We’ve all heard the phrase work smarter, not harder right? Well in today’s hectic world, it can be tremendously difficult to effectively prioritize and successfully meet your goals–especially with the demands in the workplace and at home, it’s challenging to balance professional responsibilities and personal life, especially when your time is limited. When under pressure, it’s tempting to make the mistake of putting energy into what’s urgent, rather than focusing on what’s important.
By practicing these time management tips for work, you’ll find yourself achieving more and leaving the office with a sense of accomplishment.
1. Set a goal for your day
Be proactive and direct work flows. Do you spend the whole morning responding to incoming emails or do you send out emails to direct projects that are within your goals for the day? Your daily activities should align with your specific project goals.
2. Prioritize your tasks
What are your immediate and long-range needs? What groundwork needs to be laid in order to check the tasks off your list? Imagine your inbox as a hospital triage center: what inquiries or projects deserve your attention? Which items can wait? Prioritize the issues that are both important and urgent. Address your tasks strategically with your daily goal and project vision in mind.
3. It’s OK to delegate
Figure out what you can do well and what others can do better for you. There may be people in your workplace that are personally interested in a topic or looking to take on more responsibility. You don’t have to champion your project list alone. Effective leaders build supportive teams and look to protégés to develop into a successful next generation of leaders.
4. Just say no
Decide which projects are non-essential and draw the line on what you can commit to successfully completing. Your time is your most valuable asset and you cannot get it back. As you communicate how projects fit within your goals and action plans, colleagues will respect your work and your time more. You’ll have more time to manage your projects with a goal-oriented vision, and by doing so, you’ll achieve more through your work.
5. “Chunk” your projects
You know the saying, “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.” It applies to your work as well as table manners. Avoid looking sloppy in your work. Break your projects into manageable tasks. For projects that you loathe, start with just 10 minutes a day and you’ll be surprised at how much you can achieve. You might even find yourself working through to finish it.
6. Use technology to your advantage
Technology can be a great resource to help you manage and optimize your time. Many apps and tools – such as Evernote, Remember the Milk, and Focus Booster — offer digital solutions to organize your to-do lists, files, emails, and more.
By applying each of these steps and engaging critically with the projects that make up your daily routine, you’ll be an active director of your work and your professional goals.