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
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.
|8:45||E-mail: check and respond||15||B|
|9:00||Break: Coffee room; chatting||9||C|
|9:09||Wait for meeting||6||C|
|9:15||Meeting: Product launch team||60||A|
|10:15||Break: Coffee; personal e-mail||15||C|
|10:30||Phone: Confirm lunch||12||B|
|10:42||Phone: Colleague Asking for Tips||8||B|
|10:50||E-mail: Respond to a friend on weekend plan||3||C|
|10:53||Internet: Check weather, news||7||C|
|11:00||Prepare: for lunch meeting||8||B|
|11:08||Meeting: Bonus plan discussion||32||C|
|11:40||Travel: Off-site lunch meeting||120||B|
|1:52||E-mail: Send and respond||12||C|
|2:04||Phone: Return voice messages||11||C|
|2:15||Visitor: Summer intern asking directions||8||C|
|2:23||Client: Project Discussion||5||A|
|2:28||Paperwork: Begin monthly project report||4||B|
|2:35||Paperwork: Resume project report||12||B|
|2:57||Prepare: Gather material for meeting||3||B|
|3:00||Meeting: Budget review||75||B|
|4:15||E-mail: Send and respond||11||B|
|4:26||Internet: Check news||4||C|
|4:30||Plan: Check/adjust calendar for project work||10||A|
|4:40||Paperwork: Resume project report||10||B|
|4:50||E-mail: Outgoing, project related||10||B|
2. Prioritize your Activities.
All 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’
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
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
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.