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Work Smarter, Not Harder: Tips & Techniques for Managing Time Effectively

Time Management

Time management techniques help business professionals to achieve targets on time. These techniques help employees to perform their duties efficiently. If you are a business professional and you find it hard to complete projects on time then here are a few tips and techniques for managing time effectively.

Eat that frog

This is a great technique you can use for those who keep procrastinating. 

This approach might seem harsh, but if you have to swallow the frog, then there is no point in delaying the event because you have to do it anywhere because it won’t go away. Why should you put off something you can do now?

The technique encourages people to start by doing the most important or most difficult task first, then move on to the next when done with that. The next task to handle is going to be the second in terms of difficulty or importance.

A given task can be a frog to one of your employees, but when they avoid it, it can have a big impact on the goals of your business or team. The main takeaway from this technique is that you need to eat the frog right away.

Prioritizing

Not everything that needs to be done has the same importance. You should focus on the crucial task when planning your daily work activities. 

There is a good method that you can use when setting your priorities known as the Eisenhower Matrix. Every employee needs to be acquainted with. The first step involves listing all the tasks that have to be completed within a given time. Mark the task with I if they are important and U if they are urgent.

When you are done classifying the tax into a matrix, you are going to determine the field they fit in the most:

DO – These are tasks that are marked with both I for important and U urgent, and those you need to be completed as soon as possible.

SCHEDULE – These are those tasks you consider important but not urgent. You need to make a plan on how you are going to work on them.

DELEGATE – These are tasks that are urgent but not that important, and you can let someone else do them.

DELETE – These are those tasks that are not urgent or important, so you don’t have to think about them.

Track Time

Humans have a vague perception of time when working on a task, talking on the phone, or replying to emails. This is why it might be a good idea to take time to log in time you spend on each of the activities. When you track time, you recognize the amount of time you are losing because of distractions and also get valid data you can use to plan future activities.

You need to track every activity, including telephone calls, lunch hours, and breaks so you can get insights into how you work. The data can be used in motivating your employees by giving them a reward if they cut down on time wasters or if they finish a given task before the deadline.

Listening to your inner clock

All people don’t have the same inner clocks, and you have had those moments where the morning meeting with a client felt like a nightmare.

It is a good idea to leave your employees freedom to organize their working hours while achieving common goals and tasks on time.

The employees need to use their energy level peaks to do tasks that are most challenging and require the most focus. This could be morning for some and after lunch break for others.

Encourage your employees to log in their daily activities over a period of one or two weeks so you can know what times work best for them and what their prime time is. Make a plan according to their prime time so you can improve their productivity.

Time Management Techniques

Pomodoro 

This is a well-known time management technique that your employees are going to greatly value. This technique gives them a sense of control of their time and also gives them breaks to give them the energy needed to do the tasks.

Their tasks are going to be parceled into 25-minute sessions. They are then going to set a time as soon as they start the tasks. After the end of the session, they take a 5-minute break. After completing a four-session cycle, they can take a longer break of 20-minutes. 

The technique is going to help when the task you need to do takes time because of its complexity. The breaks are important because they help in avoiding underperformance. 5 minutes of shoulder and neck exercise, a short walk around the office, or chatting with a colleague is going to help you avoid burnout and also improve your productivity.

Making your meetings effective

There are many who don’t see the point of meetings because they consider them to be toxic. This is where executives have to spend most of their working hours.

When you run a team, you also have the responsibility of helping your employees show their value to the company by being productive. If you want to do that, then it is important to make energy and time-draining activities like gatherings a thing of the past. The smart approach is to have well-scheduled meetings where each employee has a recognizable role.

For example, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos has a rule known as the “two-pizza rule”. This is where a meeting doesn’t take longer than it takes a group of people to eat two pizzas.

If this rule doesn’t work for you, then there are specific tips you can follow:

Scheduling a meeting only when a decision has to be made, or there is an activity that needs to be done together as a team;

Limiting the amount of time the meeting takes, make it short;

Limiting the number of employees attending the meeting;

Creating an agenda for the meeting then sending it out the day before so people come there prepared;

Always sticking to the agenda and avoiding all the distractions during the meeting.

Saying no to distractions

There are a lot of things that can go wrong as you try to finish important tasks and achieve your goals, especially if you don’t succeed in keeping distractions at bay. A perfect example is when you check your inbox every time there is a notification sound. You might have the urge to respond immediately, but don’t give in because you are going to stop working on the task at hand. This will evaporate your concentration and productivity.

Studies have shown that it takes an average of 23 minutes for someone to regain their focus and get back to the task after a distraction. This is a lot of time lost. You can decide to check your emails only once or twice when working. Limit the time you spend on social media, surfing the internet and phone calls.  This will help keep you focused.

The 10-minute rule

Another method procrastinating employees can use is to work on a task they have been avoiding for only ten minutes. After doing it for ten minutes, they can choose whether to continue doing it for another 10 minutes or stop.

This method can be very effective because it works for those who keep procrastinating. Starting a task is the hardest part of the process. Once you get started, it becomes easier to complete it. You are still going to be in control after 10 minutes of doing the task, give it a try.

In summary

You can use the above tips and time management techniques and leave management if you want to see improved productivity and efficiency in your employees. This is going to help you get more things done and avoid the stress that comes with having to do things at the last minute.

You are going to see great results by using the above tips because you will know how to make priorities, make meetings more productive, avoid distractions, and also use time management techniques like Eisenhower Matrix, Pomodoro, or the 10-minute rule. All of these approaches are going to improve employee productivity and also make them feel relieved and accomplished.


Author Bio: Arslan Hassan is an electrical engineer with a passion for writing, designing, and anything tech-related. His educational background in the technical field has given him the edge to write on many topics.


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