5 Simple Steps to Save Time
Do you see yourself swamped with work the moment you get to the office but you don’t know where to start? Do you realize that, at the end of your day, highly important projects are neglected and untouched by the end of the day? Fret not – here are a few simple solutions to ease your days at the office.
To Do List
A daily work schedule is vital for proper time management. Writing up a “to do” list prevents distractions from interrupting you at work. With a proper list, you can avoid having to cater to serving the loudest voice first rather than the more important items on your agenda. You can write your list the night before or even the moment you step into the office! Some people prefer writing the list out by hand but some are more inclined to the latest listing software such as tasktoy. The added structure to your work day makes the “to do” list is a must-have in time management techniques.
A “to do” list is insufficient if there is a lack of prioritization. It is important to complete each task started without having to go back to it and therefore, efficiency is highly important. On the list, you should list down the most important things to complete. You can allocate a time span of an hour to the most important thing on your agenda and if you can’t seem to complete it within that time, you can just get back to it later – you’ll be more likely to resume an uncompleted task once you’ve set it in motion. You can choose to rearrange your list by priority either the moment you step into the office, or the night before. However, it has been proven that prioritizing before you enter the office is much more effective and time-saving as you can start on the most important thing the moment you sit down.
Multi-tasking is very common in the new age and there are many demands to multitask. We are frequently distracted by chat services, emails and phone calls at work and often, we are pressed to perform these tasks simultaneously. What most people don’t notice is that this actually decreases productivity as research has shown that we are more productive when we focus on one task at a time! So try to limit it by setting certain slots in your schedule solely for the purpose of answering emails, phone calls and so on. It is highly important to try and limit multitasking in order to not compromise on your efficiency.
Simple, but realism is the way to go when it involves time management. Very often we spend a lot more time than necessary trying to achieve perfection. Be realistic. Perfection is merely an ideal. Distinguish the difference between what you can do and what you cannot do. Identifying that this is probably the best you can do can cut down on the unnecessary extra hours you might spend on a project.
Manage Disruptions, Manage Time
A large portion of our time at work involves dealing with a multitude of disruptions that can crop up. One can easily be disrupted by the phone, team members, unplanned incidents or even surprise visitors. You don’t have to eliminate all disruptions but you can reduce the frequency and duration. But how do you avoid being interrupted and still be available?
So how do you deal with…
Screen visitors by encouraging them to schedule appointments. Unless these visitors carry urgent messages or are of immense importance, you don’t have to eliminate them completely but promote scheduling appointments by making clear there are certain times available in your day designated for visitors.
Team members coming up to you one at a time with questions, clarifications and whatnot are very common. It’s not unheard of and it’s absolutely not wrong but there are times when you probably need some isolation in order to concentrate. Setting aside certain periods of time in a day to meet them for updates and to listen to them is more conducive for not only your productivity, but theirs as well.
Schedule certain times of the day to cater to answering phone calls and inform every one of these times. Get people who need to contact you to leave voice messages so that you can get back to them as soon as you’re available without neglecting their needs.
The Work Environment
To combat that you can change the direction of your workspace or even post a sign on your divider that says to contact your extension for enquiries or information. Concentration usually requires a lot of silence and muted sounds and colleagues chatting in front of your cubicle or the woman next to you talking loudly on the phone are everyday disruptions at the office. The best way around this is to just politely ask them to turn the volume down, or move on. Remember – politeness is the only way to go. No one appreciates snappy commands.
A new idea pops up when you’re working on something and your attention is suddenly diverted to pursuing that idea. Before you know it whatever you were working on takes the back seat. Sound familiar? We often forget that the biggest cause of distraction is ourselves.
The truth is: It’s not how much time you spend…It’s how you spend your time that counts!!