Employers want to hire workers who can prioritize and manage their work. In today’s workplace, more is being demanded of workers than ever before. You have to accomplish more in less time, with fewer resources. This puts a lot of pressure on you to be able to manage your time more efficiently so you can get more done, be less stressed and have a feeling of accomplishment. If you aren’t doing a great job of managing your time, then you probably aren’t able to deliver projects on time or you end up missing a few important meetings. You have to always stay on task because in today’s work environment, you can easily be replaced on a moment’s notice. In order to help you better manage your time, I’ve provided six valuable tips below:
1. Start with a list of easy tasks that can be completed quickly.
By organizing a list of easier tasks first, you can get the smaller stuff out of the way and give more of your attention and effort to the bigger projects. Also by doing this, you won’t have to worry about those smaller tasks that could end up getting in the way of the ones that really matter to you and your organization. Let’s say you have a list of twenty tasks that you have to get done in a given day. If you can eliminate five quickly, it won’t seem as bad and it can be very motivating to accomplish several items in a short period of time. It’s intimidating having so many tasks sometimes, so eliminating the easier tasks first can take away much of the stress that the length of the to-do list caused in the first place.
2. Break a big task into smaller tasks.
Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start when you have a major project to complete. To confront this, you should take that project and break it down into a few smaller tasks that you can do without much stress. You can also batch similar tasks together. For instance, if you have to work with a client and write a blog post on the same topic, they can be batched together and counted as one item.
3. Start creating your to-do list for tomorrow, today.
Before you go home from work, the last thing you should be doing is to create a list of things you need to do for tomorrow. This way, when you head into work tomorrow, you are ready to go! This is usually not a lot of work because you can just take your list of things you didn’t accomplish today and prioritize them for tomorrow. By doing this, you are setting yourself up for success for the next day, which takes stress off and gives you something to strive for.
4. Use a calendar to keep track of everything.
I use my iPhone calendar to run my life, I put everything in there. If there’s someone I know I should call in two months, I’ll mark it down to send them an email then. If I have a speaking engagement or a potential client I have to follow up with, I’ll mark it down. This makes life much easier and you end up not forgetting anything, making you more efficient. Another trick I do is to set two reminders for every event; one that occurs a day before and the other that happens fifteen minutes before. This way, I never miss anything important.
5. Ignore distractions as best as you can.
There are so many things that can get you off-track. You could get phone calls or instant messages, your co-worker might bother you or you might have Facebook open. You need to ignore as many distractions as possible so you can stay focused on completing your to-do list. A simple way to do this is to block off a half hour each day when you can just focus on the distractions and nothing else. The more you distract yourself, the harder it will be to complete your goals and the more stress you will end up having.
6. Try not to multitask if you can.
I fall into this trap all of the time and most people my age do as well. We try and do multiple projects at once and end up not getting anything done at all. Research shows that multi-tasking actually decreases productivity. If you focus on each individual task separately, you will be more effective in all that you do.
Any other tips for managing your to-do list?