Do you have trouble managing time at work? Do you find yourself wishing for more than 24 hours in a day? Then you might need some help with time management in the workplace. If you never manage to do everything you’ve planned on doing in the time you’ve allotted, that doesn’t mean you don’t have the potential to. It might mean you just have to learn to organize yourself better. This is what today’s guide is all about. We’ll touch upon the following aspects:
- What are the basics of time management?
- Why do you need time management in the workplace?
- Tips on how to ace time management in the workplace.
- Time management tools you should consider.
Time Management in the Workplace: A Complete Guide
#Basic Time Management Concepts
Time management skills are required in all areas of life, not only in the workplace. What is time management, after all? It’s that discipline that aims to increase work efficiency and effectiveness by planning the length of time spent on a specific activity. It makes people more productive, and it helps them establish their priorities and tackle them accordingly.
One important thing to remember is that your goal is not to manage time itself – although the name points to this. In fact, that’s impossible to do. What you’re managing is the way you decide to use the time you have, while being fully aware of the fact that it’s not unlimited.
What we’re going to discuss today is not time management as a discipline, but as a skill used in the practical world. Ultimately, time management in the workplace is a skill. It’s the skill to plan how you spend your time in order to get the best results. Moreover, it’s a skill that anyone can learn if they practice long enough, and have the right approach and attitude.
What will you accomplish once you develop this skill? The answer is two main things. The first thing is the fact that you’ll be capable of accomplishing more tasks than in the past. For example, if it used to take you 1 hour to go through your emails in the morning, time management can help you do it in half an hour. The second thing is learning how to prioritize the tasks that are urgent and important. There will be times when you’ll realize that certain tasks are not as important as others. As such, you could postpone them or give them up altogether.
#Why Should You Learn Time Management in the Workplace?
1. To Become More Efficient
Since we’ve been insisting so much on efficiency, it goes without saying that one of the main benefits of time management in the workplace is that it helps you become more efficient. If this is something you’ve always wanted for yourself, learning how to manage time is a great first step. One of the main reasons why time management helps increase efficiency is because it removes unnecessary clutter.
2. To Become More Productive
This second point goes hand in hand with the first one. Since you’ll learn how to prioritize and increase your efficiency, you’re automatically also going to be more productive. You’ll know how much time you have for each task and what you have to get done in that time. Moreover, since you know when you’re supposed to be done with it, you’ll be less tempted to procrastinate.
3. To Make Your Job Easier
No doubt you’ve already figured it out by now, but time management makes your job easier. There are multiple ways though which it does that. For example, as we’ve previously mentioned, it removes clutter, which naturally leads to a simpler job experience. It also provides a timetable, which is something a lot of people need in order to stay on track and stick to the plan. Overall, by making you more organized and productive, it simplifies your life and makes it easier to manage.
4. To Structure Your Work
Since we’re talking about time management in the workplace, it’s worth mentioning that another reason why you should acquire this skill is because it helps you come up with a structure. Time management is all about planning, which cannot be done without structure. Due to the skill of managing time, whenever you start a new project at work, you’ll know what you have to do, by what time you have to do it, and what are the tools you need to use.
5. To Decrease Stress Levels
Let’s face it, always being on the edge about whether or not you’ll be able to finish a project in time is probably increasing your stress levels. If you’ll get rid of tight deadlines, surprise tasks, and rushed activities, you’re going to feel much more at peace with yourself. There are few surprises when it comes to time management in the workplace, and the ones that do appear you’ll be able to deal with in a much more relaxed manner.
8 Time Management Tips to Keep in Mind
1. Don’t Try to Do Everything
This is an issue a lot of people struggle with, especially people who enjoy their work and want everything to turn out perfect. One of the main things you have to learn when it comes to time management in the workplace is that you’ll never be able to do everything and have it all come out great. This is why you have to learn to prioritize and deal with the most important tasks first. Not only that, but also refuse certain tasks altogether. Especially when it’s not your responsibility. There’s nothing wrong with helping people, but only if you really have the time for it.
2. Get Away from Distraction
Distractions are the enemy of productivity, especially the electronic ones. Yes, we mean your phone, computer, television, and so on. As long as you make room for them near you, you’re going to be tempted to check them. Even if you only do it for a couple of minutes, doing it often is going to take much more minutes out of your time than you’d think. It would be better to put every possible distraction away, go to a quiet place where no one will disturb you, and simply focus on the task at hand.
3. Start Early in the Morning
Even if you’re not normally a morning person, getting an early start can increase your productivity. If you keep postponing the things you have to do, you might end up not doing them at all. Moreover, starting work early in the morning isn’t just about the undeniable fact that you’ll have more time to work. You’ll also have more energy than in the afternoon, which is not the best time to get things done. Not to mention the fact that sleeping too much can decrease your energy levels as well.
4. Come Up with Deadlines
Deadlines are extremely important when it comes to time management in the workplace. If you don’t have a specific end time in mind when you start doing something, you’ll be tempted to procrastinate and trick yourself into thinking the task is not that urgent. If you know you have to do something in 4 hours, you’re going to be more focused because you’ll try to stick to the deadline. Even if you can allow an error margin, you should try to respect the deadline as much as possible.
5. Take Things One Step at a Time
If you think about how many things you have to do in a certain day, you’re going to distract yourself from the task at hand. Simply focus on whatever it is you’re doing and don’t allow future tasks to overwhelm you and make you feel like you’ll never get everything done. Remember that worrying about them is useless, while actually starting to tackle them one by one can help you accomplish everything you’ve set your mind to.
6. Take Short Breaks Between Tasks
One of the most important things you need to remember is that successful time management doesn’t exclude breaks. If you don’t allow yourself some time to breathe, you’ll have a hard time focusing and giving your best. If you don’t want to interrupt yourself during a task, you should at least take a break in between different ones. Make sure you use that time wisely. Try to go outside, get some fresh air, go for a walk, meditate, or do something else that helps you clear your mind.
7. Use Waiting Time Wisely
Whether you realize it or not, you’re wasting a lot of time waiting around. Whether it’s waiting to get to work, waiting in line at the bank, and so on, this time could be put to better use. From now on, every time you know you have some waiting to do, think about a task that you can accomplish during that time. For instance, if you have something to read or to listen to, these are perfect activities for when you don’t have anything better to do with your time.
8. Delegate Some of Your Tasks
We know this can be hard for some people, especially when they need to know they’re the ones accomplishing the task. However, sometimes, there might be things outside of your area of expertise that other people could accomplish faster and better. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to delegate the task. Less important tasks are also great for delegating. This way, you can focus on tasks that more important and urgent.
4 Time Management Tools to Test Out
GQueues is an app that looks similar to Gmail. Its goal is to help you organize and schedule your tasks. Some of its most interesting and useful features are sharing and collaboration, repeating tasks, assignments and comments, subtasks, prioritization, and tags. Most of the features you can get for free, but there are two other options you need to pay money for. The first one is the GQueues for YOU ($25/year), which includes Google Calendar integration, among others. The second one is the GQueues for BUSINESS ($50/year), which adds even more features.
As the name of this tool suggests, RescueTime is designed to help you keep track of time and make the most of it. It’s available for desktop use and it allows you to pick the activities that make you most productive, as well as those that usually distract you. Then, you can select the days and times you want to keep track of and the app will do that for you. Other interesting features include goal setting, a daily time log, productivity reports, and application usage reports. Apart from the free version, you have the option to choose RescueTime Premium. This adds features such as website blocking and daily goal alerts.
This is an extremely easy-to-use app that allows you to prioritize your tasks. All you need to do is drag them to the highest position on your list. Not only that, but you can also add notes to each task and edit it accordingly. Task history is another feature we’re excited about. You can look back on your tasks, even the ones from the previous month. Then, you decide if you’re going to delete them or restore them. If you’re interested, Doris is entirely free to use.
MeisterTask is the perfect tool for when you want to delegate tasks. It helps you manage team projects by providing you with sub-project and individual task options. You can create checklists, add deadlines, comments, attachments, and many others. Moreover, you can also export or print data in order to track the team’s productivity, as well as get a quick overview of what you have to accomplish every single day. You get to choose between the free version and a paid plan that comes with extra features such as workflow automation.
Summing It All Up
Even though it might not look like it sometimes, with a little bit of organization and prioritization, you can learn to manage your time and get more things done faster. Especially since there are so many tools, strategies, and even games for time management you can try. We hope today’s guide has convinced you of the importance of time management in the workplace. Moreover, we hope our time management tips and tools will help you acquire this skill and use it successfully.