If there’s any experience that’s universally shared by the modern worker, it’s the sensation that there aren’t enough hours in the day. Fortunately, there are some habits that can be developed that can help to mitigate these feelings by enhancing productivity. For this week’s tip, we’ll discuss some of these practices to help boost your office’s time management capabilities.
The first step to being able to manage time in the office is to know how much time is available to you. Chart out your week and annotate crucial points in time, like meetings and deadlines, to establish how much time is left in the workweek.
Once you’ve done so, look at the tasks that you have queued. Which ones need to take priority? Plan to attend to those tasks first. The same goes for responsibilities you have that others in the organization need you to complete before they can begin--accomplishing them first ensures that you aren’t affecting another person’s productivity.
Rather than making a to-do list, take the extra step and schedule out your week. Not only will you have a plan as you tackle your tasks, this also allows you to adjust your behaviors to ensure that you are at the top of your game as you do so. For example, if you know you will be in meetings all day on a given Wednesday, you can set aside some time Tuesday afternoon to ensure you are up-to-speed on what the meetings will cover.
A lot of time management is dedicated to determining whether or not your time needs to be invested in a given activity. Much like the process of planning out which of your responsibilities take priority, instead plan how you approach these priorities a little better. Are there extra, unnecessary steps that accomplish little more than holding up the workflow? Eliminating steps like these and focusing closely on improving the process even more can result in considerable time savings that were just going to waste before.
It also helps to focus more closely on your regularly scheduled tasks, as well. By committing to them and devoting your full attention to them, they can be completed more efficiently and with better accuracy.
Communication is essential in any office environment, but only that which directly relates to office activities. A cell phone is a great example of a piece of technology that can serve as a distraction from the tasks at hand. Since it is unlikely that a business contact will be calling you on it during business hours, there’s minimal reason to look at it. Reserve its use for during breaks, and that’s one less distraction to take away from your focus.
However, not all time management issues are derived from issues with managing time. Instead, they often are a result of problems with the company’s IT and its management. Mismanagement of an information technology setup will waste time by preventing employees from accessing the programs and data they need to do their jobs, effectively eliminating any good that the above time management boosters may have contributed.