10 Principles of Time Management

Time management is essential for working professionals. When utilized properly, time management allows you to enhance your performance and achieve your goals quicker. Not managing your time appropriately can lead to missed deadlines and an inefficient workflow. Time is an irreplaceable asset that should be valued accordingly.

To-Do Lists

It is often a common time management issue that people feel overwhelmed by the amount of work they have to accomplish, as well as forgetting important tasks. A to-do list is a prioritized list of everything you need to do, typically listing the most important tasks first and the least important last. By not writing out to-do lists, you risk facing burnout or having difficulty concentrating. Having a well thought out list that is properly structured can help to keep stress levels low, as you are less likely to forget something important. These lists help you to stay on top of projects and manage a proper schedule.

Small Tasks First

If you notice you are concentrating a lot of your time and energy into larger tasks or projects, you may be at a greater risk for feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. Sectioning your larger tasks into smaller, more manageable, tasks can better optimize your workflow. This could lead to your days being more productive, rather than getting caught up on one specific task and not completing your to-do list. Doing small tasks first can allow you to have more time for your larger tasks throughout the day.

Planning

Planning is an essential part of time management. Although to-do lists are part of planning and organization, planning is much more than making a list. At the start of each day, make a strategic plan to maximize your output for that day. Workflow can also benefit from having a weekly or monthly plan. Part of the planning process is outlining your goals and creating an outline on how you are planning on reaching those goals.

Write a to-do list to make sure you take care of the important tasks.

Organizing

Without proper organization, your time management will suffer. Poor organization will cause you to fall behind on your tasks and hinder your progress towards your goals. Keep your workplace tidy, as well as invest in organizational supplies to keep your workflow optimized. This may be in the form of file folders, notebooks, and storage boxes. However, organization can also be digital. Clear out any unwanted emails and utilize helpful software to help you keep track of your finances.

Break Down Big Tasks

Larger tasks can be a speed bump along the way to your goals. These larger tasks can often make you feel overwhelmed or be something you end up avoid doing due to it being intimidating. Large tasks have a tendency to be more intimidating and more challenging. Breaking down large tasks into smaller tasks to make them more appealing and more manageable. Completing small tasks will give you a sense of accomplishment that will help power you to keep moving forward. Before you know it, the larger task will be completed from bunching together the smaller tasks.

Distractions

Distractions come in many forms and can hinder your workflow. Distractions may be subtle and hard to distinguish. These can include having the television turned on, a coworker popping into your office, or music playing in the background. If you find yourself prone to becoming distracted, it may be necessary to take measures in order to limit distractions. If you do not already, set specific office hours for yourself even if you are working from home. These will be your working hours and sticking to these hours will help to prevent outside distractions. If you cannot help music or other noise interfering with your work, you may want to consider noise cancelling headphones. Eliminating distractions will help to maximize your output.

Breaks

Not taking enough breaks can actually have a negative impact on your workflow. It is important to pace yourself and take a break if necessary. Planning breaks into your workday should come beforehand and not in the moment. Try to stick to your pre-planned breaks and make the most out of the time away from work. Use this time to help yourself relax and recharge. Sometimes if you are experiencing a particularly challenging task or problem, taking a step back for a few minutes can help to give you a fresh perspective.

Schedules

Sticking to a schedule is difficult for some, however it is imperative that you create schedules in order to maximize your daily work output. Schedule when you begin working and when you will stop, as well as any breaks. Keeping track of your schedule, either on paper or digitally, is an essential aspect of time management. Give yourself the ability to view and edit your schedule easily.

Unplanned Tasks

Dealing with unplanned tasks or unexpected situations is never optimal. However, it does not have to have a negative impact on your workday. Make the most out of this unexpected situation and plan for how you can successfully get back to work or use it to your advantage. Even though this is not always possible, as these events will eventually arise, making a plan for when you encounter sidetracking situations can help you to formulate a solution.

Avoid Multitasking

When you have a list of to-dos, it might look appealing to try and complete multiple objectives at once. However, this is not an optimal strategy when it comes to time management, as well as quality control. When you are working, you want to put your best foot forward. This is why you should concentrate your focus on one task at a time. This will allow you to complete your tasks more effectively than if your focus was divided between multiple projects.

As a working professional, time is one of your most valuable assets. You will experience many benefits that come alongside proper time management. Working on improving your time management skills can lead to an enhanced performance and effective strategies for reaching your goals.