It seems that today more than ever, technology has caused us to work even harder rather than easing our work burden. Things seem to be more and more urgent and the workload seems to grow by the day.
If you find that you are not coping, these tips should help you:
1) We have all heard this one – be organised and tidy. Some people are able to work in what appears to be a chaotic environment but the truth is that if you are better organised, you will find it easier to find things when you are looking for them.
2) Apply the one touch rule to all papers that come across your desk. Deal with them as soon as you pick them up and then either file, forward or destroy them. This simple action will save you loads of time. It makes little sense when things are right on hand, to put papers into a filing basket if you can file them immediately.
3) Set aside time to deal with your emails and telephone messages. Email could take up your whole day if you let it. Set aside, at most, three sessions a day to check your emails. Turn the email notification system on your computer off if at all possible – it is very distracting. Set aside a time during the day to return your telephone messages.
4) Try, as far as possible, to plan your day. If you take five minutes at the end of every day to write a basic plan for the next day, you can come in the next day with a good idea of what must be accomplished.
5) Limit your interaction with distracting co-workers. These are people that pop in to chat. It is fun to chat with co-workers but do so over lunch or tea. You should discourage long chats about nothing in particular by ending them in a polite but firm way. Standing up to show someone out is a polite way to indicate that they should leave. You could also politely say that you have urgent calls to make or a report that needs to be finished. If you are persistent, these colleagues will get the idea in time.
Overall, time management in the workplace boils down to limiting distractions and being organised. If you get these two issues right, you will find yourself much more productive.