Being productive with your time is essential in working towards your goals, professionally and personally. Understanding the importance of time management will help you be more productive at work, and allow you more personal time to focus on things you value, outside of work.
A good time management system is key to a balanced life. Here’s how to master the art:
Always start your day with planning and scheduling. Plan out your workday and stick to it. We all have loads of data and tasks to deal with throughout the day, and it is impossible for one to remember all that has to be done. Making a to-do list helps one prioritise work and manage time effectively. Being organised and structured is very essential to one’s professional development. Maintaining a to-do list is one way of befittingly doing it as it helps you become efficient, doing more, quicker. We must all get into the habit of making lists, which can help us go back and see what is pending. However, keeping the list realistic is the secret. Projects that will take weeks or months to complete should be planned well in advance.
Rank your tasks in terms of priority and align them with your job demands and goals. Once you have a list of the things you need to complete, set your priorities and decide which jobs should be done first. We often tend to forget the critical things while we are busy accomplishing the others. Identify the project that is of high value to your organization and find means to proactively put it into your day-to-day task list. Make sure you prioritise it over lesser-significant work.
Urgency and importance go hand in hand, but it’s important to understand the difference between the two in order to maximize your productivity and quality of work.
Urgent tasks have to be taken care of on an immediate basis, but important chores are not always immediate.
Tip: Make sure that things from the urgent bucket don’t end up falling into the important bucket.
- Take a break
Always allow some downtime between tasks to take a moment for yourself. Restart after you’re feeling productive again. Go for a quick walk outdoors, do some office stretches, it will leave you re-energised and you will be able to focus on your work more. Some people work through lunch hours also, taking a 30- a minute break from work is an absolute necessity. Planning your day with a midday break will help you break-up your work into more manageable chunks. Try and move around at least once in an hour from your workstation to refresh your mind.
- Stop Procrastinating
Most people tend to tackle easy tasks first and push out the difficult ones for later, this only leads to an important task getting delayed. Don’t indulge in procrastination, always remember the famous saying ‘Never leave till tomorrow what you can do today’.The best time to take up a new task is always ‘now’ and hence it’s important for you to start making decisions.
- Track how you spend your time
Make it a habit to track your time. Try tracking everything you do for a week, and then learn from it. Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organiser so you know when you need to finish them. Always box your activities and give yourself a timeline to finish the task to ensure you are following the timeline.
Declutter your desk, your inbox, your task list and your life. Clutter can really influence your day at work and hence it’s important for you to declutter your desk and get organised. A tidy workspace and office make it easier to be productive. A cluttered cubicle can cause stress and negativity, in fact, it tends to affect your productivity. Looking at a messy desk in the morning can increase your stress and not only does that set a bad impression on others; it can be a distraction for yourself. An organised desk ensures good health, peace of mind and better productivity. It’s easier to find the things you need and finish tasks.
Aditya Malik, the author of this article, is a tech-entrepreneur, CEO and MD of Talentedge, one of the country’s new age, technology-driven certified interactive education companies.