Manage time at work and be more efficient

Manage time at work and be more efficient

Managing time at work to be more efficient is possible, but it needs to be actively addressed.

Manage time at work and be more efficient

Last update: 17 September, 2019

Ironically, time management is a problem that affects everyone, but no one has the time to address. It is worthwhile, however, to devote some attention to analyzing how we “burn” our time and whether it is possible to organize ourselves better. Managing time at work to be more efficient is possible, but it needs to be actively addressed.

There is no doubt, time passes. And the more time passes without better organizing, the more we lose and, with it, energy and opportunity. This is why it is essential to analyze our working day to understand if any changes need to be made.

21 tips to manage your time at work and be more efficient

Time management is a complex issue ranging from increasing productivity to work-life balance. The goal is to avoid exhaustion, create good habits, and set long-term goals. Planning and prioritizing is the key to regaining control of our time and life, no matter what occupation we are in. Jory MacKay proposes 21 strategies for better time management.

Understanding where our time ends

Managing time doesn't mean getting anxious or afraid of losing it. Rather, it's about understanding the benefits of wiser use, as MacKay explains. Hence the first group of strategies and advice:

1. Understand that managing time is an important issue. As we have said, it is not a question of being afraid of wasting time, but of understanding the benefits of proper management.

2. Be realistic: How much work can you actually do in a day? We may think of time as simply a resource we need in greater quantities, but having more time doesn't necessarily mean being more productive. The best way to manage it is to plan what you will work on and when.

3. Find out where the time drain occurs. The more you understand the progress of the working day, the more your efforts will have an impact on the overall management.

4. Set daily goals and implement counting systems that help you understand how you are using your time. Once you have an overview, you can begin to change your day.

5. Create a motivating morning routine. A good awakening routine prepares us for a productive work day: it is a positive boost that accompanies us until the evening.

6. Give up on multitasking. Research confirms this: it is impossible for a human being to focus on more than one task at a time. If you find that you have lost focus, stop and write down your thoughts before returning to the main task.

Prioritize the most important part of the work and delegate the rest

Once we understand where our time is going, we need to decide what to dedicate it to (and what not). For this reason, MacKay advises us to:

7. Identify urgent work. Understanding what requires immediate attention and what is not important or urgent helps us to set up a reasoned calendar.

8. Once priorities are established, be categorical. Choose your main goals and focus on them.

9. Use the 30X rule to delegate some tasks. It's Rory Vaden's rule: take 30 times the time it takes to complete a task to teach someone else to do it. Taking the time to teach another person and then delegating will save us 1100 minutes a year. Or, as Vaden says, a 733% increase in ROTI (Return on Time Invested).

10. Retrieve the word "no" from your vocabulary. According to an article published by the University of Chicago, saying “I don't” instead of “I can't” allows us to get rid of unwanted commitments much more easily.

Establish a functional daily schedule

Once you have taken the first steps, it is time to study a timetable to manage time effectively.

11. Set times, not deadlines. Mackay here borrows James Clear's advice. Instead of chasing a deadline (and then feeling frustrated if you eventually fail to stay on schedule), set a meaningful goal and set a timetable.

12. Make plans based on time and not on activities. Break down the demanding work into sessions of quantifiable duration. By organizing the day in fractions of time instead of tasks, we can begin to manage our schedule based on a known date (or commitment).

“A calendar is something finite. A day contains only a certain number of hours. This fact becomes clear the moment we try to insert an unrealistic number of things into a finite space ”.

-Peter Bregman-

13. Plan for breaks and moments of rest. We need time to rest and we have to accept that there will be interruptions. Not taking this into account means working in a chaotic way. The unexpected exists and our body warns us when it's time to take a break. If we don't leave a margin, we could suddenly see our programs collapse.

14. Separate il “maker time” dal “manager time”. It's easy to fill the time with routine tasks and not leave enough room for "meaningful" work. It is one thing to do, another to manage.

15. Activities divided into lots throughout the week. Group similar businesses and take advantage of the momentum that comes from starting a job. Apply Newton's first law of dynamics to productivity: “an object in motion continues in its motion”.

Using space to manage time at work in a more motivating way

Calendar and roadmap aren't the only time management tools we have. Mackay suggests some strategies to use in the office that can influence the way we work.

16. Try the popcorn method to “unlock the time”. Changing workplace locations throughout the day can be a good way to maintain motivation and productivity. This is the technique proposed by Joel Runyon and it works like this:

  • Write down all the work commitments of the day on a piece of paper.
  • Divide this list into three equal parts or lots (see point 15).
  • Choose three different workstations for each batch of work.

17. Work according to the energetic rhythm of your body. Organize your work in the way that works best for you. Think not only in terms of time management, but also in terms of energy.

Protect your time

There will never be a lack of situations that will try to occupy your time. Time must be protected to avoid using it incorrectly. Mackay offers us the following advice.

18. Use "strategic laziness" to work on the right things. The concept of strategic laziness is about prioritizing important jobs and tasks and indulging in some laziness for those who are less so.

"Nothing is less productive than doing efficiently what should absolutely not be done."

-Peter Drucker-

19. Automatically defend your non-negotiable time. It is important to be sure that the work that requires concentration goes on without problems and interruptions. To do this, avoiding distractions is essential. There are tools that allow you to communicate to others automatically when you are not available. Alternatively, find a way to communicate that you are focused and don't want to be disturbed.

20. Use the Ivy Lee Method to end your day well. Ivy Lee recommends a simple five-step daily routine for maximum productivity.

  • At the end of each workday, write down the six most important things you face the next day. Do not write more than six homework.
  • Arrange these six elements in order of importance.
  • The next day, focus on your first job. Complete it before moving on to the second.
  • Proceed with the rest of the list in the same way. At the end of the day, move the unfinished commitments to the list for the following day.
  • Repeat this process every working day.

21. Don't forget the benefits of free time. Managing time is not just about working. To find a balance in working life that keeps us healthy and happy, we need to remember the time dedicated to rest, recreation and socialization.

Managing time at work in a better way: a possible challenge

Managing time at work and being more productive is a challenge for everyone. However, we need to stop and think about what we do, how we do it and what we really want to achieve. "Doing" does not necessarily mean to work, nor to complete.

Therefore, take the time to study your routine and reschedule activities. With these indications it will be easier to organize the working or study day and obtain better results.

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