Time Management Tips To Get Work Done In Time (2024)
Getting work done on time is one of the greatest skills employers look for, well here are some of the best time management tips to get work done in time.
Time and tide wait for none. Time is tricky and time management is something that most people struggle with. The process of managing and dividing your time, dedicating tasks to be completed in a specific time period is what is known as time management. Essentially it helps in getting more work done in a relatively small time period. In a nutshell, management of time is prioritizing the work and scheduling the same as per priority.
Time management is an extremely rewarding and essential quality to have – in both, personal and professional lives. It increases the efficiency and effectiveness of an individual.
Everyone on this planet has the same amount of time in a week which is 168 hours and therefore with proper prioritizing of work one can either make it meaningful or useless which may lead them towards or away from their goals in life. Time is the precious commodity in life that needs to be effectively utilized because once the moment is gone, it cannot be retrieved back at any cost.
It depends on how we utilize that time, that makes the difference between those who achieve success and those who don’t. Most of the high achievers working at corporates are the ones who have mastered this art of time management, spending more time and resources which leads to more output for the company, thereby leading to an increase in the efficiency of the company.
It’s important not only in the corporate sector but most social institutions that exist. Effective time management makes it easier for an individual to stay organized and complete tasks with systematic efficiency. It is crucial to imbibe this quality and use it in every field of your life effectively, to maximize productivity and results.
Having said that, managing time has always been a Herculean task for most of us. Scheduling, organizing, and getting things done takes an effort and it’s only in our human nature to procrastinate. This task has only gotten more difficult now that we’ve been forced to remain inside our four walls with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Therefore, taking a day off and watching television in our pajamas has never been more appealing without any fear of general office timing. Yet, the employees still have to adhere to this new normal of work from home and have to utilize time management tips and processes, what with having to continuously look for work-life balance 24/7, by not only managing their homely chores but also the pressure of submitting work, online meetings to be scheduled, projects to be completed and appointments to be made.
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This pandemic has not only made the act of managing time difficult for just the people who have switched to working from home but the whole mass in general – including the youngsters, housewives, the retired, and the elderly. The younger generation is finding it hard to keep up with their online classes, struggling to meet assignment deadlines and prepare for their examinations in these uncertain times.
Housewives need to change their schedule to accommodate the schedules of the rest of the household. Working mothers especially are finding it difficult to divide their time between work and taking care of their children. With no house-help and maids, they have to do the household chores, cook the meals, clean the house, run after their kids, all while having to meet their work deadlines and earn their livelihood. Investing in technologies like a vacuum cleaner and discarding the brooms is one example of smart time management on their part.
For students and college folk, keeping up with their examinations and assignments has always been an issue. Adding the environment of uncertainty and an array of distractions at their fingertips, these tasks have become ever more difficult. Having to complete assignments, preparing for their semesters, coordinating with their peers for group projects – a mammoth of tasks to be done, but almost no time to do them.
Time management tips have never been more needed than they are now. To curtail the adding load of stress and increase efficiency in your work, managing time has become increasingly important. A bit of dedication and discipline can go a long way and help get things done on time. Prioritizing is key. To help you give a general idea of how one can effectively manage their time, we are suggesting a few time management tips to help you get your work done on time and boost productivity, to stay organized and utilize all the 24 hours of your wisely.
These time management tips broadly include –
- Effective planning
- Setting goals and objectives
- Setting deadlines
- Delegation of responsibilities
- Prioritizing activities as per their importance
- Spending the right time on the right activities
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Time Management Tips #1 – Prepare a checklist
Just as soon as your work starts piling up, it is advisable to start making a checklist. Writing down all the tasks to be completed in a checklist makes it easier to glance at the things you have to complete. It gives a perspective of the number of things that have to be completed and have been completed already. Note down everything you have to do, along with deadlines if they are relevant, and then proceed to start completing them. This is a super helpful method to prioritize your tasks and gives an overview of the things that have to be dealt with.
Time Management Tips #2 – Plan Ahead
Right before you sleep at night, plan ahead your day. Use a diary or even your mobile phones and laptops to write down the things you have to do when you wake up in the morning. Although diaries are a preferred medium to use for this task, you may make use of any medium that works for you to get things more organized. Manage your time effectively by jotting down the tasks you wish to accomplish that day. Here’s a sample you can glance through —
- Call Mohan
- Set up a meeting for Thursday, 11 am
- Draft a proposal
- Arrange bookshelves
You get the gist. It is important to follow through with the goals you set for your day and not just let it be just another paper you have to rip. Set achievable goals for yourself and follow them through with discipline and you’ll find your days to be much more productive and have time left for unwinding with a book or a series.
Time Management Tips #3 – To-Do Lists
To-do lists are a super-effective method to stay organized and to complete tasks. A To-do list helps you prioritize your tasks and list them down in an efficient order. The urgent task or the things to be completed higher up on the list with the tasks getting placed down according to their varying amount of urgency.
These lists help keep all your tasks in one place and make it easier for you to remember and go back to them. Managing time becomes easier with a well-jotted-down list and helps you stay organized and productive. It is important to note that writing down achievable goals is key here too. A well-structured list is an excellent tool to manage time.
Traditional mediums like pen and paper are the best way to make to-do lists but making them in your Notes application or documents is a good way too. A bunch of free software and applications are easily available on Android, macOS, iOS, and Windows that cater to this specific niche. Todoist is a leading application with a simple user-friendly UI design, which has made it a market favorite. Remember the Milk, Any. do, TickTick, Google Tasks are some of the other applications that help users make simple and effective to-do lists, making it easier to manage your day and time.
Time Management Tips #4: Say No to Electronics
We know, reading this hurts. So did writing this. But sometimes to achieve something, you have to take a break from things you love. In this case, we’re referring to all your electronic devices. Unless your work involves using electronics, switch off all your devices, and keep them aside.
Dedicate your time to a few hours of work and take breaks in between. For the people who need to use electronics for their work, a good way would be to install applications or extensions that don’t let you distract yourself with unproductive applications like social media or OTT platforms.
The temptation to just scroll away on Instagram or complete just one more episode of Game of Thrones is strong, but they are also the main cause we lose a large amount of time. Any list of Time management tips is incomplete without this point because let’s face it, we all lose our productivity and waste time on our electronics. Start batching these activities by setting a time in the day of 30 min to 45 min in a day and then get back to your task.
Bonus tip – Forest is a great application that doesn’t let you stray away from your tasks. With a very cute and user-friendly UI design, it keeps the users engaged in their tasks using the reward basis, by allowing you to digitally grow trees. The moment a user uses an application that they’re not supposed to, it withers the trees, snatching away their reward. This application is available on Play Store, App Store, Windows, and even as an extension on Google Chrome.
Time Management Tips #5 – Calendars and Alarms
A blast from the past, but rightly so, are utilizing calendars. Marking important dates, scheduling events, and meetings on a calendar, and chalking out your schedule has been a tried and tested method to manage your time and stay organized. Investing in a small desk-calendar is something we highly recommend.
A small calendar on your desk makes it super easy to glance through how your week is going to look like and to schedule in more work for yourself, giving yourself enough breaks in between too. A digital calendar works wonders too and can be synced with your mobile phones and laptops for easy access.
They also come up with a bonus feature – alarms! An alarm or a notification to remind you of when a deadline is nearing or when you intend to start working on something can get your gears running to finish off a task in time. Setting up alarms in your mobile phones for when you have to wake up on time before you start working or to remind you of break time is an excellent way of managing your time.
Time Management Tips #6 – Avoid Distractions
This might be a reiteration of Tip #3 but there are more distractions than just the social media kind. The book that is staring at you from across the desk? The packet of Maggi inviting you from the kitchen shelves? The telephones and cellphones ringing, waiting to be answered? The text messages beeping constantly for a new gossip to be shared?
It is also necessary on a couple of occasions to assertively say NO to any requests made by others if it is conflicting with your goals or important activities which are needed to be undertaken at that time.
It’s easier to give in to these distractions and leave your work for later, but the amount of work will just pile up. Have a good meal before sitting down to work, put your phone on mute or ‘Do not Disturb’ mode, and focus on the task at hand. The book can be read later when you allot break times for yourself, and how fun will it be to read without the pile of work staring down at you?
Time Management Tips #7 – Use a Planner/Organizer
One should prepare a list of goals and identify the most important goals and then allocate time to work on the goal. Planners are a boon to all people who like their things organized. A planner allows you to schedule tasks, take notes, scribble down ideas, set goals for yourself, and a whole lot more, all in one physical hardbound journal! People stand by the virtues of their planners, and rightly so.
It helps keep everything in one place and helps keep your time-table as organized as you make it out to be! Planners can be either in soft form or hard forms. It is better to list down major activities broadly in your diary/calendar while the soft forms like reminders and tasks in your phones or computers can be for the triggers.
Time Management Tips #8 – Set aside Unimportant Tasks
The golden rule of time management – Time management is priority management. Break down or list your tasks in four broad sections –
- Important and urgent
- Important but not urgent
- Urgent but not important
- Not important and not so urgent
Prioritize the tasks you have to complete and focus on the ones that are urgent and important. The work that is urgent but not so important can be delegated while all the work which is not urgent but important can be scheduled for a later time.
The work which is not urgent, nor important can be deferred. Dedicate yourself to completing the tasks that require more time and are of utmost urgency. This way, you’re getting a huge amount of work done and reducing the stash of work you have stored for yourself, and even gaining a bit of time to unwind if you delegate the tasks over to others.
Apply the Pareto principle of 80:20 in all walks of life, especially in time management. Generally, there will be 20% of the activities which if identified will lead you to complete 80% result while balance 80% of mundane activities which are routine work can either be delegated or clubbed together for the completion of work.
Before performing any task, make conscious decisions of delete, delegate, do now or defer. Here’s an example to better understand this – if there’s an online presentation that needs to be made on time management within the next 30 minutes, the activities that have to undertaken would include content preparation, downloading an online video conferencing application like Zoom or Google Meet, checking your internet connections, preparing the location giving a presentation in terms of noise level, proper background, etc.
Out of the above, if one spends more time on content preparation, which measures at about 20% of importance out of the total activities, the essential task of balancing the logistics arrangements can be delegated to another member. Therefore, with this principle, one can effectively meet the target to complete the task.
Time Management Tips #9 – Proper communication
Proper communication can save a lot of time. While delegating tasks if one does not convey the plans or intentions or requirements clearly, people would not understand the task or work that is to be undertaken. This unclarity may lead to conflicts and misunderstandings within the teams as well as management or groups. Therefore, communicating properly is a very important part of time management in what to convey and how to convey it internally as well as externally.
Time Management Tips #10 – Wake up Early
This tip might be more of a suggestion, but a reasonable one. All of us have 24 hours in a day. Since we cannot add more hours ourselves, we can carve more hours out for work ourselves. Waking up early gives you that extra bit of time to work and complete a task that would’ve been otherwise wasted. You can bring about a positive change in your lifestyle by going to bed early and waking up early too.
Set your alarm for 15 minutes before you have to wake up and keep your phone away from your bed, to avoid hitting the snooze button in the morning. Wake up early refreshed, drink a glass of water and you’ll have a whole day ahead of you to utilize the time effectively and maximize your productivity.
Utilize the early hours of the day in going through the list of things to be undertaken for the day which is important for achieving your immediate goal. As the mind and body are fresh in the morning, one should try to schedule activities that are seemingly difficult or boring but are important to be undertaken.
The effective time management approach is always to plan your day, week, month, or year in advance. One must allocate the task to the appropriate time slots as per the schedule of work planned during the day or week or month and keep some triggers in your system of activities which are before the scheduled activities planned.
Time Management Tips #11 – Avoid multitasking
It is advisable not to cram a lot of activities or multitask at the same time. Doing this leads to diversion as well as wastage of time for the activities one tends to undertake because then there is no focused approach to any one task. It is always better to schedule and dedicate time for each project separately. One should ask the following questions while setting out time for themselves –
- What do I really want? What is the outcome I am after? What is the specific measurable result?
- What is my purpose? What are my reasons?
- What do I need to do? What’s my massive action plan?
Any task or project, no matter how big, can and should be broken down into manageable smaller activities. An elephant cannot be eaten wholly at one go. However, if one plans to take one bite at a time then within a few days the entire giant can vanish. Therefore it is important to break down the task and attack the critical areas one by one to achieve any goal.
Time Management Tips #12 – Give yourself a break
Every once in a while, we all need a break to allow our minds to get refreshed and then be able to refocus on our work. All work with no breaks in between may do more harm than good. It affects our work and can have an adverse impact on our health as well.
An occasional cup of herbal tea or a steaming cup of coffee, and taking time out for a small walk can all help to recharge ourselves, and get back to our task with renewed energy. After all, even the batteries on our electronic devices require charging, are we humans any different?
Additionally, make sure to reward yourself time and again after the completion of any activity. Celebrate your tiny achievements, and put the psychology of Operant conditioning to good use. No matter how small the activity you completed, these small wins will help boost your motivation and prepare you for further bigger achievements in life.