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Tips for Better Time Management at the Office

06.26.12

Managing your time wisely can be the key to not only a successful business, but also a healthy lifestyle outside of the office.  No matter what field you work in, if you’re feeling overwhelmed with your workload, everyone (from co-workers to clients) can be affected.  While everyone has a different way to manage their time effectively, here are a few tips to ensure that you optimize your time:

Create a schedule.

Keeping a schedule is essential for a successful business.  Whether it’s created electronically or simply hand written, it will keep tasks, projects, meetings, lunches, etc. in order.  One upside to upgrading to electronic schedules is that it can be linked with your computer and Smartphone as well as shared with other employees or assistants.

Know your schedule.

Simply creating a schedule is not always sufficient to completing your tasks smoothly.  Breaking down your daily tasks and knowing every event set forth for the day will help you prepare and prevent being blindsided with a lunch meeting or deadline.  According to the blog, 10 Time Management Tips that Work, one suggestion is to take time every morning to sit down and go over your schedule for that day.  This ensures that you understand the main events that are scheduled for the day (giving you an idea of how much time you have for smaller tasks).

Set goals.

Setting goals is important because it provides the large framework for how you can plan your day, week and/or month.  Becky McCray, owner or four different businesses in Oklahoma, sets weekly goals for herself.  She makes the point that knowing what needs to be done by the end of the week allows her to plan each day accordingly, ensuring that everything gets completed.

Prioritize.

Organizing your tasks from most to least important will help delegate when/how much time should be devoted to a certain task.  If you spend hours on a project  that isn’t needed until the end of the week while neglecting one that a client wants by tomorrow, you are just going to cause unnecessary stress for yourself (and your client).

Understand what you can and cannot do.

The idea that you can take on everything, and anything, by yourself is not always the best philosophy.  If possible, when you’re presented with a task that you know you won’t be able to finish on time, do not take it on if it can be given to someone else. If you have an assistant or staff around you that would be able to do the job, find the optimal person to help out.

Keep an organized work environment.

Having an organized work space will reduce time wasted more than you would think. If you know where everything is, you won’t spend time searching all over your desk for it.  Having labels, folders, drawers, etc. can help immensely to keep things in order.  In addition, when you do not have the stress of frantically searching for things that you need, it is just one less stressful thing you have to think about.

Apply these rules to life outside of work.

Your personal life and work life both affect one another.  If you can’t manage your time effectively at work, your stress and unfinished projects will overflow into your personal life.  Accordingly, if you don’t manage your personal life effectively (lack of sleep, too many social engagements, etc.) it affects how well you do at work.

While these are just a few tips to start with, ultimately the best way to manage your time effectively is to see what works best for you! Check out these additional resources for even more detailed time management tips:

http://www.businessknowhow.com/growth/manage-time.htm
http://www.businessknowhow.com/growth/timewasters.htm
http://www.businessknowhow.com/manage/getorg.htm
http://www.businessknowhow.com/manage/tm101.htm
http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/175828

Written by Trey Jones

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