Who hasn’t occasionally given into the temptation of procrastination? Good time management skills are essential whatever your workplace, so as part of our Career Week, we wanted to share a few useful tips to help you make the most of your time.
Prepare to get focused, get organized and tackle your to-do list. Here are eight easy ways you can become more productive during business hours.
Start your morning off by creating a ‘to-do list’, that is, writing down the key tasks you need to accomplish for the day. Figure out what needs to be done when, and then list your projects in order of priority. This way, you can get started on the most pressing tasks first.
2. Plan ahead
Keep a calendar of all the projects that you’re responsible for, and make a note of the ones that happen regularly. Make sure you plan projects from start to finish, breaking down big tasks into pieces of work that are realistic to accomplish. Creating a timeline with target due dates for each task along the way will help you set goals and ensure your larger projects stay on track.
3. Organize yourself
It’s a fact: organized people are more productive at work. Do you have a cluttered desk or a messy bedroom? Take the time to put your personal things in order and you’ll be better prepared to stay organized and productive in your professional life.
4. Communicate clearly
You’ll be surprised how much time can be saved when you communicate clearly with clients and colleagues from the start. Make sure the person you are speaking, writing or presenting to understands exactly what you say. Ask as many questions as you need to get the correct information and avoid misunderstandings. Setting out clearly defined expectations and accurate information will help you avoid time-consuming mistakes and keep your projects running smoothly.
5. Take a break
No one can work continuously for an eight-hour stretch. Sometimes your brain simply needs a break. A friendly chat with a co-worker or a quick cup of coffee can often clear your head and help you refocus. When you come back to your desk with a refreshed brain, you might just notice a solution to a problem that you missed before.
Maybe you’re capable of doing some tasks better or faster than others, but the reality is, you’ll never be able to take on everything. Investing some time in training your staff to do routine work will help free up your own time significantly. This extra time will allow you to focus on the bigger picture, and even take on new projects and challenges.
7. Conquer procrastination
Overcome the urge to leave things until tomorrow. Instead, work steadily in short periods of time and break any overwhelming tasks down into achievable chunks. You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish when you focus on checking the next thing off of your ‘to-do list’. Stay motivated by rewarding yourself for your achievements.
8. Learn and improve
Learning to become more productive at work is an ongoing challenge. It’s not about making endless lists or keeping an unrealistic schedule; it’s about avoiding bad habits, asking the right questions and finding a way of working that helps you meet your goals. Be open to challenges, celebrate your successes and remember: a healthy work-life balance is essential.