Nearly everyone has struggled with time management at work. You get to work, have coffee, and sit at your desk, ready to start. You’re determined to meet deadlines, start new projects, and attend every meeting.
Then, real life happens. You leave late, get stuck in traffic, and sit at your desk, frustrated and feeling rushed. After looking at your schedule, you realize you have back-to-back meetings until after lunch, and you realize your plan for the day has become a distant dream.
The good news is that there are ways to get back the time you feel you don’t have during your day. Simply prioritizing tasks or trying to multitask doesn’t always create the time you need to complete your work on time. You can use plenty of techniques to manage your time, and we’ve compiled the three most effective time management techniques to help alleviate stress, avoid feeling overwhelmed, and complete tasks on time.
The Benefits Of Time Management
Before we dive into the methods of time management, let’s look at the benefits of managing your time effectively at work.
Improving productivity is one of the most significant benefits of managing your time effectively. When you use time management techniques and prioritize the most critical tasks, you spend more time on tasks to achieve your goals and less time feeling ineffective.
Planning your time and prioritizing critical tasks alleviates the need to rush and meet deadlines at the last minute. As a result, stress levels decrease, and you feel more accomplished throughout the day. Stress doesn’t just affect your productivity and efficiency, it also affects you physically. Stress can cause insomnia, anxiety, increased blood pressure, and more. Reducing stress creates a healthier workforce and has a positive impact on productivity.
Better Work Environment
Creating a better work environment correlates with stress reduction. Less stressed employees are more likely to get along, leading to a happier work environment. As a result, companies tend to have lower turnover rates, are more efficient, and are more collaborative.
Improved Work-Life Balance
When employees manage their time better, it eliminates the need to work late or on days off. This allows employees to leave their work at work and enjoy time off outside of work. With a better work-life balance, you avoid burnout and increase employee health, impacting your company with happier and more efficient employees.
Improved Work Quality
When employees manage their time well, they can focus on delivering quality work on time. On the other hand, rushing to finish tasks increases the likelihood of mistakes, and one has to go back through and correct errors in the work already performed. This is one of the most important benefits of time management.
Generally speaking, improving time management skills leads to meeting deadlines. Deadlines motivate employees to get things done but can also cause stress. Time management strategies help employees meet deadlines and alleviate the stress of not completing work on time.
Time management helps managers make better decisions. Most managers feel pressure when trying to make a decision, especially if they’re under a time crunch. When time is managed correctly, time is increased for essential tasks, such as working through key issues before rushing to make a decision.
Most of us procrastinate, and it’s hard to stop completely. However, you can reduce procrastination by understanding the reasons and taking steps to tackle the problem. Good time management helps you stay focused and complete tasks on time.
Be More Successful
When you and your employees are less stressed, happier, and more productive, it’s more likely that recognition and career advancement will follow. This success is great for motivation and morale, especially when employees stay with your company because they have the opportunity to grow.
These are just a few of the benefits effective time management techniques provide. Now, let’s look at the time management techniques you can use to help improve productivity and efficiency.
Developed in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique came about because Cirillo couldn’t focus on his studies and complete assignments. To help his focus, he asked himself to commit to just 10 minutes of focused study time. When he saw that it worked, he found a tomato (Pomodoro in Italian) shaped kitchen timer, creating the Pomodoro Technique.
The Pomodoro Technique is excellent if you:
- Experience being distracted by small things that derail your entire workday
- Work past the point of optimal productivity
- Have a lot of open-ended work without a set deadline. For example, studying for a test, researching for a blog post, etc.
- Are extremely optimistic about what you can complete in a day (we’ve all been there)
The idea behind Pomodoro is that a timer instills a sense of urgency. It eliminates the feeling that you have endless time in the workday to get things done and then get distracted or procrastinate. This technique forces you to take breaks to help you from experiencing burnout and instead feel accomplished when you complete tasks.
An example of the Pomodoro Technique would look something like this:
You’ve decided to write a 1000-word blog post about goal setting. You have to research, write, edit, and make final edits. The time frame is slightly ambiguous, you have four days to do it, and you generally wait until the fourth day to finish it.
Applying the Pomodoro technique, you can get your post written in less time and before the deadline.
1. Set the timer for 25 minutes - dedicate this time to researching different ways to set goals.
2. Take a five-minute break after the timer goes off - stand up, stretch, or do anything that takes your focus off the task.
3. Set the timer for 25 minutes - dedicate this time to framing your blog post, title, headings, etc.
4. Take another five-minute break after the timer goes off.
5. Set the timer for 25 minutes - dedicate this time to creating the content under your title and headings.
6. Take a five-minute break
7. Set the timer for 25 minutes - review your work, ensure it’s correct and send it off.
8. Now, take a much longer break. Somewhere between 30 minutes to an hour is best, and this long rest helps you recharge and prepare for the next set of tasks.
It seems so simple! And it is. There are plenty of online timers you can use or an alarm on your phone. Whatever way works best for you to set your time is ok.
Time blocking is a technique where you divide your day into blocks of time. Each block is dedicated to a singular task, a group of tasks, and only those tasks.
Time blocking is a time management method that asks you to divide your day into blocks of time. Each block is dedicated to accomplishing a specific task or group of tasks, and only those specific tasks. So instead of keeping an open-ended to-do list of things you’ll get to as you’re able, you’ll start each day with a concrete schedule outlining what you’ll work on and when.
Review your tasks weekly and take stock of your weekly tasks when implementing Time Blocking. Next, they roll over to the next if you don’t get tasks done during the day. Repeat this process regularly to ensure you meet deadlines and alleviate the stress of having too much to do and not having enough time.
This method is also called time boxing, task batching, or day theming. But, no matter what you call it, it’s a simple and effective way to take control of your workday.
You should try Time Blocking if you:
- Find yourself juggling many different projects or having multiple responsibilities in your job.
- Spend a lot of time in “reactive mode,” such as responding to emails and messages.
- Your day is interrupted by meetings.
- Experience constant interruptions during the day.
- Struggle to find the time and mental space for big-picture thinking.
Depending on your style, you can use a paper planner or your calendar app on your computer. Whichever way you do it, Time Blocking helps build the structure and time management you need to create an organized workflow and accomplish more during your week by eliminating multiple distractions.
The One-Minute Rule
The One-Minute Rule is pretty simple. You take any task you can finish in one minute or less and do it immediately. So, for example, if you have an urgent email that needs your attention, respond as soon as you get settled into your desk.
The One Minute Rule is a place to start when trying to increase productivity and accomplish more in a day. It’s so simple to accomplish, and because it’s done in one minute or less, you have small wins to help you keep going on larger tasks because little things aren’t nagging at you.
There are limitations to this rule and times when it should and shouldn’t be used. For example, most of us have access to our email on our smartphones. If you apply the rule to every email in your inbox, you’ll experience burnout and might be answering emails well after work hours. Unless you’re expected to be connected to your work email, answering every email gets overwhelming and frustrating. Only respond to those emails that are urgent and time-sensitive. The rest can wait until you have more time to respond.
Implementing The Right Technique
These techniques are easy but may go nowhere without the right encouragement and direction.
I built Bench Builders to help manufacturing companies implement training and organizational improvement to engage employees and grow businesses. You’ll experience the benefits of coaching, training, and strategic planning with my proven methods. Schedule a call with me and learn how Bench Builders helps businesses like yours create and implement the changes necessary to help your employees increase productivity.
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