Managing your time effectively is a skill that takes time. Most people will feel pressured on occasion, whether that’s due to a looming deadline, winning new business leading to increased work load or a large order from a customer that requires a quick turnaround.
As a business owner, director, senior manager or team leader it’s important that you are able to manage your workload effectively. As a business coach this is one of the areas that many people struggle with and so I thought I’d share my top tips with you:-
Categorise your tasks
You need to categorise what you actually currently do so that you only spend time on those tasks that are important to your business. Some tasks need to be done by only you, others can be done by someone who doesn’t cost the business as much as you do and some don’t actually need doing at all, so they can go in the bin.
By using your team effectively you will collectively achieve more. Everyone has their strengths and as a leader it’s important to recognise what yours and theirs are so no-one takes on too much. Having a regular team meeting to plan the week or month ahead can also really help. How to get your team on board helping you achieve your vision for your business is the subject of another blog.
Prioritise your To Do List
Spend some time each day planning ahead and prioritising the key tasks that need to be done. Consider the time that they may take, which ones are urgent and those that need to be started so that other goals can be reached.
Sounds simple but it is a strategy that can really help. Block out time during your day or week to complete projects and activities. Breaking down a large project into smaller elements often helps ensure that a task that seems huge is completed. Think of it as though you are eating an elephant, a chunk at a time (because it is very very big) Everything goes in your calendar, not just appointments.
There is nothing like a looming deadline to focus the mind. Whether these are daily, weekly or monthly you are likely to have recurrent tasks that need doing. Similarly when you have a project on the go look at breaking it down into sections with deadlines so that you work methodically through your work load. Start planning from the end and work backwards.
Eat That Frog
Procrastination is the enemy of time management. Imagine how good you are going to feel when you finally manage to cross that troublesome job off your list. We often skirt around jobs that we don’t like doing because we’re fearful of doing them. By taking control and getting them sorted we can move forward in a more productive way and they are usually not that bad after all.
Deal with Stress
Increased workload can often create feelings on stress within us, resulting in lack of sleep. Take time out to acknowledge how you’re feeling. In addition to asking for help or delegating your work. You could also try using relaxation techniques, deep breathing and exercise to help you cope with your feelings.
Whilst you might feel you’re being productive the reality is that multitasking often leads to jobs being half done. Create a To Do List with deadlines and work your way through it. Doing so will enable you to accomplish more.
Make an Early Start
This can be particularly helpful if you are often interrupted by colleagues who need your help. Starting your working day at 7 or 8am, or whatever is early for you and focusing on dealing with emails, responding to messages will help you get ahead. If you get interrupted later in the day at least you’ll know you’ve covered of the important issues first thing in the morning.
Have Regular Breaks
Taking regular breaks during your working day can actually help to improve your productivity. A 10 -15 minute break between tasks helps to reduce your stress levels and will improve your focus when you return to work.
Just Say No
One of the skills of being a manager or the owner of a business is learning when to say no. You’re not being rude you’re simply working effectively and efficiently.
Other peoples’ monkeys
Now you never want to hang onto those!
Time management takes time and it is something that you are going to have to work at daily if you’re going to maximise your effectiveness and efficiency. With time and practice though you will improve and you’ll start to reap the benefits including better sleep, less stress and have your work and home life in balance.