8 Time Management Strategies for Your Work: Got a Moment to Read Them?
Many businesses have what it takes to make it to the top. But there is one thing everyone is eager to control. No, it’s not the money, is the time. This factor can increase or decrease the chances to succeed if used properly. Millions of tips about time management fill hundreds of pages on the internet.
If you find it hard to pick the best for you, we prepared a selection of key strategies written by Kevin Kruse, an important author in the field of business time management.
Time Management is Simple, Our Life is Complicated
The universality of time is simple: each day on the planet Earth has 24 hours. Our life is complicated: from simple household duties to big events that shape the entire family; sometimes we feel that we want more hours ahead.
And the life in a company is even more complicated since diverse groups are struggling to be the first. If you had some issues in dealing with time management and office tasks, take a look at the following strategies.
Strategy no. 1: Identify Your Most Important Task and Work on it Before Anything Else
A hectic day at work could become less hectic if you think about your most important task and act.
When dealing with a lot of priorities in your head, the productivity lowers because the brain is figuring out how to classify those needs in order to give you a plain view on the matters. Eventually the whole time management falls apart.
And when you also set your eyes on the computer watch it can get really frustrating.
This is why you should identify the number 1 thing: the piece of work for that day that has to be done.
A great time management tells us to clear out mind and start with the most important task at the beginning of the schedule. Accomplishing a task properly reduces stress and brings more optimism to solving future tasks.
An example: an employee of a tech company in the department of product design comes to work thinking where to begin since the manager wants to present the new features of the product next week. He eventually starts to complete the evaluation of the new design and creates a report so that the manager can rely on his expertise when making the presentation. And the rest of the day goes with other usual tasks.
Strategy #2: Work with a Calendar Not With a To-Do List
There are employees that love to use a to-do list because it’s a solid shortcut. You write a few things and after you complete those duties you check, right? However, that shortcut might not be as solid as it seems in the first place.
There you have it, 4 or 5 lines that need to be accomplished today and you are still struggling with the second one. You could jump to the third one but the thought that you didn’t solve that thing will cause you headaches and, after longer similar periods of time even a burnout.
At the end of the work day, if you haven’t done all 4 or 5 lines the guilt can lower your productivity. Not to mention when those to-do lists are piled up.
Instead of a to-do list, create a calendar: each day has its own duties and if needed, each task can have its deadline. So you can split and arrange that task into small parts.
Although they refer pretty much to the same thing, the to-do list and the calendar are a little bit different. A calendar gives you a more global view in the tasks and prepares your mind better for the next move.
You will wonder what a difference it can introduce to your time management.
Lumeer works in some ways like a digital calendar and allows you to settle the next moves very easily.
Strategy #3: Accept That There Always is More to Be Done
There is a famous proverb in Romania: you must be 5 minutes smart at the right time and then you can chill out for the rest of 55 minutes of an hour.
More precisely, you must do the right thing when expected and then continue with all the ordinary tasks.
There are simple and complicated things at the office. And there are also things that should be done within some boundaries. Boundaries are the sign that a completed task is better than a perfect task.
At a first glance, this might sound inappropriate but think about it. Your expertise on completing a task is valuable and raises the profit of the company.
When trying to reach perfection, some elements can be forgotten or simply cannot work since jobs and markets can get rather unstable these days.
Accepting that there will always be more to be done is a relief in terms of schedule. Your energy and skills are at work for certain duties.
Do not waste your energy in an attempt to deliver perfection in a fast-changing environment. There isn’t a time management method that allows you to absorbs tasks indefinitely.
Strategy #4: Write Down on Your Notebook, Not on Your Smartphone
This strategy relies on different studies that have shown how the brain remembers better when the individual is writing instead of typing.
Remembering things is not the only advantage, another one is creativity. Writing everything that is creative and innovative for your work could help boost productivity.
Of course it is inevitable to use the digital screens. Sometimes, choosing unfamiliar ways can bring more solutions to the table (the so-called lateral thinking, a term coined by Edward de Bono).
The digital screen is more visual than a notebook page but at the same time is like a mini transparent wall.
Monotonous movements (touching a keyboard) is typical for a smartphone. It might seem counterintuitive to your time management. However writing in a notebook leverages creativity. As your brain focuses on creating those elements, in our case, those letters.
Having a lot of creative ideas can save you some time when immediate tasks need to be solved in a creative manner.
An example: during a meeting with the management board and all the officers from an organization, employees have been told to find creative solutions for a certain invitation template regarding a cooperation. Some people took the creative approach and started jotting down their ideas. By the end of the meeting, they were able to present them and a final solution have been selected. The proactive work with pen and paper proved successful.
Strategy #5: Control Your Email Inbox
Email is one of the most basic forms of digital communication. We use emails because it is more professional than sending a message on a smartphone.
And the bigger the company the bigger the email inboxes. With the help of AI and automatic auto-response email services, individuals started to worry less about emails. However in small and medium sized companies, employees still have to deal with replying to emails, a thing that takes time.
We often see examples when the email inbox delays the normal duties because people feel the urge to reply to all the messages as a sign of respect.
Sure, we must reply to certain emails. But we must not forget that the extra time spent on electronic messages is in fact shortening the time for other duties.
A good time management advice would be to schedule viewing the inbox at certain periods of time. So that the rest of the time can be used for important tasks.
Information is vital in the 4th Industrial Revolution but too much information need to be handled very carefully.
Information is, from a wider perspective, time – viewing the information and creating it takes time. And time is not an empty bottle, it’s a bottle filled with bits of information.
Strategy #6: Schedule Meetings Only When Communication Doesn’t Work Properly
If you take care of scheduling meetings, you should know by now that a lot of meetings consume a lot of time. Sometimes even without reaching the wanted decisions.
To make it shorter and more efficient, you should prepare only one topic for one important meeting that needs to be solved immediately. Invite only the stakeholders that have the right to vote for a decision. Accept feedback in a concise manner and thank everyone for participation and ideas.
If you are invited to a meeting and don’t want to lose time hanging around, prepare before this event: what is the topic of the meeting and what is your role.
An example: meeting for deciding a new evaluation system for the employees. Show up knowing what kind of evaluation your manager expects and with concise ideas for the system collected from your team. If the manager thinks that a short meeting is more efficient, you’ve just saved some time and made a step towards successful time management. Less is more.
We are not against long meetings. But we should aim to reach an effective conclusion at the end of these meetings. Without disturbing the time for other important duties.
Strategy #7: Say No to Everything That Doesn’t Support Your Immediate Goals
It might be a little bit weird in the beginning but it sure pays off. Wonder why? It’s quite simple: an extra time for an extra element is messing your calendar.
All the employees have a lot of worries in their minds. Adding extra pressure could become stressful, thus decreasing the level of productivity. And you also have to think about your immediate goals.
Time management is at your side when all the immediate goals are achieved with a balanced amount of energy and creative solutions.
Remember that the immediate goals will lead you to that bigger goal of your professional career.
Of course, there are situations when you have to say yes – like little breaks, little opportunities, little settlements and little improvements. These are things that ease your workflow.
And sometimes, you have to be intuitive and ask yourself: “Is the time I’m spending now meaningful just for now or also meaningful for what’s next?”
Try to look at the bigger picture. Plan to do your duties and also plan to get some extra time, just in case you need it.
Strategy #8: Stay Healthy
This last strategy will pop out like friendly advice, but in fact it is more.
Let’s take a negative example: you have a very busy schedule, you stress a lot and run out of time each day. This can make you lose your cool, decrease your productivity and even end up with a disease.
It is well known that the 21st century is the century of stress. Mainly due to fast changing environments, replacement of workers with intelligent machines, high demands and expectations.
A bad health is a complete blackout for any time management. Not to mention that the recovery can be stressful on its own.
Getting back to the classical or digital office is also a matter of time. The reintegration could take a while even when you are an experienced member of the team. We are humans after all. Give special attention to your health so you can enjoy your job and your hobbies.
What to do next? 3 Tips from Lumeer
The next step after learning something is perhaps the hardest. Apply what you think fits you and your type of work:
Evaluate Your Goal Inside the Company
Think about what goal you want to achieve inside your company. Plan your time management tips according to the wider vision of the job.
A person working in the field of marketing research has a different time management than someone working in the field of pharmaceuticals or transportation.
Evaluate Your Role, Your Task and Your Skills
Think about your role, your usual tasks and your skills. Time is a factor that influences all of them.
The type of work you do can take more or less time, the tasks can be more easier or more complicated.
You can learn new skills in a certain amount of time. You can get more time by having new skills or even delay the learning process with different consequences.
Start With Small Steps
No one builds a technology, a system or a product in one day. So it’s fine to accomplish, in the beginning, some small steps.
Talk to colleagues that are in the same situation as you, get advice from valued experts and change small habits.
These small steps are the ones that open the road for success and a proper time management.
How Lumeer Helps?
In Lumeer, you can easily switch among many different views of the same tasks (to-do list, Kanban board, Calendar, Time table etc.). That way you can slowly transition towards the desired workflow.