How can you find more time in your work day? We all want to complete our tasks, but it often feels like there just is not enough time to get them all done. Deadlines are pushed, tasks are overlooked, and you feel rushed all the time. There must be a better way, right? The answer is… yes! You absolutely can manage your tasks and your day in a more efficient way so you can spend your valuable time on the important activities. Here are this NYC Professional Organizer’s time management tips to help you create better habits which will make you maximize your time.
Create a daily plan. The best way to manage all that needs to be done during your work day is to have all the information in only one place. You can use whatever method of organizing that you prefer – a paper planner, a digital calendar, a notebook, or an app on your phone or tablet. Figure out which method works best for you and stick with it. Include all meetings, appointments, and tasks that need to be completed each day. Review your plan for the following day the night before so that you can quickly get your day started.
Plan your work day based on when you work best. You know yourself best! When you are planning your work day, think about when you have the most energy. Are you most productive and creative first thing in the morning? Or do you need a second (or third) cup of coffee and some time to check in before you start working? During your most productive times of the day, work on your high priority tasks. During the times of the day where your energy is lower, tackle the non-urgent tasks like catching up on phone calls or clearing your desk.
Be early. When you have an appointment, plan on arriving 15 minutes early. With this extra time, you won’t be rushed and can do one last quick review of your objectives while doing an extra lap around the block. When you rush, important details are lost or forgotten, and you’ll end up wasting time later trying to piece it all together. With a little extra buffer time, you’ll be able to be more efficient and productive, saving time in the long run.
Eliminate distractions. We all know that distractions take away precious time from our work day…. are you taking the steps required to eliminate them? There are simple ideas, like shutting the door or turning off your phone or tablet. You can also keep your phone in your purse or briefcase during the day so it’s less likely you’ll grab it for a quick social media browse. Try headphones if you are working in a busy office place, or use “do not disturb” functions inside your communication systems at work (Slack and Hangouts offer this option).
Practice self-care. This is often overlooked. After focusing all day long to complete high priority tasks by their deadline, we often find ourselves working late into the night catching up on tasks that had to be put aside….and then we start over again the next day. By making sure you get enough sleep each night, make time to eat three meals a day and allow time for the things that truly make you happy, you will be well rested and more productive during your work day. As your personal well-being should be a top priority, time should be blocked for it on each week’s calendar.
Make sure you are saying “NO.” It’s so hard to do but saying “NO” is a valuable time management skill to master! If you are asked to do a task or participate in a meeting or panel, and it’s NOT contributing to your goals, then NO may have to be your response. Don’t stretch yourself thin and then start missing deadlines for the work that is moving you towards your goals.
For more hands-on office organizing and time management strategies, reach out to this NYC Professional Office Organizer.