The day-to-day life of an employee can be hectic. From completing deadline-oriented tasks to staying on top of everything else, it can get overwhelming sometimes. When you feel like you can’t manage your workload and are struggling to meet deadlines, it can compel you to procrastinate.
Understanding time management is crucial if you’re looking to elevate your time management skills and become the most productive employee out there. Understand how you can ace your tasks within a limited time to set yourself up for success.
Identify and Set Priorities
A big part of why many of us feel the need for procrastination is because we don’t see the returns on potentially larger tasks until much later, whereas procrastination can bring immediate gratification. Finding the motivation to finish your daily tasks can be challenging, leading to more stress and anxiety about work in the long term.
Understanding what your priorities should be at work and how to categorize them is essential to avoiding procrastination and getting things done. Knowing what work is most important and needs to be done immediately can bring a lot of clarity to your day. Make a list of everything you need to do, and list them according to when they need to be completed and their importance.
When you know the work you need to do ahead of time, proper planning is essential. Planning your work day or week can have numerous benefits, and it helps provide a structure to your working style. Start by listing out all the tasks that need to be done. If you’re planning for the week, put large tasks on days when you don’t have any other tasks planned or deadlines looming.
For tasks that need to be delegated to others or require active collaboration, try to get them out of the way first. Ideally, if you know what your work week looks like, start planning on Sunday evening or Monday morning for better productivity.
Break Large Tasks Into Components
It can be daunting to conquer large tasks all by yourself, and the fear of starting can hold you back from making any progress. When you are worrying about a large task that you have to take on for work, it’s best to divide it into manageable, smaller components. It might be that you’re not responsible for the entire task, and in this case, breaking it into smaller components can help you responsibly delegate tasks to others as well.
To help you get started, tackle the relatively easier and smaller tasks first. Once you get the momentum going, tackling the larger components should feel more manageable. You can also use a time management tool to track your progress for smaller components and to ensure that you stay on track.
Conquer Challenging Tasks First
Everyone has times when they’re most productive and other times when it’s hard to stay focused. If you’re struggling to finish tasks on time, especially those that seem challenging, it might be best to start with them first. Most people are productive earlier in the day, especially when they start work.
Set time aside in the morning from the rest of your work day to tackle challenging tasks first. When you give your mind little to no time to think about how challenging a task is before you start, there will be fewer distractions to keep you away. Start difficult tasks in the morning to minimize distractions and maximize your productivity.
Set Your Deadlines
Many people don’t like to work when there isn’t a clear goal or a deadline ahead of them. But, having too many deadlines can also lead to stress and anxiety about finishing them. If you have external deadlines that make it stressful for you to complete tasks on time, it might be helpful to start setting ‘soft’ deadlines for yourself beforehand.
Setting soft deadlines means that you can plan your tasks ahead of time, and make sure it’s done on time. Ideally, plan to set a soft deadline a day before it’s actually due so you have time to fix any mistakes or revise without feeling stressed. You might want to use an online calendar tool or project management tool to set your deadlines and not forget about them.
Multitasking is the true enemy of productivity and can deter productivity instead of increasing it. While most people are under the impression that multitasking can save time, it has been scientifically proven that multitasking can reduce productivity and increase stress levels simultaneously.
Constantly switching between tasks can make it challenging for your mind to stay focused and make it easier to procrastinate. Paying attention to the task on hand and not switching to another will help you save time and energy. If you are prone to multitasking, set locks and limits on other tabs or applications until you finish the current task.
Getting distracted when you have work to do can waste your time and ruin your mood too. While it might feel good to be momentarily distracted by something that brings instant gratification, like scrolling through social media, it does waste time. When you want to be your most productive self, eliminating any possible distractions in your work day is absolutely necessary.
Whether it’s muting any social media notifications on your phone or switching it to silent when you’re working, there are many ways to eliminate distractions in your daily life. Understand what distracts you first, and then figure out how to avoid them so you can concentrate. Calming yourself when you’re feeling distracted can also help you re-focus on what’s more important.
Create Clarity In Your Schedule
Getting on top of your workload means that you have to know how to manage time well. Most leaders and productive individuals have mastered the art of time management, and you can do it, too, with these simple but effective techniques. Once you incorporate these techniques into your work day, keep being consistent to truly make it a habit. Don’t struggle to find time to complete your work tasks when you know how you can reduce stress, boost productivity and achieve success with the right time management skills.