Good time management skills are essential to your goal achievement both personally and professionally. After all, how many great historical leaders wandered through life without the ability to prioritize and execute tasks? Without the time management skills to prioritize, organize, and tackle the things that are most important to you and even the not-so-pleasant things that must be done (think tax season), you are floating up life’s creek with no paddles.
This is also a moral issue. If you routinely spend “work time” instant messaging, posting personal social media updates, or wandering the halls to get that fourth cup of coffee instead of doing the work you are getting paid for, you are essentially stealing.
Let’s be realistic. Regardless of your personal productivity level and ability to manage time, you will never be able to accomplish EVERYTHING you want to. And that is OK. The key is to accomplish the things that are most important to you whether you are at work or home. Here is a checklist to help you organize and prioritize:
Determine what is most important to you.
Choose 3-5 things that are most important to you and write them down. Often, people get so wrapped up in mundane day-to-day tasks that they lose track of important goals that they have set for themselves. In order to focus on those goals, they must be a part of daily life.
Create a to-do list…or two.
Make a list for yourself of everything you would like to accomplish for the day. Then strategically go through and prioritize those things into two lists. The first list is for those things that must be done. The second list is for those things that you may need to ignore. If you complete everything you set out to do by the end of the day, great! If not, which will often happen, you know you have conquered the things that mattered most.
Translate your tasks to real life.
Now that you have your to-do list(s), plug them into a calendar. This helps put those ambiguous tasks into the confines of time. This will allow you to realistically allocate time to each task and help you stay on track.
Limit your distractions.
Turn off the email and social media alerts and keep them out of view while you are working. No, it is not imperative that you be immediately notified when your friend posts the latest video of the “Harlem Shake” on YouTube. These time wasters wreak havoc on your productivity. Aim to check your email a couple of times a day and limit personal social media to legitimate breaks in your work day and once you leave work.
Learn to say “no.”
This is harder than it sounds for many of us because we want to help others and be involved. But in order to finish what you set out to do, you sometimes need to put your foot down and tell others that you just don’t have the time. Note: This applies to those things that are outside of your job description. Telling your boss “no” is generally not a good idea.
Wrap up your workday with a review.
At the end of your work day, jot down any loose ends you need to tie up and things you want to accomplish the next day. This will help you to step away from work once you are home, knowing that you can pick up where you left off when you begin working the next day. This saves time and the anxiety of thinking that you are forgetting something important.
Hopefully these tips will help you develop a time management strategy that makes your work more manageable. When you can increase your personal productivity (or that of others), it allows you to relax and enjoy other aspects of your life that may have been neglected by a never-ending workday.
Do you need to increase your personal productivity or the productivity of your team? Leadership Excellence offers targeted leadership development training for individuals and corporations in the areas of sales, communication, personal productivity, time management, staff development, management development and more. Whether you need time management training in Medina, Cleveland, or anywhere in the country, we offer time management webinars, on-site seminars, or one-on-one training tailored to your specific needs.