We as employees (and people) are bombarded every day with tasks and other things that take up our time…that’s life! And sometimes, it can be hard to focus on a particularly challenging and overwhelming day, week or month. That’s where the beauty of time management comes into play! Here are some tips to assist you in effectively managing your time.
Define importance and urgency of tasks
At the beginning of each week, write down all of your tasks and projects. You can even use Microsoft Excel to do this. You can create the first column listing the tasks, the second column listing the importance based on a rating scale of your choosing, and a third column listing any urgency based on a rating scale of your choosing. Based on what you record, you can organize and prioritize your tasks. This is a great start!
Take time to plan your day
Spend the first 30 minutes each day while in the office planning your day! You may not need the full 30 minutes, but you get the idea. Make sure your meetings and tasks are in order and prioritize what you want to work on that day. If you are a morning person, for example, make sure to schedule time to work on any time-consuming, more challenging projects in the morning. (And vice versa if you are an afternoon person!)
Schedule unexpected time
If you have a ton of emails, for example, schedule some set time in your day each day to write and respond to emails! Schedule time in your calendar for conversations with people in your office and keep your appointments. You can even schedule time in your calendar for “interruptions and disruptions,” whether that is to have coffee with a colleague or to run an errand.
Learn to say no
Easier said than done for a lot of people, it is OK to say “no” if you are already bombarded with tasks. It truly is. If you know for a fact there is no time left in your work day to do more tasks, say “no” and do it the next day if the deadline allows it. If it’s a last minute, urgent task, that’s one thing, but if you knew about the task for a while, don’t procrastinate. If your boss is the one that keep throwing new tasks at you, try to show her/him a list of your existing tasks, and ask how they want the new task prioritized in relation to the others.
Do not disturb
Unplug for a while (cell phone, landline, social media, IM, etc) if these tools aren’t necessary in getting your tasks done. Just do it! You can even, literally, put up a “do not disturb” sign on your desk OR in your IM away message. Why not?
This is important for your sanity. You are only human after all. You can schedule breaks into your calendar at the start of the day. Taking five minutes away from your desk a couple of times a day (even taking an hour-long lunch hour – gasp) will help refresh your mind when it’s time to start working again. Trust me (and the professional psychologists) on this one.
Incorporate “fun” into your tasks
Yes, yes and yes! Doing the same routine tasks day after day will get boring fast! Listen to your favorite music while working or write down any funny, random or unique moments that occur throughout your day. You never know when you can gather good coffee book material about your office. Just make sure that the particular types of fun you choose are compatible with the work you need to complete.
- Please note that the above are just some helpful tips. You don’t necessarily need to follow all of them, but even starting with one or two may help you to manage your time more effectively. After all, time management is an important aspect of anyone’s job, especially an office manager or administrator. And last but not least, remember the old adage … time IS of the essence.
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