Have you ever met one of those people who knows how to make time for almost any activity? They complete their tasks during their working hours, and yet always have a few minutes to hang out at the water cooler. It seems that their private lives are also well-organized. They travel regularly, go out every weekend, spend quality time with their friends and families, and always make the most of their free time.
When you look at them, balancing private and professional obligations may seem simple. But, for you, getting the most out of your 24 hours is almost impossible. Your tasks are constantly piling up and, to complete them on time, you usually have to bring them home. This has already started affecting your private life and you are close to experiencing a serious burnout.
So, what’s the secret? How do you manage your working day effectively? Here are a few techniques from Credibly that may help you.
Identify Which Activities Waste Most of Your Time
Before you start making any decisions, you first need to know what your major time wasters are. Invest in one of the numerous time management apps and simply track everything you do for a certain period of time.
With these apps, you can create detailed reports about where your time goes during your working day. Most importantly, you will be able to find the most effective ways to improve these areas.
Create a Weekly (or Daily) To-Do List
Making a to-do list can be an effective way to keep yourself on the right track. Not only can they help you prioritize your obligations, but they also help you gamify your work.
To-do lists come in all shapes and sizes. The truth is, there isn’t a hard rule for what works and what doesn’t. The idea is to find a to-do list style that aligns with your habits and preferences.
For example, if you find it difficult to be productive on Mondays, then perhaps you should create a weekly to-do list and schedule some of your more mindless tasks for those days.
There are countless styles to choose from:
- Weekly Priority, Segmented To-Do, & Done Lists
- The 1-3-5 to-do list
- The traditional hard copy planner
Keep in mind that most people often fail to account for time or distinguish the urgency and importance of their tasks. When putting together their list, also focus on these aspects. It will help you ensure effectiveness and efficiency.
Use Tools to Automate Repetitive Tasks
No matter how exciting your job is, it almost certainly includes repetitive tasks that kill your creativity and eat up a lot of your time. So, to make the most of your working day, you should invest in the right tools that will automate your mundane tasks.
For example, with business management software, you can orchestrate and manage almost every aspect of your business, from CRM to reporting and analysis. The same goes for project management tools like Basecamp, Trello, and Asana, and team communication platforms like Slack. Instead of sending numerous emails, your employees can communicate more effectively through these platforms, as well as share data and communicate in real-time.
It doesn’t matter if you’re working from home or an office, distractions are everywhere. To boost your performance and do your job on time, you need to learn how to recognize and eliminate them.
How much do you use the internet and tech for tasks that are not really related to your job? Most of us believe that quickly answering our messages, responding to a new Facebook friend request, or posting a photo with colleagues on Instagram is harmless.
Still, when you add up the time spent on every message you send, every photo you post, and every status you share on social networks, you will see that you’re actually wasting more than 40 minutes every day on tasks like these.
And that’s not even the worst of it; the real productivity killer is the time you spend re-orienting yourself after each little distraction. According to the American Psychological Association, the brief mental blocks created by shifting between tasks can steal as much as 40% of a worker’s productive time.
So, while you’re working, put your phone away, turn off all irrelevant notifications, and close all tabs that have nothing to do with your work. Try to reduce your coworkers’ interruptions, too. No matter how close you are, when working on time-sensitive tasks, make sure no one distracts you. Tell them honestly that you have a lot of work, use the “don’t disturb” option on Skype or Slack, or even consider keeping your door closed. Schedule your breaks for relaxing and socializing, and commit to staying focused during the rest of your time at work.