Tricks of the Trade: Time Management Techniques for the Workplace

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Have you ever felt like there aren’t enough hours in the day? If you often find yourself working round the clock in the ever demanding workplace, time management is a crucial skill to get to grips with. With growing “to do” lists and imminent deadlines on the horizon, balancing your time can seem like a daunting task. Luckily, help is at hand through a combination of tried and tested techniques and new, innovative technology which can help you squeeze more out of your busy day.

1.       Start as you mean to go on

You may be keen to get started from the word go, but taking time at the start of your day to arrange your schedule can set you up for a more productive day. Take the first 30 minutes of every day by devising a time plan, and where possible, stick to it.

2.       Supercharge your “to do” lists

If your desk is turning into a sea of “post it” notes and long lists, take it online for a clutter free approach. Wunderlist is an easy way to manage and share your daily to-do lists, and can be just as satisfying as crossing something off a hand written list.

3.       Eliminate distractions

Are you the kind of person where time seems to disappear? It may be the number of distractions which surround you in the workplace. A five minute check of social media can quickly turn into half an hour and don’t instantly answer emails and phone calls. Set aside a certain time of the day to turn your attention to this.

4.       Stay socially organised

Speaking of social media, if this is a marketing tool you use to generate business or retain customer engagement, keep track of all your accounts in one place with Hootsuite. Even better you can bulk schedule your posts in advance allowing minimal disruptions, saving a considerable amount of time.

5.       Keep track of time

Sometimes we can get so engrossed in our work that we lose track of how long we should be spending, putting priority lists into chaos. Always have a clock visible or try Toggl, the online time tracking tool which helps you see where your time goes. This is a valuable project management tool worth trying.

6.       Aim to be early

Chances are if you aim to be early, you will either be on time or more likely, late. Always set your appointments ten- fifteen minutes earlier than they need to be on your calendar or try the old trick of setting your watch faster than it should be. When it comes to deadlines, try to submit them earlier than required.

7.       Schedule smart

If your day consists of meetings here, there and everywhere, confusion can quickly happen, and everyone fears the dreaded double booking- if only you could be in two places at once. Try SmartTime combining calendars and reminders making sure you are always at the right place at the right time.

8.       Save it for later

Does your job require you to be one step ahead of industry developments? Trailing through endless blogs and news sites is obviously time consuming. Instapaper is a simple tool allowing you to save web pages which can be read later on most devices. Perfect for the commute.

9.       Be intelligent with invoicing

If you spend precious time chasing invoices and monitoring expenses which would be better spent on your client’s needs, Zoho invoice and time tracker could be for you. The web application is perfect for small businesses allowing you to create and send invoices, automate payment reminders, accept online payments and track your time.

10.   Get serious with sleep

You’ve made it to the end of the day. Now is the time to rest, believe it or not, work can wait. Sacrificing a couple of hours sleep is the most obvious way to cram more work into your day but don’t underestimate the value of sleep. Most of us need 7-8 hours’ sleep for our bodies and minds to function optimally so get your head down when you can.

Remember that no matter how determined and hard working you are, it is impossible to always get everything done. After all there are only so many hours in the day! Take an organised and realistic approach to time management to achieve as much as you possibly can.

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