Many of us will have made new year’s resolutions. Whether or not yours was to manage your time better, good time management will enable us to take more exercise, eat more healthily, be less stressed and generally achieve whatever we resolved to do!
Good time management also helps productivity – you can do more in a well-planned hour than you can in a chaotic afternoon. Good time management can even keep you motivated, and support a good work/life balance. Above all, it’s important in these trying times, with more of us working from home and juggling work and family.
Here are our top tips:
1. Audit your time
Before you jump in and change the way you work, take an audit of the way you work at the moment. Consider whether you yourself need to do everything that fills your day – for example, if you’re a business owner and you’re finding yourself fielding emails, win some time back by automating, delegating or outsourcing the process. Ask yourself exactly what each task is doing that benefits your business. If you have a colleague who always wants a meeting, but you know an email would be faster way to the same end, politely suggest it – you could both save a lot of time.
You should also look at how long it takes you to complete certain tasks, particularly ones you do regularly. That way, you know how much time to allocate to different tasks – you might even identify some areas for improvement at the same time! For example, if you’re finding that up- and downloading large files is causing work delays, consider an IT review to make sure you have the right bandwidth for your business.
2. Write a to do list
Now you know how roughly how long it takes you to complete each task, you can write a realistic to-do list. Number the items on it so you don’t have to stop at the end of each task and wonder what to do next.
Only add to it what you are going to do today – that will keep the list from getting unwieldy and overwhelming you. It should also mean that you finish the day feeling proud of yourself for achieving everything you set out to. This means you can spend your free time switched off from work, enjoying more time for yourself and your family.
3. Beat procrastination
At Get Ahead, we like to start with the worst job! It gets it out of the way, and gives us a sense of achievement before our first coffee break. With a strong start, it’s easier to stay motivated through the rest of the day.
4. Group similar tasks
It’s much more efficient to do tasks that require the same software or mental processes at the same time. Most tasks divide into core business and admin; many business owners find a morning of admin easier to manage than trying to keep on top of it in between other time demands. Many people set aside a day for invoicing – what other areas of your work could you apply that principle to?
5. Take breaks
You can’t work all the time without sacrificing your productivity. Remember to factor in a proper lunch break as well as short breaks in the morning and afternoon. Decide what time you’re going to take them and stick to them! It can be a great motivator to see it’s 10am and know that if you get this task completed by 10.30, you can celebrate with a break, and go back to work afterwards knowing you’re up to date.
If you’re struggling to manage your time, a VA may be able to help. Whether you need to outsource a time-consuming task that you dread or you need some help working smarter, the Get Ahead team have the expertise to support you. And if you’ve reviewed your working practices and realised you’d be better off working for yourself, you could be our newest regional director. Get in touch today on 01483 332 220 – we’d love to hear from you.