Employee Productivity is one of the key areas where management focuses and is one of the core factors on which employee is appraised. Time management is the art and skill of organizing, managing and allocating your time to activities and hence meet your desired goals. To cut short, it is nothing but to be more productive.
There are numerous benefits of efficiently managing your time at work. To quote a few key ones:

I. Highest priority goals are achieved.
II. Avoids work stress
III. Improves on-the-job performance
IV. Balances personal and professional life.
V. Boosts your confidence.

Below are 5 key steps you should take to efficiently manage your time:

1. Analyze how you spend your time

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Create an activity log. It is nothing but a simple list of activities you do in the day and how much time you spent on each activity. Also rate the activity with either A/B/C in terms of its relevance to your job. Here ‘A’ are high priority activities – the ones which are utmost critical in meeting your work goals. Take up these activities when you are most productive during the day. ‘B’ category are those activities which are important but are not urgent. So you can devote time to these when you are not that productive. ‘C’ category activities are time wasters and can be avoided.

TimeActivity Minutes usedPriority
8:45E-mail: check and respond15B
9:00Break: Coffee room; chatting9C
9:09Wait for meeting6C
9:15Meeting: Product launch team60A
10:15Break: Coffee; personal e-mail15C
10:30Phone: Confirm lunch12B
10:42Phone: Colleague Asking for Tips8B
10:50E-mail: Respond to a friend on weekend plan3C
10:53Internet: Check weather, news7C
11:00Prepare: for lunch meeting8B
11:08Meeting: Bonus plan discussion32C
11:40Travel: Off-site lunch meeting120B
1:52E-mail: Send and respond12C
2:04Phone: Return voice messages11C
2:15Visitor: Summer intern asking directions8C
2:23Client: Project Discussion5A
2:28Paperwork: Begin monthly project report4B
2:32E-mail: Incoming3C
2:35Paperwork: Resume project report12B
2:47Break: Coffee10C
2:57Prepare: Gather material for meeting3B
3:00Meeting: Budget review75B
4:15E-mail: Send and respond11B
4:26Internet: Check news4C
4:30Plan: Check/adjust calendar for project work10A
4:40Paperwork: Resume project report10B
4:50E-mail: Outgoing, project related10B
5:00Go home

2. Prioritize your Activities.

train-254399__180All the ‘A’ priority tasks should be taken in the first half of the day. Most of us are most productive during the first 2 hours of work and we spend that time in checking mails, having coffee and breakfast breaks. Any work which requires analysis, planning, learning, researching etc. should be taken up in these first 2 hours. Routine work like filling reports, checking emails, training colleagues or juniors, replying to not so urgent voice mails, paying bills and checking your cell phone for social media updates could be done towards the later end of the day.

3. Learn to say ‘No’

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Do you have friends at work who randomly visit your desk for chit-chat? Does your boss have a habit of scheduling unnecessary meetings in the morning? Is your peer asking for your help when you yourself have a lot of deliverables to be met? You have to politely refuse to all of these interferences at work. A ‘Do not disturb’ sign at your desk can help your friends understand that you are available for gossips during tea/coffee breaks. Ask your boss if you can skip those meetings where you do not have much to contribute. Explain him/her your key deliverables that are to be met. Learn to delegate.

4. Avoid Procrastination

book-15584__180 In a nutshell, it means putting off work for a later time that should be done right now. There are certain reasons why we do that. You may find that activity unpleasant, you may feel overwhelmed about your skills for completing that task. Sometimes we do not understand what needs to be done. You need to be honest with yourself in all these situations and admit that you are procrastinating. Work on the problem and get the work done!

5. Avoid Switching Costs

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There could be a lot of distractions at work like, addressing a notification on your phone, chatting to a visitor at your desk. Such distractions make you review your work and get the entire context of where you were into your work before the distraction. This is what is referred to as switching costs. Avoid anything that can distract you when you are into some serious thinking or work that requires analysis. This could make you 20-40% more efficient.

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