Late bloomers need to manage time better at work to stay productive and accomplish more tasks within the shortest time. Different people need different time management skills. Some people struggle with self-discipline. Others find it difficult to stay motivated. Know yourself better to understand what time management strategy will work best for you.
By incorporating these strategies, you can manage time better at work and achieve more satisfaction.
1. Do a time audit
A time audit is a complete deep dive into where your time is going. When you perform a time audit, you gain insight into your time-wasting habits. A time audit reveals that the way we spend our time is significantly different from the way we think we do. The difference is referred to as the intention/action gap, and it affects us even though we are not aware of it.
The results from the audit should help you to identify habits, behaviors, and processes that you need to change. Avoid doing an audit on an unusual day, for instance, when significant team members are on leave, or when there is a work event. Your workload is likely to be different from a standard work day.
A time audit should take a few days. Once you are done, use the insights to develop SMART goals. Optimize your schedule and eliminate tasks that add little value to your time.
2. Create a daily planner
A daily planner enables you to stay organized and stick to your schedule. Use a daily planner to track your appointments and meetings and prepare in advance. Keep track of your deadlines and important dates.
Organize tasks in order of priority. While it may take you some time to get used to a daily planner, the outcome is that you will feel less stressed and overwhelmed with tasks. Ultimately, you will manage your time better at work.
3. Give each task a time limit
Avoid spending too much time on one single task. For instance, if you are a writer, avoid paying the whole afternoon typing away on your keyboard. Set out clear expectations and outputs whenever you commence a task. If you catch yourself drifting off, take a deep breath to realign yourself to your expected outputs.
If you realize that a task may turn out to be time-consuming, find ways of completing it more effectively. Remember to stop when you get the expected output.
4. Block distractions
There are a variety of distractions that can harm your intention to manage time better at work. Studies show that as much as 70% of office employees feel distracted at work. The average employee experiences about 56 distractions per day. Such distractions not only waste precious time but also lead to errors in work outputs.
While online distractions are becoming more prominent in recent days, they are not the only distractions you are likely to experience in the workplace. Therefore, managing distractions requires a creative approach. Avoid logging into social media in between tasks. Cut down on gossip and conversation with co-workers when you should be engrossed in work. Ensure that your work environment is free of clutter and also noise.
5. Take frequent breaks
Taking regular breaks has been linked to increased concentration. Make use of planned breaks to ensure you recharge, as opposed to working through a task for long hours. This will enable you to manage your time better at work. Use that time to do something completely disconnected from the task at hand. This is particularly important if you are working on a task that requires maximum concentration.
Avoid skipping lunch breaks. Use your lunch hour to feed your body with the nutrients and energy required to work through complex tasks. While it is necessary to take breaks, avoid taking unscheduled breaks since this will only disorient you and make you drift from the task at hand.
6. Avoid multitasking
Many of us believe that multitasking helps us save time. However, this is a myth. Doing more than one task at a time, especially complex tasks affects productivity and takes more time. A study by Robert Rogers, Ph.D., and Stephen Monsell revealed that “even when people had to switch completely predictably between two tasks every two or four trials, they were still slower on task-switch than on task-repeat trials.” Allocate time for each task to manage time better at work.
7. Avoid procrastinating
If you keep putting off an important task, you will likely waste valuable time. When you eventually get around to doing that task, you may find yourself running behind schedule. This will lead to stress. Stress, on the other hand, leads to poor performance. It is a vicious cycle that hinders your intention to manage time better at work. If you find yourself procrastinating, do a deep dive into the issue. Sometimes, procrastination may stem from the need to be perfect. Remember, done is better than perfect.
8. Build systems and routines
Create a system that helps you manage time better at work. Implementing a system gives structure to your day. Furthermore, a routine is helpful if you are trying to build healthy time management habits. For instance, if you need to get up early to conclude a task, it would be wise to establish a routine of sleeping early. Wake up at the same time every day. Begin the day with the most important tasks. Ensure you eat a balanced diet. Avoid skipping breakfast, the most important meal of the day. Incorporate self-care and rest into your routine.
9. Use time management tools/apps
Time management apps are effective tools that can help late bloomers manage their time better at work. There are innumerable time management apps, from to-do lists and planners to reminders and calendars that can help you keep time. Make use of apps like Trello to help you manage your projects and stay on schedule. Choose an app that best suits your needs.
10. Accept your limitations
The hack to time management is not working more hours, but using the limited time to achieve the most results. Accept your limitations. Only pick up tasks that you can handle. Delegate work if you can. Be realistic with your time constraints. Set realistic timelines. Be willing to accept when you have limited capacity or skills. Some people work faster than others. Keep this in mind when setting timelines. When you plan your day, leave room for emergencies and unexpected events that may demand your time. Learn to accept help. Take time to rest. You will be surprised how this goes a long way to help manage time better at work.
Adopt these insightful strategies to manage time better at work. The benefits of time management are innumerable. Remember, you only get 24 hours each day. People who manage their time better are more productive. They have more energy for their priorities. You also have more free time to do things you love. Equally important, be self-aware. Accept your limitations. Remember, no one manages time perfectly. The secret is not to be perfect, it is to manage time better at work. Do this progressively and reap the benefits.