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It seems that being “Time Poor” is an almost universal condition among the modern workforce. The pressure of increased productivity and its demands upon our time has resulted in some people thriving and meeting this challenge head-on, whereas others do not fare so well and tend to buckle under the strain. The symptoms include staying late into the night on consecutive evenings, unanswered e-mails, micromanagement of even the briefest tasks, and an unwillingness to say “no” to any request. If this describes you (or someone that you work with), you are almost certainly suffering from poor time management. There are several measures that you can take to improve the situation.
Fix your attention on the most important things. If something looks like it will take less than two minutes – get it done straight away. But do not allow the smaller issues to delay working out the big problems, which will only get bigger while you spend time sorting out the smaller ones.
2. Plan Productively
Use the most productive part of the day to your advantage. Concentration levels can change at different times of the day, and some people report feeling more productive in the morning, whereas others feel fresher after a game of squash. Decide when you feel most productive and use this time to tackle the big tasks.
3. Don’t Delay
Tackle things head-on. Procrastination will defeat even the most resolute manager, so seize the opportunity to complete those tasks as soon as you get in to reduce the pressure on the rest of your day. Explain that you will be housekeeping for couple of hours and don’t want to be disturbed.
4. Phone and E-mail usage
Although in reality we have very little control over the need to respond to mails and calls, it might be worth making it clear to others that you can only reached between certain times in order to devote your energies to your paperwork. Reassure clients that they will definitely be able to reach you at fixed times throughout the day.
5. Don’t be afraid to delegate
It is not possible to do everything, and you don’t have to. You are allowed to delegate tasks to other employees and reduce the little chores that you don’t really need to attend to. First decide if a set task can only be achieved by you; if not, transfer it to someone who is equally capable.
6. Organise your Workspace
If you’re printing a huge amount of paper just to remind you of things to do, and your workspace is a sea of post-it notes, then it’s time for a clean-up. The lack of coordination in your personal space will reflect badly on your capacity to get things done. It also means that you are not making the most of online resources to help you.
7. Find time for yourself
Even the most organised worker can find their train of thought interrupted by well-meaning colleagues. If you are being bombarded with calls, e-mails and questions, make it clear to your colleagues that you are going to step out and deal with your own material before you can become distracted. This is perfectly OK and many companies have formal leave to grant “Me Time” to employees.
8. Keep Notes
The amount of time that we can fritter away doing seemingly menial things can eat into our productivity. Make a note of everything that you have over the past couple of days and see how much of this can be reduced to give you more chance to improve your own productivity.
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