How many times have you heard the term Time Management? About a million? Yeah me, too. I always assumed that it was something for people who had more control over their life than I did. Or that it was some mystical thing that I would need one day when I had my dream career. It never occurred to me that I could manage my time as a cashier or as a bank teller or even as a security guard. But it can be done. In this post I’m going to walk you through the basics of managing time at work and in future posts I’m going to give some tips on how to manage your work time in specific career types.
So time management…what is it? It is simply managing your time so that you can do more and do it efficiently. Now that may seem like it will only benefit your company or your employer. But that’s not the case. There are major benefits to managing your time at work. You can increase the amount of free time that you have if your job requires you to take work home. You can show your employer how valuable you are which could lead to that promotion you’ve been bucking for. You can even make your time at work more enjoyable gasp because you won’t feel like you are drowning in work that is yet to be done. So the benefits to both you and your employer can be great. You just need to know how to get started.
If you’re prepared to start managing your time then you’ll need to take a look at how much time you actually have to do your allotted tasks in. That’s all work is really, filling a certain amount of time with a number of tasks that need to be completed. If you think of it in simple terms like this, it will help you break down all that you need to get done and start plugging tasks into time frames that you can complete them in. Make a list of the tasks that need to be completed and then group similar tasks together. Once you have a list (and if you’re not a list person and you prefer to do it in your head that’s okay, too) of what you need to get done, simply start plugging those to-do’s into your planner or calendar or just simply think of how long each will take and prioritize them so that the important things get done immediately and the less-than important ones get done by end of day or end of week or whenever an appropriate time to get them done is. The idea here is if you knock out the really important tasks or the tasks that you most dread doing, you will free yourself up to do smaller tasks and you will feel accomplished enough to tackle the rest of your workload. This will work whether you shuffle paper all day in a 9-to-5 or you are a day laborer on a construction crew. You know what you need to get done and how much time you have to do it in. You simply need to tackle tasks in such a way that you are able to complete them and they aren’t looming over you. The same principle applies when you are working to coordinate or complete a project. Take what has to be done and how much time is needed to do it and then plan accordingly. If you work in a job where you are constantly interrupted by customers, you are usually familiar with down times. You know what you have down time and when customers are interrupting you less frequently. Use those times to tackle the behind-the-scenes work that has to get done and prioritize those tasks in the same way that I discussed above.
It’s really that simple. Time Management doesn’t have to be a four letter word and you don’t have to be a doctor or an investment banker to use time management strategies. Once you analyze your workload and plan out when to get what done, you will feel so free. You will have the time to breathe and you won’t be constantly worried about what you didn’t get done because even if you didn’t get to that one thing, you will have a plan for when you will get it done. I’m excited to hear about any time management strategies that you guys are currently using. I have been using several but I am about to implement the Cool, Warm, Hot method of prioritizing tasks. I will make a post in the future about this method and how well it worked for me. So leave a comment or send me a message about what time management strategies you’re currently using and I’ll be sure to share them so others can benefit! And if you’re not currently managing your time, give it a try!