I have been having this question in my head since I started doing the extra working hours, “How to improve time management skills at work so we can work more effective?”. This is actually a question that has been asked a lot by corporate workers like me. Time is a definite and non-renewable resource for every working person.
A lot of fresh graduates (include me when I have my very first 9-to-5 job) don’t seem to care enough about time management skills at work. Well, some of more experienced workers also aren’t put attention to time management.
Have you put some attention to your time management skills?
Actually, at first it seemed a normal thing to do for me if I must work overtime because I can’t finish all the jobs at normal working hour. There are times when the task is piling up because common reason like closing or a closely coming up event. Even for some department, overtime is just a part of their monthly activity.
But what seems peculiar for me is, when even without any particular event, some people are struggling to the job within the given 8 hours. If that’s also a problem for you, then I supposed the problem lies in your time management.
In this case, you obviously need to work on it so that you no longer need to do unnecessary extra working hours. However, if you the problem persist even after you follow the ways I mentioned below, the possibility is, you need more team member. You better discuss it with your team leader.
Okay Alex, Can You Just Tell Me How to Improve Time Management Skills at Work?
Yes, don’t worry. We will arrive at it very soon. Time management is not really that hard to do actually. I’ve been doing it since I was a kid.
When I was a kid I got a task from my teacher to make a list of what I did every single day for a week. It wasn’t a big deal for me since I was so used to live my days in order. I woke up, took a bath, prepare my thing, had breakfast, and even tied my shoes within the same timeframe. My life was fully well-organized.
And this is when I started to doubt my time management experience at my childhood.
It was funny that I was having a trouble in doing my work within the 8 hours’ time frame. Yeah, you read it right, even me. I knew that if I want to optimize the time I had and the result I make, I got to do something about this issue.
Why the heck my time management skills do not function properly at work?
It is normal when we enter a new stage in our life (getting the first job, or switching career), we will be ‘surprised’ with all the changes. This is what made me and most of the new people at company found it somewhat hard to maintain everything at ease.
Now, the main issue here is not to find what the cause is, but how to fix it. You can improve your time management skills by following these simple actions:
1. Don’t Stuff Your Desk With Paper Work
I’ve always keen to learn as much as I could to get a better knowledge and understand all the process related to my job. This kind of mindset had led me into taking any opportunity that came before me. But the truth is, you need to focus on something that is really relevant to your job.
2. Set A Goal Within Realistic Time Frame
When giving a task, sometimes your boss will set the time frame based on their expectation which is not realistic. There was a time when my boss expected me to handle email until 5 pm (how would I possibly go home at 5 pm??) and also when the big boss wanted me to make a financial analysis report within 15 minutes. Some of their instruction are even not feasible. Discuss it to have a realistic one.
3. Break down the Big Pie Into Small Crumbs
When you’re assigned into a project, it might seem hard to be done. Break it into small actionable step will make it easier to do. You will also save a lot of time since your steps will be more organize. Having an unorganized task will make you going back and forth and cost you a lot of time.
4. Set Your Daily To Do List
The first thing I do before even opening any work files every morning is set to do list for the day. I can work on more than one project at a time and each of them begging the same attention. Setting to do list helps me focus on what really need to be done soon.
5. Prioritize Your Work
Our days at work is not always seamless. Many times we will get distraction during the day. To do your work efficiently, you need to prioritize your work. Do not switch your attention to any email, request or even order that came recently unless it really have a high urgency. To help you focus, close the email window while you’re working on a project.
Will it Effective to Improve My Performance at Work?
If you follow the tips I provide above, I’m sure you can do your work more effectively. However, those can’t give you 100% guarantee that you can finish everything in a proper time.
There are two main possibilities if you can’t handle everything properly:
- The job you are working now typically requires working time more than normal working hour (40 hours per week). This is a job-type issue and you may want to consider applying for another job if you are not satisfied with it.
- The workload is clearly too heavy with the current team members in your department. This can be caused by strict budget from the company to maintain the number of employees, bad task management from your boss, or the rapid growth of your company within a short period. This is a workload issue. You will need to discuss with your boss about having an additional team member, or you may never be able to manage all the works properly.
Proper discussion with your boss may help you to fix the workload issue, thus improving work-life balance
I hope the tips on how to improve time management skills at work which I share in this article will work well for you as it has worked nicely for me. Increase the effectiveness of your work and say goodbye to superfluous extra working hours. Remember to balance your balance work and life. If you have some other suggestions to improve time management skills at work, do consider leaving a comment below Thank you.
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