Time management is a skill that even seasoned professionals struggle with from time to time. When tasks pile up, one can easily fall into the trap of slumps and forgotten deadlines. Thankfully, you can improve your time management practices over time with effort and dedication.
Dealing with work when you have zero motivation is an experience that’s all too familiar for everyone in the professional field. It’s time to check and apply these time management strategies for a more productive workday.
Time Management Strategies include :
- Schedules and to-do lists are your friends.
The first thing you should do before you start on any task is to sit down and list all the things you want to get done for the day. You could make it as detailed as possible by adding time slots or go with a simple checklist. If you have a schedule to stick to, you’ll feel more organized and your time will be subconsciously marked as “busy”, which places you in the right mindset.
Try the Pareto principle. An effective way of listing down your tasks is to prioritize each item based on the amount of effort it requires (the highest number being the most tedious task). Then, rearrange your list depending on its priority. The most straightforward tasks should be at the top and the hardest at the bottom. This practice ensures that you accomplish your critical low-effort tasks without draining your mental capacity and energy.
- Break down your tasks
Big tasks can be overwhelming, especially when it could take hours before you could tick it off your bucket list. One of the main culprits of demotivation is not seeing any progress on your scheduled task breakdown. Instead, try to break down your larger tasks by specifying the smaller steps that you need to accomplish. Doing so will help you keep track of your progress and make you feel better about the small steps you’re taking to finish an assignment.
- Take 10-minute time-outs.
Humans are nothing like robots. We get tired and lose energy when we push ourselves too much. While everyone wants to stay productive and finish tasks as early as possible, taking a few breaks wouldn’t hurt. It could even help speed up your work and improve the quality of your output. If you’ve been in front of your screen for a while, take 10 minutes to refresh. You could stand up, stretch, or even take a quick trip to the pantry to refill your mug. Even in an environment that glorifies “busy,” remember that it’s not a sin to breathe and relax for a bit.
- Multitasking is a myth.
It can be tempting to multitask, but trust us when we say you probably shouldn’t. Human brains can only handle so much information, and juggling different tasks will compromise the quality of your work. The illusion of multitasking can be pretty convincing, but we aren’t efficient when we’re dividing our attention. It’s still better to focus on one task so that you could finish it early (and with maximum efficiency) before moving on to the next.
- Squeeze in work during in-betweens.
You could be making use of your dead time by accomplishing small tasks. When you’re waiting for the next bus or your next meeting, go send out a few emails or start on the job that needs planning. Being productive during these minutes that you would typically spend mindlessly scrolling through social media has a positive impact on your overall mindset for the day. And before you know it, you’ll have an even shorter to-do list that’s easier to finish when it’s time to focus.
- Protect your time and your space.
Get rid of the clutter that affects your productivity. Anything that brings negative energy to your physical, digital, and mental space should be set aside when it’s time to work. Fostering a calm yet focused environment can help you breeze through your to-do list. You also won’t fall into the trap of afternoon slumps. Once you condition your mind that it’s time for work, everything else will follow.