We all want to be successful in our jobs and we all want to achieve as much as possible in each day. However, sometimes we can feel heavily burdened with responsibilities and tasks can get on top of us. Fear not, because there are several ways you can actively improve your time management today. These three small ways to improve time management in the workplace are mere suggestions but may hopefully be of use to you. You can make simple and small changes today to achieve more at work, increase your focus on tasks and to boost your overall power to accomplish your job to the best of your abilities. So let’s get started on these three ideas now!
1. Clarity of Communication
Have you ever had crossed wires at work due to a lack of communication? Perhaps it was over the scheduled time of a meeting with a client, a lunch appointment or did a misunderstanding arise via email correspondence? A lack of clarity in communication in the workplace leads to deals not being done, meetings being postponed and cancelled business, all of which can be highly damaging, especially in the competitive markets of industry today. Therefore, taking steps to minimize confusion between colleagues is a key issue that needs to be addressed.
Firstly, some basic email suggestions: always use a twenty-four hour clock to refer to meeting and appointment times in written correspondence, and always triple check the times specified against your paperwork. In addition regarding meetings, always follow up the client or persons concerned confirming their attendance nearer the time because this acts not only as a scheduling reminder, it also shows excellent business acumen, enthusiasm and interest, all of which are great personal qualities as well as professional ones. This approach will save you time chasing things up and also acts to encourage the other person to communicate back with you if their plans change.
Secondly, in face-to-face meetings when you need to record information and take notes: always listen first and write later. It is a common mistake many people make to simply write notes as they are listening the first time around to information. This kind of multitasking is detrimental to your learning and absorbing of information because you are trying to accomplish too many tasks at once! If you have to take notes, abbreviate them and only write them down after you have given all your attention to listening and absorbing details first. This way, your notes are more likely to make sense to you afterwards as well. If you must have information word for word in longer meetings, it may be well worth investing in a portable recording device. Rather than clogging up the memory on your phone with audio data (and these days with the ways technology is going, the phone could probably take the meeting for you), using these small handheld gadgets is discreet and will make you feel hyper-organized!
An additional general point is to always try your hardest to engage your listening skills. Be as concise as you can when providing information or asking questions and focus in on the response being provided to you. Giving your undivided attention to the person speaking to you will save you time later and prevent any massive errors occurring over miscommunication.
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2. Prioritizing Tasks and the Importance of Delegation
Whether you are managing several hundred employees or you are in an entry level job with far less responsibility, either way, you alone are responsible for prioritizing your own personal work load. To do this effectively, you need to firstly know your limitations and secondly, to have the structure of a set routine in place, but a routine that is somewhat malleable and flexible when the need arises. For effective prioritization, always keep a daily list of tasks.
Depending on your role and level of responsibility, these tasks may range from smaller errands such as checking emails or responding to answer phone messages to far bigger tasks such as arranging a video conference to close a business deal or looking to how investments overseas could improve your company financially and so on. Always place your most pressing tasks ahead of the others and keeping a list provides you with a ‘visual reference point’ as well as a tool for job validation and satisfaction for yourself personally. Use your email calendar, post-it notes, highlighting in a diary, phone reminders and so forth to assist you. Not only will this approach improve your level of focus on an individual task, it will also help you to see the bigger picture, and this leads to better time management throughout the day.
Delegation crosses over into our discussion on prioritizing tasks because if you are someone with responsibility, you need to be fully aware of whom you have delegated tasks to and to make sure you do this in the highest order of importance. When assigning tasks to the correct person for the best outcome in terms of the highest level of quality, you need to understand your employees or colleagues skills. In addition, knowing their individual talents, strengths and weaknesses can be a key marker to the effective completion of a task and will improve not only the quality of the outcome, but will also lead to more effective time management!
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3. The Importance of Focus and Breaks
Lastly, we have to consider how important maintaining job focus can be towards achieving effective time management. From taxi drivers to surgeons, factory employees to stock market analysts, we all have to focus at work. Yet how many people find themselves starring into space, going to make frequent cups of tea, chatting to colleagues in the lunch room or checking phones, emails and other social media? It is very true that we all need breaks to work at our optimum levels but structured breaks are the key to successful time management. Always allow yourself breaks because you will return to your work more refreshed and with a clearer head. However, try to have set times for these breaks to take place if this is possible in your workplace. The advantage of this is that you will be motivated to work more towards a time deadline and you will look forward to the break ‘reward’. This will let your mind concentrate more fully because it knows it will get a moment to recharge and relax later on.
Ultimately, these examples are only a mere three suggestions for improving time management in the work place. Nevertheless, I hope these tips prove of some use to you and can help go a little way to improving your productivity in the work place.
The below video shows time management expert Harold Taylor discuss how not to manage your time in the workplace with humor. This video is from the You Tube channel ‘whats1my200’. Enjoy!