Best Time Management Activities for Increasing Your Efficiency

Best Time Management Activities for Increasing Your Efficiency

​To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late, and to be late is just plain unacceptable! Time wasters are never accepted in the world of work. Being efficient isn’t just about getting something done quickly.

It’s about organizing your tasks in such a way that less time is wasted and more time can then be spent doing things you enjoy. But, that may be easier said than done. Time management is a learned skill that will help you become as efficient as possible and get the most out of life.  

Time Management Activities

Time management activities

No one is born with good time management skills. Effective time management and project management is simply something that develops as you get older, either naturally or consciously. Having good time management skills will mean you’ll get more done, be less stressed and have more free time on your hands. Overall, you’ll be more efficient and that involves more than a simple to-do list. To help you get started, the following are some of the best time management activities out there for increasing your efficiency:

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    Daily/weekly planning. Having a written plan in place will enable you to work far more efficiently than if you were just working on the fly. Whether you need both a daily and weekly planner is up to you, but the more plans you have in place the more efficient you will become. Planning out your day/week can help you make sure that sufficient time is allocated to tasks depending on their priority. At the start of each week, write down in a list all the tasks that need to be completed by the end of the week and next to them write down their priority. Then, allocate your tasks accordingly to each day starting with those of the highest priority. Ignore the time for now unless it’s a time-specific task (i.e. a meeting). Then, at the start of each day, do the same thing. Look at your task list for the day and allocate them a time based on their priority. Having a plan in place to refer to will help keep your stress levels to a minimum, meaning you’ll be much clearer-minded and efficient as a result.  
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    Don’t hesitate. The quicker you get started the quicker you get finished. And while it may sometimes be difficult to get things moving, the principle of momentum says that once they are in motion, far less energy is needed to keep them going. The easiest way to build up momentum is to tackle everything with a sense of urgency and without hesitation.  One way to help you do this is by adding a short-term deadline to each task on the list. Then, once the task has been completed check how long it actually took against the time allocated for it. Each time you do this you should try and beat the deadline. In doing so, you end up working much faster but through your own choice.
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    Ditch the distractions. The one thing that affects productivity levels the most are distractions. Whether it’s an email, your phone, or a colleague chattering away at you, distractions are a nightmare when you need to get things done. You may only be distracted for a few seconds as you quickly check a message. But, it’s the time it takes for you to get back into the full swing of things that’s the real issue. Doing this several times a day will increase the cortisol levels within the body. As a result, you’ll end up feeling more tired. Try and cut out all distractions for at least one hour a day. You’ll instantly see how much more productive you are.
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    Learn to be flexible. While scheduling is great and can really help in giving us clear direction in where we need to be during the day, plans do invariably fail. And when plans fail, schedules need to be adjusted. This is something you should bear in mind when planning your day/week and learn to be flexible. Wherever possible, try to include some kind of buffer in your schedule for when things like this happen. It will make life a lot easier to reshuffle if there’s a little breathing space in between tasks.
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    Organize, organize, organize! To be the most efficient you can be, as well as organizing yourself, you need to organize your environment, too. You’ll be surprised at how much time you’ll save having everything in its own allocated place where it’s nice and easy to find. This doesn’t just relate to physical items like your pen or certain files, but it also means you should declutter and organize your computer and emails too. Taking just one hour to organize things properly will save you countless hours searching for things in the long run.
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    Concentrate on being proactive opposed to reactive. Don’t wait for things to happen, make them happen. Even in times of trouble, remember to remain calm and deal with the issue at hand in a proactive manner. Think of solutions that will move the situation forward.  
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    Schedule in regular breaks. In order for you to work at your most efficient, you need to schedule regular breaks. Working for hours and hours on end may seem like you're being productive as you’re getting a lot done. But, in hindsight, after a certain length of time without a break, the brain slumps and you become more sluggish and less efficient as a result. Taking regular breaks will give you the chance to recharge your body to work again at 100% efficiency.
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    Learn to delegate. Depending on your role at work, however, this may not be feasible.  But, if delegation is an option, then use it. Learning how to delegate work will save you a great deal of time to do something more important.  

​You don’t have to do all of the above to see an improvement in your efficiency. By just doing one or two of the above time management activities, you will notice a significant difference in both the way you work and the spare time you have.