A manager spends, on average, 3 hours a day dealing with interruptions.
That many interruptions can be detrimental to your progress, especially when working on a major project. Even when being paid by the hour, it’s likely that your original estimate doesn’t include hours of interruptions or time misspent.
The solution to this can be as simple as taking on some vital time management strategies.
Read on to learn how to manage your time better.
If you’re not sure where to begin on your time management journey, don’t worry. We’re here to help break down the top 5 time management habits to help you stay ahead of your projects.
The term “Eat That Frog” has become well known in productivity circles thanks to Brian Tracy, who wrote the bestseller under the same title.
The quote comes from Mark Twain who once said that “if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing this is done”.
While we don’t expect you to eat a live frog, it’s important to remember that we all have a hypothetical “frog” on our to-do list. The frog represents an important task that for some reason we simply don’t want to do. However, once we conquer this task we further enhance the productivity that follows.
So before checking your inbox, taking calls, or even your first meeting, put aside time to handle your “frog”.
While you may have the best intentions to conquer important tasks on your to-do list, it doesn’t take long before the distractions and interruptions creep in, taking over your time.
That’s because a to-do list without a plan is just that, a list of things-to-do. What you really need is to have a dedicated appointment with yourself.
Consider it this way: imagine you just got off the phone with a potential client that wants to schedule a meeting. You would get off of the phone and the first thing you would do is write the day, time and maybe some extra details down in your calendar.
When the time comes to have your meeting you would respect that appointment, you wouldn’t allow any interruptions and would arrange your day to ensure that you can give them your undivided attention.
Now take all of that and make yourself your own client. Look at the most important tasks from your to-do list and estimate how long they may take. Next, carve out time for each task in your calendar and be as dedicated to the scheduled time as you would be to your other appointments.
The feeling of crossing something off of a to-do list can give an instant feeling of satisfaction. However, there’s a difference between being busy and being productive. If “write to-do list” shows up as a task on your to-do list (yeah, we’re looking at you), then chances are you aren’t prioritizing.
In this case, it’s much more important to create a “must do” list than a “to do list”. Your “must do list” may be only 2-3 items long, and that’s totally fine, what’s important is that you’re focusing your time and energy on those totally, non-negotiable items.
If you’re having trouble prioritizing your list, start with a brain dump.
At the end of the day write a complete list of every single task that needs to be done. Go ahead and write down whatever comes into your mind. Once you’ve got it all on paper give each task a number from 1-5. 1 being the most urgent and 5 being not very urgent at all.
Next, take on each task in order, conquering your 1’s first…then your 2’s and so on.
Often we take on tasks that could be done by someone else out of fear that they won’t complete the task as well as we could.
Unfortunately, this need for control can be costing your hours each week. Often, it’s worth the time investment to train someone else to do a task instead of having to constantly do it ourselves.
There also may be shortcuts that you’re not considering. For example, instead of spending 1-2 hours each month getting office supplies, it may be better to have a standing order that gets delivered by the office supply company each month.
Finding shortcuts for tasks such as these will free up your time for much more important things that can be done by you alone.
If you’re not properly organized, both at home and at your place of work, there are countless hours that go into simply finding the things you need. While some people prefer to “work through the clutter”, the mess can be truly detrimental to your time management.
A simple way to get organized is to take on the “5s.”
The 5S method is a Japanese organizational method that stands for Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, and Shinsuke. In case you haven’t brushed up on your Japanese lately, these words break down to the following principles.
-Set everything in order
-Keep everything consistently clean
-Repeat each organization action each day
-Embrace as part of a daily ritual.
By regularly incorporating the 5S method into your daily life you’ll find you save money, time, and energy by just staying on top of simple actions.
Partnering time management strategies with powerful productivity tools can be a major game changer that can enhance the quality of your work while allowing you to take on more clients.
With apps like Rhumbix, you can now put your field data to work for you in a manner that benefits the whole team. Whether from your home office or out on the field, this is one tool that can take your productivity to the next level.