You may have survived university on the basis of your talent and hard work. However, you’ll need to refine your organisational skills to survive, thrive and prosper over the long term in your chosen career.
If you haven’t already embraced the fundamental principles of time management, it’s worth starting now.
Here are a few tactics for getting more done in your day-to-day work.
Your first step in taking control of your work life is to outline the tasks you need to accomplish each day and rank them from highest to lowest priority. When faced with tough deadlines, you should know which activities to tackle first.
A key to effective prioritisation is to address your most urgent, important and/or most challenging tasks early in the day.
By scheduling your most pressing responsibilities for the start of the day, there’s less chance of squandering time on administrative and non-urgent work.
Likewise, if you begin the morning by successfully accomplishing a daunting project that has intimidating administrative hurdles, you’re likely to create positive momentum. The day becomes easier with each subsequent hour, as you move on to less difficult or less pressing tasks.
Batching (or batch processing) involves dedicating blocks of time to groups of similar tasks that require similar thought processes and resources.
When you spend an extended period focusing on completing a collection of related activities, you’ll find that you waste less time throughout the day preparing for and starting up single tasks.
For example, rather than engaging in email correspondence multiple times throughout the day (whenever a new message appears), you might allocate just one or, at the most, two times each day to address all your emails.
Some well-known bloggers, who publish at one or more posts each day, have revealed they actually write all their posts for the week on one allocated day, freeing up the rest of the week for other activities.
Whether it’s responding to an overflowing inbox or reconciling urgent accounts, blocking out time to batch-process your chores is a powerful tactic for boosting productivity and conserving your hours.
Groups of tasks that you could consider batching include:
• Phone calls
• Planning / strategy development
• Networking / social activities
Batching helps you to organise your task list. For example, rather than looking at a jumble of 50 small tasks in your day, you can focus on perhaps just four or five larger categories of tasks – each in a dedicated block of time.
You can manage your time with pen and paper or with simple default software such Microsoft Outlook’s Calendar or Google Calendar.
Many dedicated apps and technology tools are also available to support your time management and productivity. They include, but are not limited to (in alphabetical order):
• Focus booster
• Remember the Milk
• Rescue Time
• Time Doctor
These all have different features and price plans. Try them out to decide which works best for you.