Let Time Finally Work for You
5 Time management hacks to get more out of your day.
Photo by Ono Kosuki
“Sorry, do you have a sec?”
How many times do you hear that at work? Once? A few times? It definitely is a candidate for the most annoying phrase used in the office.
Yet, it is never a second, not even a minute. It is a time trap!
People keep on stealing time from you. As a result, your plans fall apart and you never accomplish all you planned.
It’s about time to take your time back and let it work for you.
1. Get rid of multitasking
Multitasking is a myth created in job descriptions. While you think you do many things at once, you do nothing.
A simple fix is to focus on one task at a time.
Try a Pomodoro technique. Set a timer for 20 minutes and dedicate your full attention to one task. Put away your phone and switch to the ‘do not disturb’ mode. When the timer starts, dive into it. Start writing, reading, or analyzing. When the timer rings off. Stop. Relax.
During working, set up several sequences like this. Your ability to focus will improve, and you finally make some progress.
2. Say ‘no’ and mean it
Are you good at saying ‘no’? It is a must if you want time for yourself.
Work is a transaction. However, that doesn't mean you have to comply with everything they ask for. Feel free to say ‘no’ and don’t be ashamed of it. Don’t feel guilty.
‘No’ won’t make a terrible team player out of you. It is a pure time management thing.
Don’t say ‘no’ and then do it anyway. ‘No’ is no.
3. Communicate priorities
Always have a clear list of priorities. Make it short - no more than 3-5 items.
Your boss or client comes with an urgent request. After reviewing the existing list of priorities, ask him what should be replaced. Never say yes before you check what you still have to do.
Time management is not about stacking up your tasks but about managing priorities. Be realistically assertive.
They can have this, but they cannot have that. Either or, baby.
4. Delegate what you can
Make delegation your best friend. Here is how:
Break tasks into steps
Think about who has the capacity and skills to do it
Make a plan of action
Do the quality check
Accountability is often a problem. If you ask a group of people to create a process map, it is almost certain to be delayed. If everyone is accountable, no one is responsible.
It must be clear who should do what and how. Because as much delegation can save you time, you can also lose time if you don’t explain what is going on well.
Take a break.
In busy times, it is more than wise to take regular breaks. If you do not relax during the day, you will be slower and less productive anyway.
Schedule a short 5-minute break as often as you need. Again, don’t feel guilty about it. Your brain and mental health will thank you later.
Take control of your schedule. Choose to let time work for you.