Time Management Techniques to Skyrocket Productivity
A busy schedule is normal. However, mounting pressure can make it difficult for employees to stay on top of their workload and finish tasks on time. Responsibilities add up, which can cause them to feel overwhelmed and overworked.
According to a study by consulting firm Willis Towers Watson, 57% of respondents reported that work-related stress led to disengagement on the job. Additionally, stress can result in decreased productivity and job dissatisfaction.
1. Minimize Visual Distractions
Among the easiest time management techniques is to simply clean up your desk. The more clutter and the papers that pile up, the easier it is to get distracted. File away anything that is unnecessary, both physically and digitally. Keep your cell phone out of sight so that it will not tempt you to take personal calls or scroll through social media during work hours.
The same goes for any extra tabs or applications open on your computer. If they are not being used for the task on hand, close or minimize them.
If you absolutely must leave extra applications open, such as email, only check it intermittently. While constantly refreshing your inbox might seem productive, it impairs focus on a task at hand. As a relatively straightforward time management practice, reducing distractions helps improve focus and organization.
2. Make a Short and Specific Daily Checklist
The more specific you can get with a checklist, the better. Rather than simply writing down that you need to work on a project, list the specific tasks you need to finish that day. For example, “Write an introductory email to client No. 1 and client No. 2” is more helpful than “Finish emails.”
To-do lists are more like a relay race than a marathon. Big projects should be broken down into smaller parts to help employees stay on track with deadlines. Accomplishing these sub-tasks also gives them a sense of achievement, which is an important motivator.
Each individual must determine which time management techniques work best for him or her, but creating daily checklists is always a good place to start.
3. Break Up Your Work
Once you have a to-do list, allot each task a certain amount of time. According to Parkinson’s Law, a task will take the amount of time that it is given. Let’s say you have a project due in a week. If you allow it to, the project could take the entire week to complete. However, by setting personal deadlines, you can finish the work in a much shorter timeline.
A proposal that seems like it would take 5 days could take just 3 days if that is how much time you give yourself to complete it.
Time management techniques such as this can also help employees avoid the stress that accompanies overworking. Sometimes people feel compelled to work late or on weekends. By imposing their own deadline, say 6 p.m., employees will be more likely to finish their tasks by the end of the day and go home at a reasonable hour.
4. Use a Productivity Tool
Time management techniques could also include the use of productivity tools. Project management software, task timers, and messaging software can help employees better keep track of time and focus on the task at hand. While asking employees to deal with yet another application may not seem ideal, it actually can be a major time saver.
WalkMe’s Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) makes it easy for management to understand how employees are interacting with software platforms. Using step-by-step guidance and engagement, the widget helps employees become more productive by streamlining the use of any digital tool. Rather than spending valuable time being confused or unsure about software functions, employees can use a DAP to find the simplest way to perform any online task.
5. Prioritize Your Important Tasks
Studies consistently confirm that the early bird truly does get the worm, especially in a work environment. Employees are naturally more productive in the morning and able to accomplish more before the day sets in.
For time management’s sake, it is wise to schedule more complex tasks in the morning when you are most alert. This technique also helps set the tone for the rest of the workday. Finishing more difficult tasks first will prevent procrastination and support a more goal-oriented day.
If some of the most difficult work is already over, the rest of the workday will become more manageable and enjoyable. Slight changes in daily routine can make a big difference in terms of productivity. By implementing time management techniques, employees will relieve the psychological burden of a chaotic work day and make the remainder of their responsibilities less intimidating.