There are only 24 hours (or 1,440 minutes) in a day. What you do with those hours has a direct impact on your overall productivity and your career. From the cold calls you have to make to the internal meetings and client visits, how can you squeeze it all into each day without missing out? The way you schedule your time, the format of your meetings and even your approach to delegation are important. Your overall approach to time management can help you make the most of each day to ensure you have a positive impact on your career.
Does Time Management Impact you at Work?
More than you think! The way you allocate your time has a direct relationship to the quality of your output and your overall success. Poor time management skills result in more than just sloppy work or an unproductive day. When you don’t manage your time effectively you’ll constantly be in motion, trying to scramble to complete important tasks at the last minute. Good time management skills have a positive impact on your performance at your job in a variety of ways:
- No more missed or shoddy work: Projects you try to tackle without enough time to do them well can impact your performance and the finished results. Time management skills ensure you always have time prepare and focus on the task at hand.
- Reduced stress: The stress of trying to cram too many things into a day leaves you a frazzled mess; most of us are less pleasant to work with and more likely to have conflicts with others when we are stressed out. Lower your stress levels and you'll get along better with others.
- Improved decision making abilities: If you have too many tasks crammed into too small of a time period or you simply run out of time each day, you may have to make some tough last minute decisions. Allotting enough time for tasks ensures you make decisions based on merit, not how much time you have left in your day or until the deadline.
- Fewer missed opportunities: How much of a difference would 15 more cold calls a week make to your progress and numbers? How about 15 more a day? Time squandered or wasted is time you could have allocated to growing your business and connecting with clients. Take control of your time and you'll be able to work towards your goals more effectively.
Developing better time management skills can help you meet your goals and ensure you are operating at peak productivity at work.
7 Tips and Strategies for Better Time Management
Borrowed from academia, this form of scheduling can allow you to focus on specific items at specific times. Planning your day in “blocks” or proscribed time periods and working on specific tasks during this time can help you avoid a scheduling crunch. Checking and responding to email at a set time of the day can save you time, particularly if you are constantly distracted by incoming messages.
Every time you stop what you are doing to answer an email, it disrupts your thinking and pulls you out of the task you should be focusing on. Block scheduling applies to more than email; setting aside a specific time of the day for responding to voicemail, making cold calls and touching base with prospects allows you to fit in more items each day and to attack those items with more focus.
Get on your Feet
Switching some routine meetings to standing meetings can help speed you through the session and force participants to focus. When participants have to stand to convey information and to interact with colleagues, they don’t have the opportunity to settle into a comfortable chair and socialize. Standing meetings tend to keep the focus where it matters and reduce the amount of time you spend conveying information.
You can’t do everything and while it is usually easier to say yes, handing out a few “no” answers can help eliminate waste from your schedule. While you can’t avoid job related duties, there are some tasks that may take up your day that you can decline. Whether you turn down a spot on a committee or decline a long lunch outing, saying no gracefully can help you fit more essential items into your schedule.
Get an Early Start
Rising and getting to work earlier than usual allows you to take advantage of one of the most productive times of the day. As an added bonus, most of your coworkers likely arrive at the same time; get in before them and you have some uninterrupted work time. If you commute, leaving home an hour early may help speed you on your way; if you drive, you’ll find the roads are less busy and if you take public transportation, the bus or train will be less crowded.
Reverse your Schedule
Most of us work the same way – meetings and online work in the morning and then offline work that requires concentration in the afternoon. Switching things up can help you conserve time, particularly if you tend to zone out or get distracted when you begin to chat with others or use the computer. Placing your calls and most important tasks of the day in the morning ensures they get done; less important tasks or those that are distracting can wait until later in the day and even be bumped to the next day if needed.
Manage your Meeting Based on Revenue
Meetings can be a success, but every meeting you have is costing you money. The time you are spending could be used making calls, closing sales and performing the tasks you need to. It’s not just you; every member of your team could be focusing on an income earning task instead of rehashing points in a meeting. A revenue based approach can help you save time. You’ll naturally want to cut your costs and stick to the essentials when you figure out what that meeting is costing you.
Prioritize Some Tasks
Review your projects and “to-do” list each day and rank tasks by priority. The things that must get done by the end of the day can be completed first, while those that are of lesser importance can be tackled later. By prioritizing key tasks, you can be sure you get to them while you are fresh and that you have the time and energy to get the most important things done.
Building awareness of how long things will take to complete and proactively tackling some key time management tasks will help you work more efficiently and ensure you can actually finish everything you need to. People with good time management skills are naturally more productive and in control – and far less likely to suffer from stress at work. Getting started is easy – just choose one strategy to focus on and see how it impacts your schedule; developing some key skills can help you meet your goals and ensure you get the outcomes you want at work.