Time Management at Work

time management at work Time management at work improves your productivity and reduces stress. Time management activities such as the time management log is an important part of effective time management skills at work.

Do you have a to-do list as long as your arm? Are you a slave to deadlines?

If so, then time management at work could be beneficial for you.

Often work can feel like you are constantly putting out fires - on a treadmill of crises to crises as you respond to the demands of superiors, colleagues and clients.

Does this sound familiar?

This can leave you zapped of energy and feeling as though you have not accomplished what you set out to do.

Imagine how beneficial it will be to know that you are using your time as effectively as you can, which will allow you to relax and live with less stress!

Time management at work is about planning your work and then working your plan. By deciding what is important to your work you schedule the time to do it.

This can mean work time management at work can be about deciding what "not to do!"

Here I provide a number of steps to control time at work which will reduce the feeling of stress and pressure.

Recognize your time wasters

"Hi John, how was your holiday. Tell us all the goss" Before you know it 1/2 an hour has passed and you still haven't got to report that is due today.

This scenario can be multiplied a number of ways across the office and work environment. I am not saying that this is bad or unproductive - but it is important to be aware of your time usage.

Taking a time management log for a week is one of those "tried and tested" time management activities.

Download a time management log and identify areas of your life that you can manage your time better.

Things to look out for in your time log are:

  1. repetitive tasks - can they be automated? Are you spending too long waiting or searching for something?
  2. fun tasks - are fun things crowding out your important activities. Do you hang out around the coffee pot in the kitchen catching up on the goss when you have an important report due?
  3. Distractions - research shows that for each distraction it takes several minutes to regain complete concentration again. How many emails or requests from colleagues do you field each day?

Review your time usage

If you were to save money you would most likely draw up a budget and monitor your expenses. Well the same goes for time management.

Your time log will show you where you spend your time.

Are you spending time on you important tasks?

Are you jumping from crises to crises?

What activities take up most of your time? Can these be streamlined, delegated or automated in some way?

Do the things that you are doing accord with your values?

These are all questions that you can ask to streamline your time management at work.

Get organized

"Where's the post-it note with that important number?" "I can't find anything in my files or on my desk!"

These are common complaints and can cause stress at work.

Did you know that on average 6 weeks is spent search for information!

To minimize stress at work organize your filing system and desk to reflect your priorities and different roles.

I find it useful to minimize wasted time by organizing my files in order of the roles that I have.

For example, I work at university, which makes up a file. Within this file are subcategories - based on the courses that I teach.

I also work as a psychologist - which makes another file. As a psychologist I work in a number of different roles - which are sub-categories that I file under.

This paper filing system is also reflected in the email filing system that I keep - so that I have "a place for everything and everything in it's place".

Control the telephone and email

Telephones and email are a great time saver but they can also be a huge timewaster.

Conversations on the phone can become a black hole in your time management - especially if the conversations are long and rambling.

Learning polite but firm ways to finish conversations, finding a way to screen your calls, or making batches of phone calls in one period can be a great way to improve time usage.

Email can also distract your concentration and reduce your effectiveness at work.

Take the automatic notification off the email and check your email at certain times throughout the day.

Do a time management course

If you have "too much to do and not enough time" and you are looking for a way to manage your stress, then a time management course may be beneficial for you.

Time management focuses you on your top priority tasks, putting you more in control of your time, making you more productive and reducing your stress.

Time management is not so much about activity as it is about results.

This means that time management skills help you to:

  • Effectively use your time and minimize time wasters.
  • Focus on the priorities of your work, delegating tasks where appropriate and dropping tasks that are of less importance.
  • Manage distractions so that you can keep focused.

Why not try this free time management course. 7 time management lessons are sent to your Inbox.

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