Time management in the workplace can be a complex thing to do for workers. According to Starling Bank's 2020 Make Business Simple, a microbusiness (one to nine employees) spends 15 hours weekly on administrative work. Solopreneurs are even worse. They spend 31% of their day off taking care of their finances. Administration and finance are among the many essential tasks we need to do, underscoring how critical it is to manage our time.
We all realise that it is a challenge to control time every minute, especially when there are so many to-do lists to complete. Perhaps that's why some people and organisations are not always good at it. But at work, whether on-site or off-site (WFA or Hybrid), developing time management skills is essential for productivity.
Before discussing how to make time management effective in the workplace, let's first see what time management is.
What is Time Management?
In simple terms, time management is the process of planning and implementing conscious control of time spent on specific activities. Improved time management in the workplace allows you to boost your performance and achieve goals with more effective strategies. When failing to manage time can result in the following:
- Loss of focus and procrastination
- Missed deadlines
- Inefficient workflow
- Decreased quality of work
- Work-life imbalance
Time management is not about working harder but smarter. By managing time well, employees will meet deadlines, work more efficiently, and become more productive. The level of satisfaction will increase because you'll feel less stressed and get a work-life balance.
Time Management and Hybrid Working
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Since the pandemic, a new work environment emerged called hybrid work. Hybrid working is a solution that brings benefits, including achieving a better work-life balance. In a UK study, 61% of employees achieved a better work balance because of working from home.
However, there are pitfalls to watch out for with remote and hybrid work. There is no boundary between home and work. This trap creates excessive stress and endless fatigue.
Time flexibility is one of the most appreciated of working remotely and hybrid. Giving freedom to time management is a vital point in working remotely.
The benefits of good time management
Many advantages come with good time management. In your professional life, time management can be helpful in the following ways:
1. Meet deadlines
The most apparent benefit of effective time management is to turn in work on time. Time management helps you to meet deadlines on each job.
2. Productivity and efficiency
Poor time management causes employees to feel overwhelmed, while good time management increases productivity and efficiency. Effective time management skills allow you to mark important and urgent tasks.
3. Less stress
Sometimes you feel tired because there are too many things to be done. In addition to hampering productivity, this also impacts overall health, such as stress.
4. Improved life quality
Time management skills also have an impact on the quality of life. When you manage time for your work, you will get more time to focus on your personal life.
5. Improved work quality
As a worker, you expect to provide quality work with specific standards. You can easily offer better work quality by utilising the right time and prioritising work.
6. Less procrastination
“I'll do it later” - is a sentence we often say without realising it. Time management isn't just about doing more with less. It's also about reducing the urge to procrastinate.
7. More time for leisure and recreation
What was the last time you did things that you really enjoyed? Good time management will help you create a balance in your life, so you can have time to relax and vacation.
10 steps to practice Time Management
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Time management is not an instant science. Anyone can learn it, but it takes effort and patience. Here are a few steps that you can try.
1. Plan your time wisely
Just like your monthly budget, you need to track what you spend your time on. Start by checking your daily timeline and how much time you spend on your work.
Using a to-do list can save your productivity. You can use Eisenhower's Matrix to help you prioritise according to urgency and importance. This matrix breaks down your tasks into four quadrants:
- Do immediately
- Schedule for later
3. Stick to a daily schedule
Try to stick to the schedule you have made. This will help you manage the time you have. Here's a step-by-step guide that you can use:
- Create a realistic timeline
Not to mention specific people, but some of us seem to overestimate our capacity to get things done, a phenomenon called the planning fallacy. This phenomenon results in overly optimistic estimates. You need to add a time buffer between tasks so that even if one goes miss-deadline.
- Give your undivided attention
Avoid opening non-work related taps during business hours. Cut distractions from your computer and your work environment.
4. Use a time tracking software
One of the best ways to significantly improve your time management skills is to use time management tools. A little advice: use a time management tool that provides features for tracking work progress.
5. Schedule your break time
Rest is a way to keep our body productive. But its effectiveness is undoubtedly related to the way of time management. Too much rest also makes time wasted. It is best to have well-scheduled rest periods.
6. Set reasonable time limits
Work expands to fill the time allotted to complete it, according to Parkinson's Law. If you have a whole week to complete a task that should take three days, you may be able to spend one week on the task. So give reasonable deadlines.
7. Finish the most challenging tasks first
In the Eat the Frog productivity method, you will learn to do the biggest, hardest and most important tasks first, the ones you are most likely to procrastinate. This method also gives you more time to complete fun tasks.
8. Avoid multitasking
Like other productivity tips, one of the best time management is avoiding multitasking. Multitasking is the most time-consuming activity. Instead of achieving too much, you won't achieve anything through multitasking.
9. Keep things organised
It looks simple, but believe me, making everything look neat can help you manage your time better. For example, making a clean work desk, tidying computer files and using a calendar to mark the time.
Besides, you can try a project management tool using VirtualSpace to keep your tasks organised. It will help you to manage your tasks better than before.
10. Learn when to say no
To avoid half-baked work, know your limits and dare to say no. You must recognise your strengths and weaknesses and stop saying YES to everything.
Effective time management has a positive impact on work and personal life. Learning to control your time every day means improving your ability to get things done, make good decisions and gain complete control over your priorities.
However, learning to manage time well is not straightforward and very challenging. You need to have consistency. Learn to consistently do all the steps listed above. It may not happen overnight, but the more you get used to doing it, the better you will be able to manage your time.