Whether you work from home, run a business or are in charge of a team, you have to find the best way for you, to get things done. So much is written about productivity and how a person should use their time that it can get a bit confusing. Below are five tips that appear to be mentioned most often.
Tip 1. How You Spend Your Time
The best way to find out what takes your time as opposed to what you meant to be doing with that time is to keep a record of everything you do for the next week. Break the day up into twenty or thirty minute intervals, once you have your sheet or page ready you will need to note how the time is spent ad you go. During this time you should still keep your daily do list on the go.
Managing time is a bit like managing your eating, unless you keep a true and detailed record for a while it will be difficult to identify where the time is going or where the weight has come from – just in case you are dealing with both problems. At the end of each day compare your original to do list, with the list of things you have actually done. This is the best way to see exactly where the time has gone.
Tip 2. Don’t Get Distracted
If you have taken the advice given above, you may find that a lot more time than you originally thought has gone into distractions. When people stop by your desk to chat, even for a minute or two, it distracts your attention away from what you are doing. Once a person has been distracted from what they intended to do, it takes even more time to get back into the flow.
Identify distractions such as unsolicited calls – let the answer phone pick things up, if it’s important then deal with it, if not jot it down to deal with later. Once you have commenced a task you need to be firm about distractions, eventually people will get the message that their concerns might have to wait until you have finished what you are doing.
Tip 3. The Do List – Which Things are Important
You have probably heard it before, but when you deal with important tasks first, it’s much easier to decide whether urgent tasks actually need your attention or whether they can be delegated to someone else. If you work from home this is often not an option, your priority might be getting family, friends, and neighbours to recognise that you are working and don’t have time to take in parcels, feed starving cats, etc.
Tip 4. Identify Your Optimum Time
Everyone has certain periods in the day when they are at their most productive, identify when you are most productive and schedule important tasks – tasks that must be done – for that time.
When you manage to complete the most important things it is much easier to feel that you have used that time wisely and productively.
Tip 5. Do things in Batches
When you are writing your do list for the following day, try to identify tasks that can be done together, here are a few examples:
- Deal with emails first thing in the morning, again at lunchtime and once more towards the end of the day, turn off email notifications in-between times as this can be distracting.
- Schedule phone calls together, that way it is much easier to let the answering machine deal with unexpected calls.
- If you have two or three tasks that are very similar then do those together.
- Specify times when you are available to talk to other staff members or if you work from home interact with clients etc.
If you really want to be more productive when you are working, the most important of these tips is the first one; you really will be surprised at how you actually spend your time.
Written by Gozde Kar for Automatic Access