Want to know the best time management strategies to boost productivity? Well, you have chosen the right article to read.
Increased productivity matters a lot to business owners and managers. We all have many personal issues that can affect us negatively so that we lose concentration while doing our professional tasks. You might have noticed that it takes several hours for you to do a 30-minute long task. And here is the time you should do something about it because you are an important wheel in the company, after all.
Time management is a skill
Luckily, time management is a skill that can be taught, learned, exercised, and improved upon. You can read many time management books and increase your productivity. It takes time and effort to enhance any ability, especially when it comes to time management because it often necessitates learning new habits, behaviors, and attitudes.
The effort, however, is well worth it because properly managing your time allows you to be more productive and perform at a better level. Here in this article, we will introduce the best time management strategies to boost productivity.
Why is Time Management Important?
With the recent inevitable changes in our lives, especially in the past one or two years, many businesses have turned remote for health issues. Governments have announced long lockdowns to stay safe from the Covid-19 pandemic. So, many people had to (and still have to in some countries) work from home and communicate with their co-workers only through online apps such as Slack, Tauria or Zoom.
According to salary.com 89% of employees waste at least a part of their working time each day: 31% of workers waste 30 minutes a day, another 31% – 1 hour a day, and 16% waste roughly 2 hours.
While many would feel fine to work remotely, most people, however, have difficulty working from home. Sitting in pajamas, cuddling your pet, waiting for the postman to bring your last online order, and smelling the aroma of the coffee you have just prepared, the music that you are playing, etc. won’t let you concentrate. Working in these conditions is way different from working while sitting on your hard chair in the office.
Have we talked about the distraction that mobile phones make, yet? When working in the office, you feel that you are at work and some people are watching you. So, you do your best to check your social media networks during the coffee breaks and lunchtime. However, when you are working remotely from home, you may spend hours on social media or think about the content you saw on Instagram, for instance, 20 minutes ago. So, you cannot manage your working time and tasks and you have quite low productivity.
All these factors can lead to the point where you notice that you have bad time management and you have to do something about it. That is the reason why time management is important for work especially if it’s remote work.
6 Time Management Strategies to Boost Productivity
Now that you know the importance of time management, it’s high time we started talking about the best time management strategies to boost productivity.
1. Plan Your Work Ahead
Planning efficiently is crucial in doing almost anything in our lives. Plans can give us a better image of what we want to do and how much time we need to pursue that. The point about plans is that they have to be realistic or else they would not only make any changes but also can cause stress and even depression, especially if you are a perfectionist.
Before you start to work, try to take notes – either with a pen and paper or on your phone – of all the tasks that you want to do. Notetaking is an essential writing skill. Then, add time to your plan by predicting how much time each task needs.
For instance, if you are a content creator and you have to write one article, review two articles, and write three captions for social media, try to think how much time you need to do each task. You may need four hours to write the article, two hours to review, and one hour to write captions.
Be sure to plan for breaks. Breaks are critical to staying fresh and productive throughout the day. The team at gaming company Solitaired, for example, required breaks during the last 10 minutes of each hour and found that productivity increased.
If you think it is difficult to stay loyal to your timing and finish the tasks on time, you can set a timer on your mobile phone or download a well-developed mobile app that will track your working and leisure hours during the day. Remember to put your mobile phone in a drawer so that you do not check it every five minutes!
2. Set Clear Priorities
After having identified the tasks you should do today and created a plan with deadlines, it is time to set clear priorities. Not all the tasks that you do each day have the same level of priority. Do the ones that are most important first and put them at the beginning of your daily plan.
The reason for this is that unimportant tasks can eat up a lot of your time, and you may often give them too much of your attention because they are easier or less stressful. Identifying important jobs that must be finished that day, on the other hand, is critical to your productivity. Once you’ve figured out where to focus your energy, you’ll be able to get things done in a way that suits you and your plan.
3. Use Project management Tools to Ease Your Work
Thanks to improvements in technology, there are many tools and software that can help you boost your time management and productivity.
Make sure you have the best time management software available. The software keeps track of all of your tasks and processes, ensuring that the whole team is working hard and producing results.
Time registration monitoring or employee time clocking software works to register the time that has been spent on the job and alloted to tasks.
We know that the inputs are part of the outcome, or in other words Y=f(x) in project management. Tools for project management allow you to have a list of undone tasks with due dates and priority signs. So, you can track everything without having to spend time doing it individually.
Your team members can also see your tasks and task status. The greatest advantage of using project management tools is that it decreases the amount of time you spend asking your team members or manager about the tasks. It doesn’t mean that you will lose contact with your team members, but it means that you can collaborate more productively.
There is a software solution for almost everything, from office management software to tackle all your front end and back office work, to full flagged agile project management tools that provide you a 360-degree view of your projects. Don’t forget there are several apps to integrate with these tools, and even enable you to use Gmail as a mail client. In addition, there are product management tools with product workflow software to empower your team and keep everything related to productdevelopment managed. Picking up the right tool and forming the right tech stack is the golden key to success.
4. Stop Multitasking, start Unitasking
Regardless of your personality type and personal abilities, you may be forced sometimes to multitask.
For instance, at one moment you might be preparing your email marketing tool to send out the next email blast while working on the social media post on the next tab. Especially when you’re working in a startup or small business and you have to wear many hats, it is easy get lost and do various tasks .
However, if you want to boost your productivity, you should stay away from multitasking. Pick one task at a time & don’t begin any new task until the previous one is completed.
Multitasking can also increase your receptiveness to cognitive bias and lower productivity accordingly. A cognitive bias is a subconscious mistake that obstructs the decision-making process. Cognitive biases causes you to misinterpret information from your environment, affecting the rationality and correctness of your decisions and judgments. While we are struggling with cognitive biasses every day, we should try to reduce it in the work environment.
Unitasking instead of multitasking is a great way to decrease cognitive bias, increase concentration, and boost productivity. Most of us believe that multitasking is a good method to get things done, but the truth is that we perform better when we focus on one activity at a time. Multitasking is inefficient and should be avoided. Improve your time management skills and start with a list of priority tasks, doing them one by one. Say goodbye to managing four tasks at a time.
5. Remove Distractions from your work environment
Especially in remote working, there are too many possible distractions. We just mentioned some of them at the beginning of this post. Sitting at home may sound comfortable and more convenient than in the work environment. However, there are many things at home that can distract you from work.
Do your best to remove distractions. It may also mean that you have to change the decoration of your room or house. Try to make your place similar to an office with no TVs and Netflix around, no game consoles, no bed, etc. Most importantly, try to put your mobile phone somewhere that is far from your seat or in your desk drawer.
6. Learn to Say “No” More Often
If you believe you are already overworked, and you already have an extremely busy schedule, politely decline extra assignments. Before committing to take on additional work, have a look at your to-do list. Many people fear that saying no would make them appear ungrateful, but the truth is that saying no is one of the most effective strategies to prioritize your time and self-care.
Learning to say No to the overload of task assignments can also make it more viable to do unitasking. When you take care of this, you’ll discover that you have more energy to dedicate to the things that matter, which your friends and family will enjoy. In addition, you can do better time management and boost productivity.
Time management is a very important feature if you want to boost productivity. The 6 tips above can help you do your tasks more efficiently and check upon the time you are spending for a company. To respect your life and mentalities on the one hand, and respect your team members and managers on the other, it is better if you learn time management and boost productivity. Wish you the best of luck!
I am Parichehr Parsi, a freelance content creator. I currently write for digital marketing websites. I love reading, writing, and doing research.