10 ways to improve your time management skills

Published by Kathryn Anda, PEPworldwide on 22 November, 2013

Do you find yourself routinely working overtime just to get all of your work done? Are your days getting longer, but you are getting less done?

For many people, time management skills are something that they really need to learn and the sooner, the better. If you feel yourself become more stressed out as the days go by you are going to become a lot less productive if you don't start to take control of your workload and the time you spend doing that work on a daily basis. Here are ten things you can do to improve your time management skills:

Stressed business man1. Clear away the clutter. If your desk is cluttered, it can be a source of stress whether you know it or not. When you walk into your office in the morning and you see the desk is stacked up to the ceiling with paperwork so that you can't even see the surface of your desk, you need to tackle that clutter. Start by purging whatever is out of date, and file things away using a reminder system. If you need to deal with something by a certain date, put the item away and place a reminder in your calendar. The ideal organised desk should only have what you are currently working on.

2. Tackle your email inbox. Organize your emails into folders, delete the junk mail, deal with what is urgent and forward other emails that other people should be dealing with. Check your email one or two times per day only. The more often you look at your email, the more time you will waste in your day. What you thought would take ten minutes can easily turn into a half hour or more, so avoid constant email checking.

3. Delegate. If you have a lot of work on the go that is all time sensitive with a lot of deadlines, delegate some of those projects to other people you work with – with a date and or a time of when you need it.. Be sure to brief the person well,

4. Prioritise. What are you assessed on?  This is what is important.   Work through the work in the order of importance rather than urgency! 

5. Utilise voice mail. When you are busy working on a project or something of importance, don't allow yourself to be interrupted with phone calls. You have voice mail, so let the caller leave a message and then deal with all of your phone messages at one or two times during the day. Each time you are interrupted it can take as long as 20 minutes to get back into your train of thought.

6. Avoid multi-tasking. This is a way of stretching yourself too thin. If you are working on a project, talking on the phone and typing an email, none of the three things that you are working on is getting the proper attention. Do one thing at a time and resist the temptation to do more than that one thing until it has been completed.

7. Take breaks. Take a couple of fifteen minute breaks during the day and take a proper lunch away from your office. Being rested is a good way to clear your head so that you can concentrate on your daily work load and make the most of the time in your day. Eat a healthy diet and make sure that you get plenty of exercise. A healthy mind is supported by a healthy body and good wholesome food is what a healthy body requires for fuel.

8. Learn to say no. When you have too many projects and too much work to do, you may begin to become stressed. This is not a good situation because you will feel pressured to complete all of the work that you have taken on. Be prepared to questions the importance of the activity vs. what you were planning to work on.

9. Do it right the first time. When you take the time to do a quality job the first time you will not have to redo the work. When you are pressured to complete more work than you can handle, quality may slip and this can lead to poor performance overall. Do it right the first time.

In today's “instant gratification” world everyone expects things to be done at a rapid pace. When we are always connected through the internet or our devices, we do not leave ourselves the down time that we need to rest and recharge. What happens over time is that we become more and more stressed and we start to experience burnout. It is important to get enough sleep and rest and prioritize your day in order to get the most out of it.

Hope this helps, what techniques or tools will make your day and week easier for you to do what you need to do? 

PEP can help you to improve your time management >

Further Reading:


workplace stress, email inbox management, time management, personal productivity at work


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