There is a saying, “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”
Productivity is something that most people struggle with, especially in their work lives. Every day we are confronted with endless interruptions, distractions, work, information, and other stuff. All of this butts up against the one thing that remains finite – TIME! Getting things done on time is a real struggle.
Let’s do a little self-analysis, shall we? For most of us, spending time on the web or cell phone is a temptation that eventually ends up effecting our overall productivity. Productivity isn’t just about whether you get the job done or not. It’s about when and how you get the job done. On some days, we feel like we can do anything and get a lot done. Other days, we barely manage to reach the minimum threshold. As a result, it’s the deadline that ends up suffering.
We all manage to get our work done – the struggle is to get it done on time. So, here are some time management skills for you to be more effective and efficient.
Plan and Then Plan Some More
No matter the scope or size of your work, planning is and will always be a key part of managing the project. After you finish off the task at hand, plan some more for the next few days or even weeks. Planning helps professionals get some perspective on what to expect and how to move forward. You can start by organizing your calendar, starting a bullet journal, cleaning up your to-dos, and drawing up a clear action plan.
Planning is about making things simpler and easier to understand. If you are responsible for handling a big project, break it down into bite-sized portions, with manageable and realistic milestones to achieve. And remember, make sure you keep some extra time for your breaks and unfinished tasks. You’re a human; stop working like a machine.
Learn to Deal with Distractions
You know what the biggest distraction is in our lives? Our smartphones. It doesn’t know when to stop buzzing. We are not saying that it’s useless, but because we are constantly connected on social media and other digital platforms, there is always something on your phone that you’ll find interesting. Just think, how many times have you pick up your phone while you’re working?
When you have a deadline over your head, you don’t waste time – it’s that simple. Here’s what you do: Grab your laptop, put your phone away, get a strong coffee, put your game face on, and get the job done. Let’s face it – if you only have three hours to get the task done; doing the work is actually the only way to save yourself.
Don’t Lose Sight of the End Goal
Here’s a curveball – you know what needs to be done, you have the time as well. No pressure, you’re happy, you’re relaxed, and life’s good. But you know sometimes a situation such as this leads us to relax a bit too much, sounds familiar? It can happen to even the best of us, and to avoid this, we need to keep check of our intentions and goals.
Set short-term goals, such as weekly deadlines or even long-term goals for the year – Studies recommend to have both. Whatever you do, don’t let go of the present. Think and reflect everything you do on a daily basis and ask yourself, “Is this helping me accomplish any of my goals?”. You’ll be shocked after realizing so many things were wrong.
Don’t Let Stress Pull You Down
There are two types of stress – good stress, and then there is bad stress. Bad stress is never good. When we are worrying about a certain task, chances are we are stressing over it. Take it from us, you cannot get the job done unless you calm yourself, analyze the situation, and come up with an action plan. When in stress you start doubting your capabilities, thinking you were never good enough to begin with. Result, low self-esteem, shattered confidence, shaky hands and brain freeze.
If you ever find yourself stressing over task(s), take a break. Talk to friends, get a hot beverage, it’s ok not to on top of everything all the time. As a manager, you may feel that if you want to get something done right, you will have to do it. This is the mindset that the majority of the people have, but it’s not how effective managers think. They know how to use their assets in making thing easier for themselves and so, they delegate.
Growth comes only from struggle. Remember what we said earlier? You are human. Calm down, pull yourself back, and start again.
Analyze Your Methods
By this time, you’ve probably understood what does and doesn’t work for you. Good managers know very well that people make mistakes and that means you too. You’ve been planning religiously, finding ways to get the job done without getting stressed. It’s the perfect time to design a work routine that you can stick to. Create a plan that focuses primarily on your productive habits and hours – this is what will keep you working efficiently.
You can do it by looking at the point in the past process where this mistake was made. What were the factors that led you to making those mistakes? Were the circumstances different or has the information changed somehow? Focusing on the process rather than getting rid of the task helps prevent future mistakes, and allows you to see the growth in yourself, both personally and professionally.
Summing It Up!
The basic principle of getting things done on time is to create a system you’re comfortable with. Self-analysis can do wonders if done the right way at the right time. Stress over the inevitable and cursing the situation won’t get the job done. You are better than what you think of yourself – if you were not, you wouldn’t have got the task in the first place. Now show the world what you are made of.
Some courses that may help you develop your skills in this area include:
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