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Time Management

Via BolivarMoNews.com : 3 time management tricks used by CEOs of large companies

Those of us who have been in the work world for a while have learned that there are a few professional skills that are absolutely essential for career success, regardless of your position or industry—and chief among them is sound time management. According to Psychology Today, “Time management is the ability to plan and control how someone spends the hours in a day to effectively accomplish their goals … It is important to establish clear goals and priorities in order to set aside non-essential tasks that can eat up time, and to monitor where the time actually goes.”

Most of us have learned what happens when we fail to effectively plan and utilize the time we have available to handle important work tasks—things get chaotic, our stress and anxiety levels shoot through the roof, our ability to focus and perform suffers, we lose track of key details, and we tend to accomplish less (sometimes significantly less) than we hoped to. Not a formula for success, is it?

Conversely, those of us who have embraced sound time management techniques have felt its magical effects: we’re suddenly able to develop realistic plans for effectively tackling projects both large and small, we dazzle and amaze our colleagues by our ability to consistently stay on schedule on tasks, we’re able to stay calm and collected even during the most volatile and challenging of times, and we become able to make full and productive use of the hours we have each day to handle our priorities.

It’s hard to argue with results, and having a to-do checklist full of completed items at the end of each day makes a pretty compelling case for the value of time management. And it’s not just those at the lower rungs of the corporate ladder who benefit from using time management tricks. Those at the very top of the professional food chain—the bigwigs and decision-makers with the big offices and fancy job titles like CEO—have also developed their own time management tricks, which have not only helped them rise to the top but also helped keep them there.

It makes perfect sense—CEOs of large companies often have daunting workloads and jam-packed schedules, and their ability to handle their jobs effectively not only affects their own livelihoods, but also the health of their companies and the employees who work for them. So, you can safely bet that the time management tricks they have adopted are proven to work.

Business Insider recently followed the CEOs of some of the world’s largest corporations and found some striking similarities in how they manage their time at work.

They avoid overload

Simply put, no one can do it all, and those of us who learn this and avoid trying to take on too much responsibility all by ourselves are better equipped to create realistic plans for handling our workloads. Sure, trying to do as much as we absolutely can to be productive and keep things moving forward is a noble pursuit, but the truth is that it’s ultimately a futile one—overload is certain to either result in burnout, less-than-optimal results, unachieved goals, or some combination of these. Wise CEOs have reached their positions by figuring out where the tipping point is between maximum productivity and overload to avoid going overboard.

They delegate effectively

Effective CEOs know that they’re only as good as the people and teams they surround themselves with. One person—even a super CEO—just can’t handle everything themselves; in order for a business to operate smoothly, CEOs know that they have to delegate responsibilities to trusted subordinates so that they can devote their time, energy, and focus to the higher-level tasks that demand their attention.

They plan tomorrow before it comes

Sure, sometimes plans change, and savvy CEOs know that they always need to be prepared to effectively pivot towards and react to the unexpected, but they also are aware of the benefit of planning in advance whenever possible. Building daily, weekly, and even monthly schedules as early as possible allows for effective strategic planning of each hour of the day and lets you maximize the time you have to devote to work tasks while avoiding the unpredictable chaos of unstructured time.

Effective time management is both an art and a skill that often requires taking many variables into account and considerable trial and error. But whether you’re just starting out in the work world or are a seasoned veteran, developing strategies for making the most of your time each day is a wise investment in your productivity and future.

Via ProofHub : Importance of Time Management in the Workplace

Time – one of those things working professionals can’t get enough of.

Whether you’re a newbie or veteran, you always need another hour to tick tasks off from your to-do list.

It’s difficult to take control of every single minute of your day especially when there are too many distractions around. Since childhood, our parents and teachers have advised us to spend time and money wisely. In this article, we are going to take you back to the importance of time management but with a little spinoff. Today, we would be talking about the importance of time management in the workplace.

Before delving straight to its importance, let’s first see what time management actually is:

What is time management?

Time management is the process of planning and exercising conscious control of the time spent on specific activities to work smarter than harder. It is a juggling act of various things that help you increase efficiency and strike a better work-life balance.

Improving your time management at work allows you to enhance your performance and achieve your desired goals with less effort and more effective strategies. However, failing to manage time or poor time management skills at work can result in:

  • Missed deadlines and appointments
  • Procrastination and lack of focus
  • Lack of professionalism
  • Inefficient workflow and low work quality
  • Unwanted stress
  • Poor professional reputation
  • Strained workplace relationships
  • Financial penalties
  • Work and life imbalance

P.S. Time is an irreplaceable asset. It is more valuable than money, especially in today’s fast-paced, overly-competitive business world. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time. Be sure that you spend your time where it matters most to you.

Benefits of time management in a workplace

There are many advantages that come along with proper management of time. In your professional life, time management can benefit you in the following ways:

1. Deliver work on time

Allocating a finite time period to tasks help you complete them on time. It also helps you to manage your workload in the most effective way. When you have time-boxed tasks, your brain gets rewired to follow the structure and accomplish those activities within the desired time-frame. Thus, you can easily deliver work on time if you have managed your time well.

2. Provide a better quality of work

As a dedicated employee, you are expected to provide work of certain quality and standards. With the proper utilization of time and prioritization of activities, one can easily provide a better quality of work. Prioritization helps you focus on important tasks by keeping them in the highest priority which enables you to work on them with full attention and focus. Hence, the quality of the work is improved.

3. More productivity and efficiency

It is no secret that effective time management skills make you more productive and efficient as a working professional. These skills are helpful in helping you finish tasks as early as possible without compromising on the quality of work. Your overall productivity often goes for a toss when you’re working on unimportant tasks but effective time management skills let you tick off tasks that are both important and urgent on time.

4. Much less procrastination

“I will do it later” – This is an excuse that we all have made at some time. The meaning of time management is not just about doing more in less time but also to reduce the urge to delay and procrastinate over important tasks. Applying good time management tricks enable you as a founder, leader, or employee to work smarter rather than harder. It instantly eliminates procrastination by ensuring that you’re familiar with the tasks added in your to-do list and when it needs to be finished.

5. Less stress and anxiety

There are times when employees feel overwhelmed due to too much work on their plates. This can not only hamper your productivity but also take a toll on your overall health. Excessive stress and hypertension can lead to heart diseases, depression, obesity and more. Knowing what to do we can reduce unnecessary stress and tensions from your life.

6. Improved quality of life

Effective time management skills don’t just benefit your professional life but can also improve your life outside of the office. If you keep things under control on the professional front, you get more time to focus on your personal life and relationships. Knowing the fact that tasks and activities are on track will bring a sense of calmness in your personal life. As you feel calmer and less stressed out, your quality of life improves automatically.

7. More opportunities and career growth

Being punctual with your work will not only increase your effectiveness but will also help you earn a good reputation at work. When managers and seniors know that you always complete your tasks on time, it could lead the way for more promotional opportunities at work.

8. More time for leisure and recreation

When was the last time you had time for yourself doing things that you really enjoy? Can’t remember, right? Fortunately, with good time management, you get more free time in your day to do the leisure and recreational activities that make you happy. Ultimately this helps you to create the perfect balance by working smart all day and having a reward of your choice in return.

5 Steps for better time management at work

Time management is not rocket science. Frankly, anyone can learn this art with a little practice and learning. So here are a few steps that tell you how to become a time management expert:

1. Plan

Planning plays an important role in time management as both go hand-in-hand with each other. You can make the most of your time only when it is thoroughly planned. When we talk about planning, you don’t necessarily have to follow a strict routine, instead, it means making smarter decisions of knowing the right time to do a task or an activity. The idea behind time management is to work smarter than harder and make time to do other things as well. Best-seller author Brian Tracy once said, “Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution; this gives you a 1,000 percent Return on Energy.”

2. Prioritize

Prioritizing your daily tasks is the key to successful time management. That said, many employees start their day with unimportant tasks or something that can be easily done later. Prioritization helps you realize that not everything you do is important. It is important to focus on your priorities to achieve success at work. Figure out the most important tasks and the ones that are urgent. This categorization will help you focus on what actually needs to be done. You can use various project management tools that help you set your priorities straight from the day a project starts.

3. Don’t multitask

Multitasking is one of the biggest time-wasting activities. Instead of accomplishing too many things, you end up achieving nothing out of them. The best way to utilize your time is to take one thing at a time and accomplish it before jumping to the next thing. Make a list of tasks that need to be accomplished in terms of their priority. Not only you would be able to focus better but there would be lesser distractions as well. And no distractions mean less likelihood of mistakes.

4. Cut off distractions

In our everyday life, distractions cost us many valuable hours in a day. Mobile phones, chatty coworkers, social media are some of the common distractions at work that almost cost us three hours a day. To not let these distractions eat up your time, it’s better to cut them off completely from your schedule. Take a moment to learn about the things that distract you. If social media and mobile phones are halting your productivity, set a fixed time in a day where you can check your social media.

5. Use a time tracking software

No one understands the importance of time management in the workplace better than a project manager, especially when you have to handle too many tasks and team members simultaneously. Many effective project managers use a time tracking software to stay on top of everything. Such tools are helpful in managing and tracking the time being spent on each task. If you are looking for such a tool, you can try ProofHub. It helps you to keep a record of every minute so that you can manage your time efficiently at work.

6. Schedule your break time

Taking regular breaks while working is an effective way to stay productive all day. But it’s effectiveness is subject to management risk, especially when you start taking too many breaks. It’s obvious that you can’t power through a big project or task in one go, you need a break. What’s even better is having a well-scheduled break time. Take a walk, so some quick stretches, or plug in earphones and listen to your favorite music, do whatever helps you to relax and gets back to work with energy later – but don’t take more than 10 minutes.

7. Find your most productive hours

The next time management hack is to match your highest priority work to your highest productivity hours. The basic idea here is to check in with yourself frequently to track when, where, and how you’re the most productive. Research clearly shows that our day is driven by cycles that affect how alert and motivated we are. For example, you might be at your highest brain capacity, with your best focus and attention, before lunch hour, and slow down significantly in the evening. So, if you have a project that involves critical decisions and complex thoughts, the best case scenario is to manage it in your “golden hours”.

8. Accept your limitations

Even with 110% effort, there will be occasions where you simply cannot get things done within the specified time frame. This is the point where you accept that there are limits to how productively and efficiently you can manage your time. For example, if you have got twice the normal workload in a day, outsourcing and delegation are your best shots. Don’t just assume that you can get everything done that you wanted in any given time frame. Remember, doing this will only make it harder to manage your time effectively.

In conclusion…

Effective time management skills can have a positive impact on your work and life in general. When you learn to take control of your time on a daily basis, you improve your ability to get things done, make better decisions and most importantly, gain ultimate control of your key priorities.

I hope this post will be helpful in learning about the importance of time management in the workplace.

Via The Mandarin : Time management: separating the important from the merely urgent

Do you find yourself constantly responding to emails and attending meetings, but never quite getting around to the things you really ought to be doing? Distinguishing between the important and the merely urgent can help.

While the impulse to deal with pressing problems immediately might make us feel productive, it does not always serve us well.

It’s easy to become caught up in the hamster wheel of everyday tasks without pausing to wonder whether all the important jobs that need doing are getting done.

This is a common problem because we have a bias towards completing urgent tasks regardless of their importance.

The result is we tend to put off completing important but non-urgent tasks. This could be completing that extra piece of work to build up your CV and help get the job you really want, or perhaps it’s going to the doctor to check out that lump you’ve noticed. Maybe you’ve been meaning to consolidate your superannuation or change energy providers but never quite get around to it.

This is a common pathology of governments too — there’s always something in the media the minister can respond to, and without discipline strategic work can easily fall by the wayside.

It doesn’t help that important, non-urgent tasks often involve uncertainty, a lot of work, benefits in the distant future or anxiety. We’re also more likely to put off tasks that involve high up-front costs. We put off dealing with such challenges for as long as we can, dealing with them at the last minute, or sometimes never.

But even after accounting for all these other factors, there’s something about a short-term deadline that distracts attention away from the importance of the task, according to a paper on the so-called “mere urgency effect” in The Journal of Consumer Research.

The authors write that there’s a trade-off between urgency and importance:

“The restricted time frame embedded in urgent tasks elicits attention, diverting focus away from the magnitudes of task outcomes, and thereby leads people to exhibit the mere urgency effect,” they argue.

The paper suggests this may occur because uncompleted tasks stick in the mind, causing discomfort and prompting us to resolve the problem so we can move on, regardless of whether the task is actually important.

This tendency is particularly pronounced people who see themselves as being very busy, because their concern about lack of time leads to “chronically paying more attention to task expiration time.”

“We may sacrifice health, family, and other important aspects of our lives in order to focus on less significant activities with shorter completion windows, especially when we seem to be working more and perceive ourselves to be busier,” they say.

Research also shows that people see tasks with longer deadlines as being more difficult, resulting in more effort being invested. Often this is appropriate, but this perception of difficulty can also lead to more procrastination and, in the workplace, a higher chance of quitting.

The result is that when faced with a jumble of more and less important tasks with differing deadlines, people often prioritise less important tasks with shorter deadlines when they’d be better off refocusing their energy on what’s important.

Fixing the problem

While these cognitive biases might not be eliminable, taking a more conscious and structured approach can help identify where you might be going wrong and point you in the right direction.

The authors of the mere urgency effect paper highlight the importance of moving one’s focus from the deadline itself to outcomes. This has implications for both the workplace and policymaking, they believe:

“Our research suggests that interventions that shift people’s attention away from the completion windows to the final outcomes of everyday tasks should be particularly effective at attenuating the mere urgency effect, leading us to invest more time and effort in activities that matter most to our well-being as well as the long-run welfare of our institutions, communities, and society as a whole.”

At the level of personal time management, many advocate identifying and writing down a few — usually three — key tasks for the day. Taking time in the morning to write out what you want to get done that day can help focus effort by making plans and expected outcomes clearer.

Research also suggests that scheduling when and where you’re planning to complete those tasks makes it more likely they’ll be finished. Giving yourself too much time often means you’ll space the work out to fit the deadline, so setting an artificial deadline with an adequate — but not excessive — amount of time might push you to avoid procrastination.

Another common tool for righting the balance is the urgent-important matrix. US President Dwight Eisenhower reportedly used it to sort his priorities, dividing tasks into four categories: important and urgent, important and non-urgent, non-important and urgent, and non-important and non-urgent.

Quadrant 1 is the realm of crises and looming deadlines, and quadrant 2 is the all-important planning and strategy many neglect. Quadrant 3 is many phone calls, meetings and other distractions that are of minor value but need to be done by someone. Quadrant 4 is time wasters and trivia.

So when you identify tasks that fall into quadrant 3, delegate if possible. As for quadrant 4, eliminate the ones you can.

Finally, make sure you’re well-rested: sleep deprivation lowers self-control, so you’re also more likely to make bad or unethical decisions when you’re tired.

Via Forbes : Time Management Techniques For Work-Life Integration

Despite all the talk and best efforts, work-life balance remains elusive for many professionals. The generic advice about how to structure our time fails to account for each individual’s income requirements, career goals and personal values. When you fall short of “having it all” — the successful career, the storybook family life, the active gym membership, the eight hours of sleep — the outcome is guilt, stress and shame. In a nutshell, these emotions only hinder growth.

No one can be in two places at once. Expending effort in one area of life causes guilt in another. Long hours at work, for example, can result in a cycle of negative self-talk: “I’m letting my family down by staying at the office so late.” Conversely, leaving work early to join a child’s field trip can cause thoughts like, “I have so much to do at work. I really shouldn’t be here.” These statements only add more guilt and shame, and the vicious cycle continues.

Fortunately, it is possible to have a successful career and live in accordance with your values. The key is to understand what works for you. You can also shift your approach, maybe embracing the term “work-life integration.” Just making that subtle pivot in language will help.

The Tool

Start this integration by identifying where you would really like to focus your energy.

You can use an energy chart, similar to the one below, to provide a fantastic visual representation of where you are now and where you want to be. The energy chart allocates how much energy you spend in each of your “essential roles.” Create your own chart by first calculating your total daily waking hours.

Next, over the course of a week, record how much time you spend on each intrinsically fulfilling activity daily, both as time and a percentage. For example, if you spend 10% of your time exercising, you would assign “10” as your energy allocation for that activity. You can also include activities that you’d like to incorporate into your life. If you would like to start meditating, for example, assign it “0” since you currently spend 0% of your energy on meditation.

Typically, clients will include eight to 10 activities, but there is no right number. For your chart key, create color-coded rectangles for each activity.

Now map out how you wish to spend your time. Being a visual creature, having a chart of what you value makes it far easier to stay accountable to your goals. Having your current and future life charts side-by-side will show you whether you are living in alignment with your core. This may just be the motivation you need to kickstart your journey.

Taking Action

With a mechanism in place, it’s now time to start acting toward your goals. Begin by figuring out how you might be able to get back more time for yourself. Some, for example, choose to wake up 30 minutes earlier to fit in something they love, whether meditating, walking the dog or journaling.

Next, look at how you are “wasting” your waking hours. How much time do you spend scrolling social media or browsing the internet? In front of the TV or shopping? You might be surprised at how quickly these numbers add up. Twenty minutes per day on social media is 2.3 hours per week. Ask yourself if this time would be better spent on any of the essential roles in your future energy chart.

Next, evaluate how you can strategically shift your schedule. Say, for example, you currently do laundry after your kids go to bed. Could you do laundry when they are doing homework instead and use the time after they’re in bed to treat yourself to an at-home yoga session or a nice bath? Of course, routines are powerful. Be determined to approach this from a flexible perspective.

Then identify the barriers preventing you from doing what you love. If you find yourself overloaded with work, for example, delegate more. If you find that housework falls entirely on you, talk to your family and provide specific ways they can help. Ultimately, if you spot an unfair “time-suck” in any aspect of your life, don’t be afraid to speak up about it.

Now ensure you are allocating your newfound time toward the activities you identified in your future energy chart. If you’ve made time to exercise, for example, set a goal, whether that’s running a 5K or going to the gym three times per week. Think about ways to help you stay accountable to that goal. Maybe find a gym buddy or track your progress in a notebook or in an app. Think creatively about how you can optimize every second of the time you find for yourself. After all, time is finite — it’s truly your most precious resource.

Lastly, treat your energy chart as a living document. Make a note to come back to it periodically to ensure you’re on track. As you make progress, your current energy chart will evolve, and the preferences on your future chart will likely change, too. Alas, all change requires some type of tool or method. In this case, a little rigor will create much happiness, lower stress and maybe even increase longevity. Go forth and see how worthwhile it really is.

via Business 2 Community : 10 Tips for Time Management Within the Workplace 

On average, we spend 8 hours a day at work. We show up at 9am, and leave by 5, that’s 480 minutes, or 28,800 seconds! Yet we complain that there is never enough time in the day. We’re rushing to complete tasks at 4:30 because we desperately want to leave on time. Soon enough, we realize it’s 6 p.m, and we still have work to finish, that we later put off and say we’ll get to tomorrow. It’s a vicious cycle that occurs in every workplace, regardless of what industry you’re in. It’s up to you as an individual to find tips and tricks, so that we can be our most productive self at work. 

As a Project Manager, it’s my job to be efficient and organized. Here are 10 tips that I use to manage my time more productively, which I hope you find helpful.

1. Question Yourself

It’s easy to get caught up in the mundane, day-to-day tasks. Therefore, a great approach to any task that you find yourself doing, is to pause and ask yourself. “Is this the best use of my time?”, or “Are there more pressing things I should be doing?”. I often find myself jumping into a variety of tasks that aren’t that critical, so this approach has allowed me to assess and evaluate the importance of my immediate tasks.

2. Shut Your Door and Plug In

In many working environments, you will be surrounded by fellow coworkers or subordinates. It’s easy to get distracted or off topic, and therefore isolating yourself is sometimes the best approach when you want to be productive. Whether it’s plugging in earphones or closing your door, don’t feel bad for doing whatever is necessary to finish your work.

3. Tame Your Technology

We all fall victim to this: checking our phones unnecessarily, going on social media 8 or 9 times a day, and even monitoring our inbox multiple times to see if we received anything new. Allocating time for checking and replying to emails is important, but don’t let that take up your whole day. That, along with browsing social media can take up a large chunk of your work time. Being conscience of this can greatly reduce the amount of wasted work hours.

4. Clear the Clutter

As the saying goes, a clear desk is a reflective of a clear mind. Having a messy desk or workstation creates unneeded stress for both you and others around you. Try to keep your space clean and have the same expectation of your peers.

5. Write it Down

One of the most common lies I tell myself is, “I’ll remember this”, or “I don’t need to remember this”. A common practice is to write everything down. Always have a notebook on hand because you never know when an important piece of information will be given to you. Being able to remember the details of it will reduce the time you spend remembering or retracting your steps to find the missing information.

6. Organize Paper To-Do’s

Creating action items and organizing it into immediate and not immediate tasks categories can greatly increase your task efficiency. When writing tasks down, ask yourself if what you’re currently doing is the best use of your time.One must have an organized idea of the urgency of each individual task. Understanding this will help allocate your working hours to the must immediate or time-sensitive deliverable.

7. Schedule It

A lot of people make to-do lists but never actually get around to completing their to-do’s. If this is a challenge for you, creating dates and times in which you want to complete a task will allow you to better organize your time and generate a greater understanding of what’s delaying you or taking longer than it should.

8. 30 Seconds or Less

Not all tasks are created equal, nor do they all take the same time to complete. Being able to analyze a task as it comes in, and assessing whether or not you can quickly address it, is a great time management skill to learn. Getting things off your plate quickly will allow you to address more pressing tasks within your work day.

9. Sometimes, It’s Okay to Procrastinate

It’s not always the best use of your time for you to tackle a task right when it comes in. Let routine, time-consuming items with no set deadline pile up, and tackle them all at once. This process can only happen after you clearly understand the deliverables needed for a task, and the number of other tasks left to do.

10. Consolidate Routine Actions

Finally, being able to combine routine tasks into a large batch is a great way to cut down the time wasted jumping from one action to another. Actively being able to set your brain to something it can do well allows you to power through it quicker. If you were to jump from large tasks to routine ones, it will slow down the process of both.

Ultimately, these are all tips that can help influence better time management in the workplace. Some might resonate more than others, and some you might be implementing already, but in the end, it’s the conscious effort of being aware of yourself and your surroundings that lead to the best management of yourself.

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