Nowadays time is the ultimate luxury; we all want more of it yet seem to have less of it. We’d all love to achieve more and do less – gain back some of that valuable time! But it’s not just a daydream, you don’t need to work 24 hours a day in order to get more done – you just need to work smart and manage your time effectively. We thought we’d share our top tips for doing so:
- Create a task list
It is very hard to remember everything that you intend to carry out during the day, meaning important tasks often get overlooked. This is why it’s essential to have a to-do list. This is the backbone of success when it comes to time management. Make a list in the morning when your mind is still fresh, or every evening when you are winding down for the day, and add to it whenever you remember something. This could be done electronically via an app (we listed our favourites in our recent post) or simple spreadsheet or note, or you can simply keep a notebook or diary and a pen handy.
- Work in time blocks
Create time limits for tasks and work within specific windows, i.e. one hour. During this time turn off your email and phone notifications, and don’t let anything distract you or interrupt your workflow. Once you implement this, you will be surprised at the quantity and quality of work that you can produce in a focused session of two hours, compared to five hours with noise and other disruptions. Multi tasking may seem like a great idea, but in reality, productivity decreases by more than 30% when you are attending to more than one task at a time.
- Schedule specific tasks
Having scheduled a block of time, allocate certain tasks that should be completed during that time block. Know your most productive hours, and schedule appropriately. Most people tend to be very active during the morning hours, therefore, between 8am to 10am, you should tackle the very demanding tasks for the day. However, according to research, productivity reduces by more than 30%, when you are attending to more than one task at a time.
- Take breaks
If you want to remain highly productive, it is important to take breaks of up to 30 minutes in between your tasks. During the break, engage in something different and refreshing, like watching a couple of funny video clips, going for a walk, talking to a colleague about weekend/holiday plans, or having a snack.
- Handle difficult tasks first
As previously highlighted, it is advisable to handle the most demanding tasks first. It’s easy to postpone things but if you keep doing that, the deadline will be upon you, you will do it in a rush and probably submit substandard work. At the same time, you will also feel more distressed and distracted when handling the smaller tasks, since the larger project is on your conscience. Once you tackle and finish the biggest task of the day, you will immediately feel a sense of relief and can move forward with the smaller tasks much more easily.
Time is your greatest asset. With proper time management, you cannot fail to see increased output. However, if you still have more tasks to handle during the day than you would like to handle, delegating and working with an experienced PA can help you to work even less and much more, and the team here at My PA are happy to help with any of these tasks.