You have a lot on your plate. You are so-busy. To that I say, like Shania Twain: “That don’t impress me much.” Because everyone these days has a hectic schedule and a million things to do and in a constant race against time. Nothing new!
Now, how you manage your time; how seamlessly you go through it in the office is what that matters. Here’re some innovative time management hacks to apply.
Micro-scheduling to an extent
Is your things-to-do list not taking you far? Try micro-scheduling. This involves breaking down your to-do list by hours or even minutes! So, let’s say, you will make international phone calls from 9.30am to 10.15am, and then you will update your Excel sheet from 10.20am to 10.50am, and so on.
Sounds daunting? Perhaps it is. As you can see, while micro-scheduling helps you take control of the working hours and keeps you on your toes through the day, extreme micro-scheduling it may also put stress on you or even unknowingly hamper the quality of work.
But learn to embrace micro-scheduling to an extent. Add breaks and flexibility to your plan – but not so much that you become complacent!
The Pomodoro technique
Simply put, the method breaks down your schedule into 25-minute laps. During a lap, you cannot entertain any distractions or take a break whilst you are striving to achieve a particular target. Then, take a small break. And then, start another 25-minute lap. Repeat. After about four laps, take a relatively longer break.
This technique helps in avoiding distractions, enhancing focus, and keeping you geared towards end-goals.
There are Pomodoro timers in the form of mobile phone applications and websites. Try them today!
The power of ‘no’
Do not take on more than you can digest. Refusing someone or letting go off a potential opportunity may seem rude or even downright silly. And doing ‘extra-work’ may actually turn out to be fruitful. But at the same time, we ought to learn how to prioritise.
Let’s not overcrowd your schedules with tasks best left out. You already have a lot on your plate, remember?
Apply the same thought when scheduling for a meeting. Will that half-hour meeting, which you will have to attend battling through one-hour traffic, actually worth it? Can’t a small conference call do the trick?
This is not to say, of course, that a strict ‘no’ policy should be maintained all the time, but it is always wise to analyse what’s important/urgent/relevant and what’s not – and prioritise accordingly.
The myth of multitasking
Now we’re getting into really murky waters. Yes, multitasking is a rather celebrated terminology. But several studies have pointed out problems of this practice as well.
Quality may fall. Errors may be made. Switching back and forth between tasks may cause time-loss between them as you need to settle in.
In your office, with many tight deadlines and a demanding boss, multitasking may seem to be your answer. And we are not suggesting throwing the overall concept of multitasking in the bin.
But do take it with a pinch of salt. There is no point in making errors, living in an illusion that you are accomplishing a lot, or that you are undertaking many tasks together – only to revise and revisit them and devote additional time later.
Latent time killers
Do not underestimate the difficulty or the time required to complete a task. Emails can be a good example. Of course, it depends on the nature on your job, but generally speaking, shooting emails can actually take up quite a lot of time!
Be it coffee breaks, chats around the water-cooler, or the social media distractions – we all have our cross to bear. Identify yours and be mindful of that.
Try these simple tricks to manage time effectively and work efficiently – so that incomplete work can’t bother you or steal your downtime at the end of the week.