There’s no secret trick to suddenly maximizing the time in your work day and instantly being more productive. The good news…it’s also not as hard as it sounds! There are many schools of thought and strategies around time management. Identifying and implementing what works best for you and your team is important. Here are time management strategies which are designed to help you improve workplace productivity that this NYC Professional Office Organizer wants to share.
Deep Work vs Shallow Work. In Cal Newport’s book, “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World,” a guide to developing habits of deep focus while working and living in a constant state of distraction is provided. He states you can separate your work into two categories: deep work and shallow work. Deep work is all about mastering hard tasks at an elite level, requiring ultimate focus. Shallow work includes the tasks that can be performed while distracted, such as emails, filing, or clearing your desk. Understanding how and when to do the deep work will improve your time management skills and productivity immensely!
Creating MITs. A popular productivity strategy that is used by many time management professionals are MITs – or Most Important Tasks. The key to using MITs is to take the time to define them. Without goals, you are more likely to waste time on tasks that are not as important or not at all related to your project. So, the first step is a written set of goals. After that, determine the 3 most important tasks to completing those goals. Those are the tasks to focus on and exert energy towards completing. You’ll be amazed by how much you get done when you are truly focused on your goals!
Pareto Analysis. Founded by Vilfredo Pareto, this strategy may be one you already use in other aspects of your life. It’s also commonly referred to as the 80/20 rule. The Pareto Analysis is a statistical technique for decision-making used to identify those limited number of tasks that produce the most significant overall effect. Pareto found that when he plotted the frequency of an activity, 20% of the activities resulted in 80% of the cumulative results. This strategy can be applied in numerous ways: 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of efforts; 80 percent of activity will require 20 percent of resources; 80 percent of output is produced by 20 percent of input, etc. When applying the Pareto Analysis to time management, you can see that 20% of your time produces 80% of the results, and likewise, 80% of your time produces 20% of the results. This method allows you to identify and prioritize the tasks that bring 80% of your results. Managing your tasks in this manner will help you stay efficient and utilize your time for maximum results.
Parkinson’s Law. This began as part of a humorous essay by Cyril Northcote Parkinson in 1955 but has since been republished and reshared as a time management technique. Parkinson stated, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” As a real-life example, if you don’t set a deadline for completing a task, that task could take you an hour to complete. But if you set a deadline of 30 minutes, you will stay focused, be productive and end up completing that same task in a much shorter amount of time. This kind of focus automatically forces you to eliminate distractions and stay on the task at hand.
Applying one or more of the time management strategies can be a game changer for your work day. For more hands-on time management tips and strategies, reach out to this NYC Professional Office Organizer.