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You’ve been working flat out all day, you check your to do list and … it’s happened again! You haven’t ticked anything off! Sound familiar? Three words can help you: Time Management Skills… the difference between achievers and attempters, winners and losers, dreamers and do-ers!.
Luckily, it’s also a method that everyone is more than capable of mastering. As a recruitment agency, our team are constantly juggling multiple tasks from candidates and clients left, right and center. No two days are the same! Over the years, this has made it absolutely essential to develop top-notch time management skills.
Set measurable goals
Effective time management skills are about focus and focus comes from direction. Stay focused on activity with clear goals.
Instead of deciding, “today I am going to create some content for our website” decide “I am going to complete 3 first drafts for new pages.”
You have a clear, visible finish line to run towards. Now, watch as your pace triples!
There’s nothing worse than working away at your absolute max, only to realise that you’ve somehow still not accomplished what you’d wanted to. The key to preventing this is through figuring out what needs to get done first.
Once you’ve written your to-do list for the day, take a second to decide what order the items should go in. Use numbers if you have to – whatever it takes to get that order nice and clear!
At the end-of-the-day you get to go home in the safe knowledge that you completed tasks with imminent deadlines on time. Other less important tasks can roll over to tomorrow. Phew!
Cheer yourself on!
If you don’t motivate yourself, who will? This is where self-motivation comes in.
At the start of a task, take a second to think about what this task, when completed, will achieve for you. In addition, makes sure you’re well-rested and nourished as possible when you start work each day. Healthy body, healthy mind!
Once you’ve got in the habit of pushing through even the toughest tasks, that’s when you’ll know you can achieve anything.
Although it can be tempting to leave the worst until last, tackling the most difficult items on your list head-on is the best way to go. More often than not, it won’t be half as difficult as you’ve anticipated.
Before you start your tasks for the day, take a look at what you’ve put last on your list. Be honest with yourself: Is it genuinely the least important, or are there other factors at play?
You’ll probably find that the tasks you’d expected to be the hardest aren’t half as difficult!
Do one thing at a time
In a busy workplace, you’re going to be spinning a lot of plates at once. But if you want maximum focus, it’s great if you can streamline your schedule.
Try working in 20-minute time blocks: set a stopwatch if you like and try to focus on getting just one task out of the way at a time.
With more of your attention channeled towards less, you’ll find it a million times easier to double your efforts. We know it’s easier said than done but it’s a tactic worth trying.
Set time limits
When you’re engrossed in a task, it’s easy to lose track of time and go into perfectionist mode, taking up unnecessary amounts of your precious time.
One good way to speed yourself up is by setting a hard deadline. If you’ve estimated a certain amount of time the task should take, try setting an exact time to get it done by.
This is a handy way to define the finish line and tick the task off your list.
When you’re busy it’s easy to get overwhelmed. By taking a strategic approach you can stay on target. That way, when you walk out the door, you can feel smug in the knowledge that you’ve had a productive day.
Be your own cheerleader!
We may be too old to expect gold stars from our bosses but that doesn’t mean you can’t give them to yourself. When you’ve managed to complete a particularly difficult task, give yourself some self-praise! Whether it’s as little as just making yourself a reward cup of tea or just pausing to reflect on your achievement, a little positive reinforcement and self-love goes a long way.