Mastering Time Management at Work
While Brown may be right, he also forgot Beyoncé. You have exactly the same amount of hours in the day as Beyoncé, so you can be just as fierce and successful, right? Theoretically, yes, but time management is difficult to perfect.
Most of us experience the woes of time management at work. On Monday mornings, we’re optimistic for the week ahead, that we’ll tackle all our deadlines, get a jump start on new projects, and maybe even make it to the gym before heading home to a an already-prepped meal. But then there are 50 emails from a crisis that you have to handle between the three meetings scheduled for the day, so, you crawl under your desk and hide — just kidding. But, deciding where to begin is difficult.
The first step is understanding the difference between what is urgent and what’s not. Try looking at the “Priority Matrix” from SkillsYouNeed.com: Tasks are divided into high importance versus low importance, and high urgency versus low urgency, and then into action item priority.
Consider adding 15 to 20 minutes to your daily routine to gather your thoughts and get organized on the tasks ahead — maybe early in the day or during your lunch break. Include what you absolutely need to accomplish today, then the next day, over the course of the week, and the following week. If you already know that Thursday is booked between client calls and team meetings, plan that day accordingly. If Tuesday looks pretty open, go ahead and use the time to tackle some more time-consuming projects then.
At Caster we use dual-monitors at our desks to help speed along processes – closing and shutting windows can take a lot of time! You can also use the flag/tasks feature in Outlook to bookmark something to go back to or keep a running handwritten list of your own. Maybe some items on your to do list can wait until the next week or following. In that case, calendar appointments are a super helpful way to track dates and deadlines in the future. For example, you can set the appointment to remind you two weeks ahead of deadline to start writing a draft. Calendar appointments work as a reminder system as well – try sending one to yourself with time blocked for research or writing projects. If your calendar is visible to your co-workers, scheduling time for meetings can be done effectively and with minimal back and forth if your time is blocked as needed.
Time management skills can be sharpened again and again over time so don’t be afraid of some trial and error. You’ll find your groove eventually and can hit the ground running day in and day out.
Any tips or tricks to conquering the to-do list and getting it done in a reasonable amount of time? Let’s talk about it on Twitter.