As a business owner or top-level manager, you know better than anyone the realities of having a huge workload and not having enough hours in the day to finish everything. And you’re not alone—about 70% of time spent at work is wasted.If you’re falling behind at work or in life because of time management issues, this article can help you improve your skills, bettering your mental health, productivity, and ability to lead and grow your business.
- Remove Distractions and Interruptions at Work
It takes an average of twenty-five minutes to get back on track after being distracted. That means if your phone, emails, and colleagues interrupt you just eight times per day, you lose over three hours of precious work time.Either put a sign on your door when you don’t want to be disturbed, use an app thatshuts off interruptions from your phone, or block social media and other websites that distract you. The fewer distractions you have, the better your time management will be.
- Use Tech So Your Home Life Doesn’t Interferewith Work
It’s hard to shut off what’s going on at home while you’re at work, but focusing on home hinders your ability to be efficient with your time. By using smart tech, you can go to work worry-free and know your house is taken care of. Instead of spending time worrying about if your kids, dog walker, or nanny got home, your smart home will send you updates so you can have peace of mind and stay on task.
- Plan Your Day, Week, and Month
A well-thought-out plan is key to better time management. Start every day by making a list of your priorities. Then, write down how much time each task will take. This allows you to schedule your time and cross off the most important things you need to accomplish each day. And don’t forget downtime. Taking breaks actually leads tomore creativity and productivity, so take your lunch hour to unplug, go on a walk, and recharge. Don’t feel guilty about running out for coffee and a quick pick-me-up—it’ll help with your time management.
- Do One Thing at a Time
Only 2% of peopleare good at multitasking, and focusing on multiple things at once can decrease your efficiency by 40%.Instead of jumping from task to task, employ time blocking. Time blocking challenges you to compile like-minded tasks into chunks. So instead of checking emails on-demand all day, schedule an hour or two per day to go through and respond to messages. The same goes for working on the budget, inputting expenses, doing payroll, or pitching new ideas. Block your time to be better at time management and efficiency.
- Condense and Cut Down on Meetings
On average, workers spendover sixty hours each month in meetings. If you can, ruthlessly cut down on meetings. Instead of a daily check-in, have people email you with updates. Before you schedule or accept any meeting, ask yourself if the topic at hand could be addressed via email. If so, skip the gathering and get back to business.
- Delegate Your Workload
No one can do everything by themselves. That’s why you work with a team of capable individuals who are paid and trained to assist you. No matter what you have on your plate, determine what you need to handle yourself and what you can assign to other upper level managers and staff. Then, set deadlines and expectations and let people help you so you can concentrate on priorities.
- Stay Organized
Time management and organization go together. Rather than wasting time searching for lost emails, files, or phone numbers, set up a system that’s easy to use and sift through. Implement a file-naming structure across the entire company. Use one central server. Get a filing cabinet for your office and use it. These small changes will help you stay efficient in the long run.
- Challenge the Whole Office
Weight loss, exercise, and even eating right is always easier when you have someone doing it with you—so is time management. Challenge your entire office to a month of productivity. Share the tips in this article and have everyone track their time—quantitatively and qualitatively. At the end of the month, have a meeting where you share feedback and experience, and discuss ways time management helped everyone.
Don’t get down on yourself if you haven’t mastered the art of time management yet; it takes practice and discipline like everything else.Use these tips to start improving your time management skills. Your bottom line, bosses, and employees will thank you.
This is a guest post from Monique Serbu