Effective Time Management for a More Productive Day
As Bruce Lee once said, “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” Wise words from a martial arts master, as applicable to the philosophy of business as it is to any other discipline. But can you honestly say that you spend as much time ticking off jobs as you do thinking and rethinking them?
To get you on the right track, we’ve put together some top tips for effective time management that are perfect for any role and industry. If you apply them to your regular routine, you’ll find that a lot more gets done despite each day still lasting just 24 hours.
Sleep and eat well
This may sound like it belongs in an article about health and fitness, yet it’s just as applicable to professional productivity. If you don’t get enough sleep, skip breakfast or eat the wrong type of food before you begin working, you’ll feel sluggish and off-course. This is easily rectified by identifying the times for going to bed and getting up that best suit your body clock, followed by a morning meal with plenty of vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Walk or cycle to work
Depending on how far away you live from the workplace, you may be able to get there on foot or by bike. This will get both your brain and body functioning sooner, helping you to ease into the day’s demands far more easily than if you drive or take public transport. If this isn’t possible, try getting off the bus one stop early or parking a little farther away, plus take the stairs rather than the lift as a means of combatting the sedentary lifestyle.
Check your emails
Once you’ve arrived at the office, begin by going through your inbox. A relatively easy duty, it’s a great way to get back into the business frame of mind by catching up on developments and answering enquiries early. It also gives a sense of achievement right at the beginning of the day, which can act as a motivation boost.
Turn off notifications
Whilst phone calls, emails and text messages may require your immediate attention, the blinking lights and disruptive beeps of social media notifications can really put you off your stride. Unless you’re a social media manager who needs to answer digital enquiries promptly, we recommend that you change your mobile’s settings so that interruptions are kept to a minimum.
It’s easy to think that the brain works well on caffeine, and this can be true to an extent. However, your brain actually works better on water, so staying hydrated will keep you alert, sharp and responsive, which in turn aids problem solving, creative thinking and decision making.
Segment your projects
Many people try to tackle multiple aspects of one project in one go, which rarely leads to the best results. Instead, invest a little time into splitting the project into clear responsibilities and manageable timeframes. This will also give you a greater sense of ownership and fulfilment as the jobs get ticked off one by one.
There’s nothing wrong with post-it notes and old-fashioned diaries, but we highly recommend that you also keep a digital calendar. By doing so, you have access to your schedule everywhere you go, plus there’s the option of inviting others to view it so that meetings can be arranged far more efficiently. It’s also worth adding personal appointments, allowing you to plan your work-life balance with ease. (If you don’t want others to see your private timetable, it can be created as a separate calendar and added alongside the business version.)
Multitasking isn’t all it’s cracked up to be
Splitting your focus across multiple duties at the same time is a recipe for disaster. Though it can be tempting to reply to emails and update a spreadsheet in the middle of writing a presentation, you’ll find that nothing receives 100% of the attention it deserves. Monotasking is the way forward!
Delegation isn’t a sign of weakness
Passing tasks to appropriate members of staff is mutually beneficial. Whilst it frees up your time for the more challenging activities, it gives others the opportunity to learn something new, enhance their skill set and feel a greater sense of accomplishment. When done properly, delegation is an art that helps individuals and companies to grow.
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