If you’re struggling to manage your time at work below are a few simple ways you can stay on top of your to-do list throughout the day.
- Have a set schedule
Know when you’re waking up, how long it will take to get ready, and when you will be at your desk and able to work. Having a set schedule that you stick to every day will make the process of being productive much easier. You can better manage how long you spend doing unnecessary tasks and have a specific plan to follow throughout the day of what you have to get done and in how long.
- Use the right tools
In a busy work environment digital tools are your best friend. Find the ones that work best for what you need to accomplish and lean on them whenever necessary. These can include the calendar app on your computer for scheduled meetings and deadlines, a data room provider for storing all your company’s confidential data, or a video chat service for communicating with any clients or co-workers living abroad.
- Make daily and weekly lists
The simplest way to manage your time more effectively is by creating detailed lists to guide you throughout the day. These lists, whether daily or weekly, will tell you what needs to get done and by when, allowing you to figure out what you will start on first and determine if you need any extra help on certain tasks that might be better done as part of a team in order to get them done much quicker.
- Recognize when you’re least productive throughout the day
We all go through that afternoon slump after having lunch when we just don’t feel like working as productively as we need to. It’s important that you recognize when you are most likely to fall into this state and work proactively to counteract it. This could be by having a coffee ready for when you sit back down at your desk, preparing a lighter lunch that won’t leave you feeling as full, or letting yourself take a quick powernap during your break to feel a bit more energized when you get back to your desk.
- Better prioritize your tasks
Not everything is equally as important, which is why you need to determine what will take more time and effort and start with the easiest tasks or the most pressing. By starting with the smallest tasks you will have more time throughout the rest of the day to work on the bigger ones. Conversely, there will be times when certain projects are more pressing than others and will need to be focused on. This needs to be figured out sooner rather than later so that you can better manage your time.
- Set time limits
There are only so many hours in a work day, so it’s important that you set a time limit to every task in order to ensure you are able to compete everything on your to-do list for the day. Getting stuck on one thing for too long will take away from other deadlines you might need to meet. Give yourself an hour to work on a task and complete it before moving onto the next so that you can make the most of the day.
- Step away from work often
This might sound counterintuitive, but by letting yourself step away more often you will be less likely to get burnt out throughout the day and lose motivation. By having smaller breaks that allow you to clear your mind before diving into another task you will feel more capable of handling more throughout the day without feeling overwhelmed.
- Ask for support
There are tasks that you just can’t do on your own and in these instances it’s important to ask for help if they are time-sensitive. It is better to admit that you are struggling than to waste time for everyone on the team by not meeting a deadline on a project that could have been met if you just had a few helping hands along the way.
- Know your capabilities
No one is good at everything and that’s okay. Recognizing your capabilities and limitations is what makes you a better employee and better at managing your time throughout the day. By knowing what you can handle and what you can’t you are able to complete tasks quickly and more confidently and allow someone else to do the ones that you might be struggling with.
- Clock out at the end of the day
Once work is done it’s important that you clock out at the end of the day. There should only be so many hours that you are focusing on work and those should be kept in the office environment so that you know you have used all those hours productively rather than taking work home with you at the end of a long week. Give yourself the permission and accountability to leave the office knowing that you did everything you needed to in the hours allotted throughout the day.