Whether you’re in the office or at home, managing your time efficiently is not always an easy task. In fact, if you’re not careful, it can be easy to get overwhelmed or stressed, for tasks to pile up, or for you to procrastinate. It can also be a challenge to make time for yourself after work. So what can you do to make the best use of your time?
Knowing how to properly manage your time is vital to, among other things, successfully completing your tasks and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. With this in mind, we want to offer you 6 tips to help you manage your time at work:
1. Learn how to redefine your priorities and objectives
It’s important to know how to set goals and focus on the ones that are a priority. Look at your daily tasks and determine which ones are more and less important. This also applies to any emails you get. If you’re unsure about what your priorities are, ask your manager or coordinator for guidance.
The SMART method, which has been widely used since 1954, is a great tool you can use to help set goals and objectives. SMART goals are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. This system will help you dedicate the right amount of time each day/week/month to your goal and avoid wasting time on things that don’t contribute to it.
2. Make a to-do list with the important things you have to do throughout the day
This will help you visualize your day more clearly, organize yourself better, and move any less important tasks to the back burner. These less important tasks, however, should not be simply brushed off. Administrative tasks, for example, will have to be done at some point, it’s just a matter of reprioritizing and finding a good slot for them. You can pepper these secondary/administrative tasks into your day/week/month as you see fit.
Writing down your tasks is very important because it allows you to free your mind of more cumbersome thoughts and focus on what’s essential. Following this principle, you have the Getting Things Done (GTD) model, conceived by David Allen, which is based on the idea that having too many ideas bouncing around in your head at once makes it harder to focus on what really needs attention. Remember to be proactive so you’re not having to rush to take care of things at the last minute.
3. Create a comfortable and motivating workspace that helps you work more efficiently
If you work from home, dedicate a room or, failing that, a desk specifically reserved for work. Anyone can create their own workspace, both in the office and at home, just try to avoid accumulating too much clutter on your desk so as not to overload your mind.
Remember to have water nearby and hydrate regularly. It’s also handy to have a notepad and pen to write down your ideas. The equivalent notepad on your computer also works. Also consider choosing digital tools that help you get organized, such as Trello, Google Calendar, or Asana.
4. Focus on a task for a limited time with the Pomodoro Method
This method of time management, invented by the Italian Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s, consists of working for predefined periods (usually 25 minutes) without any distractions. That means no looking at your phone, playing with your pet, tidying up, etc. These work periods are spaced out with 5-minute breaks. So, in this case, each Pomodoro (“tomato” in Italian) would be a period of 30 minutes. This method is especially useful for those of us who have trouble concentrating for long stretches at a time.
5. You can say “no”
Knowing how to say “no” is not always easy for everyone, but sometimes it’s necessary. We face all kinds of demands, both in our personal and professional lives, and it’s difficult if not impossible to say yes to everything. But what if you say “yes” to something and then realize you can’t? You’re always free to change your answer and say “no.” If you explain yourself and do it nicely, the other person is more likely to understand. So don’t be afraid!
6. Learn to delegate
There are times in which you would like to be able to say “no” to a task as we mentioned above, but, for whatever reason, you can’t. Some tasks just need to be prioritized no matter what. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, what can you do? Don’t hesitate to delegate a task you don’t have time for to a teammate who is more available at the moment. And let that person know that they can do the same with you if they need to. By delegating, you will save valuable time and be able to focus on your priorities.
We hope these tips will help you manage your time better, both personally and professionally. Since time is our most valuable resource, it needs to be treated as such. Of course, we recommend trying any of the serious games available on the Gamelearn platform. Triskelion, in particular, focuses on time management.