We all lead busy lives, and sometimes it can be hard to fit everything in. If you have a busy job, this can be even more of a challenge and can lead to a lot of stress at work. If your workload is piling up, you can learn to manage it better with these time-management tips and tricks.
- Audit your time. If you’re going to manage your time more effectively you need to find out where you’re using it first. You might think you only spend half an hour of your workday checking your emails, for example, but might actually be spending a lot more time. The easiest way to keep track of how you’re using your time is to use time tracking software. You can use this information to see where you’re wasting time and how you can make adjustments to make better use of it.
- Use a to-do list. All projects are made up of smaller parts that you will need to accomplish before you can complete the project. Make a to-do list for each project that lists out each of the steps along the way. This keeps you focused and can motivate you as you can see what you have achieved so far.
- Plan ahead. Without a clear plan for the day, it’s easy to wander off task and not get anything done. If you plan ahead, you can structure your day more efficiently and stay focussed. Before you leave your office at the end of the workday, spend a few minutes tidying and resetting your work area, and make a list of your most important tasks for the next day. This might be any work from today you need to finish off or just the biggest tasks you need to accomplish. This gives you a starting point for the next day.
- Eat the frog first. The frog method is a popular tool for managing your time. If you have a big, challenging task on your to-do list that you’re dreading, get it done, or eat the frog, first thing. This is an effective strategy for a couple of reasons. You usually have the most energy in the morning, so you’re better off tackling the major tasks first before you start to feel drained and tired. Once that tough task is done, everything else seems easier and you can blast through the rest of your list with ease and confidence.
- Learn to say no. If you like to please people, especially at work, this can lead to a much heavier workload than you’re able to manage. If you say yes every time someone asks you to take on something else or work on something new, you’ll end up with more work than you can cope with, and feel stressed and upset. If you’re already at capacity and someone asks you to do something else, learn to politely say no. If it’s your boss asking you, you can let them know you’re already working on something important and ask how they would like you to prioritize your tasks to take on the new one.