Often we can make better use of our time by completing the most important tasks first. We may appear very efficient when we quickly do whatever tasks happen to be around, but if we are ignoring the most important ones, we’re not very effective. Organizing and managing our time helps us to work smarter, not harder.
Tips for Using Your Time Effectively
- Plan and set priorities. Make daily task lists and arrange them in order of importance and urgency. Complete those first. Group similar tasks such as telephone calls, business visits or deliveries to certain areas and do them together.
- Know your peak times. Schedule your most complex tasks for the part of the day when you are most alert.
- Be flexible. Allow for unexpected interruptions.
- Organize your workspace before you begin a task. Have all the necessary materials and equipment at hand. When you’ve finished using something, return it to its original place. Cleaning up your workspace at the end of each day allows you to make a fresh start each morning.
- Concentrate on one thing at a time. Switching tasks halfway through can waste time because the new work will take some time for you to organize your thoughts and gather together any necessary material.
- Set timelines and stick to them. Dread can get in the way of starting any assignment. Avoid deadline phobia. Instead of postponing tasks that seem overwhelming or unpleasant, work on them 10 or 15 minutes at a time. Once you’ve started, you may find some shortcuts or discover the project is not as bad as you had thought.
- Avoid letting the telephone be a time waster. If possible, have someone take messages when your work shouldn’t be interrupted. This way, you can put aside a particular time of the day to return all phone calls at once.
- Take advantage of quiet times. At these times, do work that requires concentration, catch up on routine tasks that you have let slip or get ahead on your job.
- Make a list of things that are worrying you about the work you have left to do. Brainstorm alternative solutions with a co-worker or supervisor for getting the work done. Worrying will only make you tense and slow you down.
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