How to better manage your time at work: 12 tips (and what to avoid)
Jul 19, 2021
It has happened to all of us that we have a lot of work to do and it seems that there are not enough hours to finish it. "Buff, I don't have time ..." we say to ourselves but, let's face it, we all have the same 7 days with 24 hours each. The problem is not that there is no time, it is that we plan it badly.
How to better manage time at work is a question that all the hard-working workers have asked ourselves and then we are going to see strategies to achieve this, as well as how to prevent our hours from fading as smoothly as grains do in an hourglass.
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How to better manage your time at work and perform better
Our weeks have 7 days and each of them has 24 hours, not one more, not one less. Time is the same for everyone in terms of quantity, but not in its use. Some manage to do all the tasks they must without missing time to dedicate to their leisure and family, while others finish their obligations very late
In the society in which we live it is essential to manage time, since at the slightest that we lack we begin to overload, feel stress and notice how everything we wanted to do has to cancel.
Work obligations are ahead of our hobbies, family, friends and other activities pleasant, which means that the longer we take to do our work, the less we will enjoy the leisure. Poor time management frustrates us and makes us feel like we are losing our life.
How to better manage time at work is something that many want but few get. There is no incomprehensible mystery, it is simply a matter of learning to organize. Of course, there can always be unforeseen events, but most of the hours we see pass are time that, well used, will allow us to finish our work tasks as soon as possible.
Ways to better manage time
Next we will see we are going to see several tips and strategies to get the most out of the time being at work, to Thus, we have more for those pleasant activities that we want to do once we have finished with our work obligations.
1. Use an agenda
Agendas allow us to manage time in the medium and long term, putting important dates and keeping them well in mind. Whether in digital or physical format, the important thing is that we have one to organize the tasks and plan well when we have to deliver the reports or meet our deadlines. We must always have it at hand, to write down all our commitments and consult it frequently. Let's not trust our memory because, as much as we think it is infallible, it is not.
2. Assign a specific time to tasks
If we work tirelessly and continuously, sooner or later physical and mental fatigue will appear, which will prevent us from performing adequately. It is for this reason that it is necessary to assign a certain time to each activity and leave some free time between tasks, even if it is very short. This can be contradictory, but considering that beyond 50 minutes it is difficult to keep focused, a short break can recharge us and keep us working satisfactorily.
The ideal is to put in our schedule when they start to do each of the tasks that have been assigned to us and when we should take a short break. We can rely on the Pomodoro method, working 25 minutes (1 pomodoro) or 50 (2 pomodoros) and then taking a 5-minute break between periods. Thus we will be able to move forward without feeling exhausted, properly carrying out the functions that we have to develop.
3. Set goals
It is highly recommended to set daily, weekly and even monthly goals. This strategy is a very good option to carry out short jobs correctly, and it also motivates us to see how much we are achieving. These objectives must be ambitious, but also realistic and achievable since, otherwiseWhen we see that we are not complying with them, we are going to be demotivated. The objectives to be set must be short, medium and long term.
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4. Prioritize tasks
Not all tasks are of equal importance. We must start with the most important, the highest priority. No matter the order in which we prioritize things, The important thing is that we do it since finishing the most important things sooner will mean that we will have free time first.
Anything that is small or that is not urgent to fix can wait. In relation to this, it is essential to know which are our best performance hours, those in which we best we concentrate, in order to do the tasks that require the most resources with the greatest possible efficiency and without mistakes. The least important thing is better to leave it at times when our performance is not very high, usually after eating or late in the workday.
5. Start at least nice
On many occasions we leave what we least want to do until last and that is a big mistake. The best we can do is do what is a bad drink as soon as possible because, that way, we will get rid of it before and more we can enjoy the rest of the day. If we get rid of what stresses us first, the rest of the things to do will be easier to do.
6. Divide time into blocks
A very good strategy to take advantage of and efficiently manage time is to divide the working day into blocks. If we have to do complex tasks, which at first glance make us very unwilling to start them, we can always break them down into simpler tasks, organized in such a way that every little step is a Advance. By converting complex tasks into several simpler ones, we can optimize resources, save time and better organize time..
7. Give yourself rewards
While we should not abuse, we can reward ourselves for doing homework. We can give ourselves small prizes such as, for example, having a chocolate bar at the end of a report, reading a book that we like for half an hour, watching a video that interests us... These small prizes will drive and motivate us to do and finish the tasks we have to do.
8. Organize a good work environment
The place where we work is very important, more than we think. To the extent that we can, we should work in a place with a good desk, a comfortable chair, good lighting, and without many distractions.. We can give it a personal touch to make it cozy but always making sure it is neat and well organized. A table full of papers, with office instruments totally cluttered, is an environment that prevents us from concentrating on our tasks.
9. Set limits
Spending several hours in a row doing the same thing, without getting up from the chair or to stretch our legs a little, is very bad for our health and our productivity. We are not going to do things better by working longer hours. If we see that a task is costing us too much or that we are easily distracted, let's take some time, either changing tasks for a while or directly resting. It is not that we are abandoning what we were doing, it is that we needed to leave it on stand-by for a while.
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10. Avoid multitasking
But in the same way that it is okay to leave a task half done for a while, we should not think that we will work well if we constantly jump from task to task. Concentrating is something that requires time, so we cannot dedicate ourselves to doing two tasks alternately at the same time, since the only thing we are going to achieve is to get tired very quickly and take twice as long to do them. Multitasking is the worst enemy of efficient management weather. Performance is much higher when we focus on a single task.
11. Don't be afraid to say no
It is essential to learn to say no when we cannot do something because we already have a lot of work. Sometimes our colleagues try to hide his obligations on us, or even our boss abuses his situation and gives us tasks that it is impossible for us to finish today without sacrificing part of our time free. Sometimes it can be accepted, but it is always going overboard. If we see that they are asking too much of us, we should not be afraid to say no.
12. Delegate to third parties
Sometimes we can feel that the situation is overwhelming us, especially if we have been given many tasks, more than we expected. It is important to avoid stress and delegate some of our tasks to a colleague or subordinate, without abusing trust or going overboard or giving him a task for which he has not been hired. The question is not to put someone else to do our part, but yes send activities that are difficult for us to do completely on our own.
What takes time away from us: mistakes and distractions at work
Now that we have seen 12 tips to learn how to better manage time at work, it is time to see what takes time away from us. There are several errors and distractors that hinder our good performance while in the workplace, thieves of time who, if detected, will make us manage our day in the best way labor.
It is clear that interruptions are what most spoil our time organization. At the slightest that something interrupts us, our concentration vanishes, causing us to need a few valuable minutes to focus on what we were doing again. The longer it takes us to regain concentration, the longer it will take us to be productive again and, also, we run certain risks of making more mistakes.
2. Mobile phone
The phone takes time and a lot. Either to gossip about the latest thing someone has put on Instagram, what our friends write to us on WhatsApp or some call from a family member, the mobile phone distracts us and prevents us from being efficient and of course, the longer it takes to make the things.
A good idea is to turn off the mobileHowever, given that we live in a hyper-connected society and that we depend a lot on it, the best thing to do is We can do is move it out of our field of vision so that, thus, we only remember it when let's see. It is also very important to leave it in silence and tell our family and friends very clearly that if it is not to warn us of a real urgency that they do not call us.
3. Postpone tasks
Putting off unpleasant or complex tasks is the worst thing we can do because the more time passes, the less we will have to do them and the more it will cost us to do them well when we decide to do so. The best we can do, as we have commented before, is to do them right at the first moment of the day because that way we get rid of the bad drink as soon as possible.
If we want to better manage time at work, it is essential that we know what we have to do, structure tasks into small activities that are easy and quick to do and start at least pleasant. It is very important to take into account what times of the day we are most productive and to put the simplest and most less important in those where it is more difficult for us to concentrate, such as after eating or at the end of the day labor.
Distractions, especially interruptions and cell phones, hurt you the most to our time management because the more times we lose concentration, the less productive we will be. It is essential to work in a comfortable room, where we are isolated from any non-urgent distraction and we are very clear when is the most appropriate time to use the mobile. Our loved ones should know from what time to what time we work, telling them that they should not call us unless it is for something very important.
- Allen, D. (2001). Getting things done: the Art of Stress-Free Productivity. New York: Viking. ISBN 978-0-670-88906-8.
- Fiore, N.A. (2006). The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt- Free Play. New York: Penguin Group. ISBN 978-1-58542-552-5.
- Le Blanc, R. (2008). Achieving Objectives Made Easy! Practical goal setting tools & proven time management techniques. Maarheeze: Cranendonck Coaching. ISBN 978-90-79397-03-7.