tight deadline, it can be tempting to stay bolted to your desk. But sitting in front of the computer screen for hours on end doesn’t mean you are being productive. In fact, the opposite can be true: “restlessness from sitting at a desk for too long is more disruptive to our ability to focus at work than browsing social media and the web.”
Knowing when you are likely to get your best work done in front of the computer and when you’re better off moving around is important. It may sound counterintuitive, but neglecting this balance can lower productivity and motivation.
If you are looking for a new challenge, we are here to help. Our boutique recruitment company works with our candidates to find London’s best jobs. Get in touch or follow us on social media for more tips on success.