Workplaces have become more fast paced, which has led to an increase in multi-tasking and distractions. Over time, this can cause burnout and take a toll on overall productivity. Developing time-management strategies is one of the best ways to handle competing demands throughout the day. Below are some time management tips for improved productivity.
Review Your Calendar and Assess Distractions
You can’t improve time management without first identifying what is interfering with your productivity. It helps to sit down and take an in-depth look at your calendar. Are there activities you spend more time on than you need to? Where can you save time? Maybe you have a dozen meetings every week when you only need two. It also helps to make a running list of your daily distractions. What slows you down? What causes you to lose your focus? Once you understand what is negatively affecting your attention span, you can start to overcome distractions and make better use of your time.
Focus on One Task at a Time
Shifting back and forth between tasks or trying to juggle multiple tasks at once isn’t efficient. Each task just ends up taking longer to complete. It is much more productive to focus on one activity at a time and give it your complete attention. In psychology this is called the flow state of mind. If concentration isn’t your strong suit, you can improve your ability to focus by using mindfulness techniques and practicing the art of blocking out external distractions like noisy coworkers and text message notifications.
Make To-Do Lists
Most people don’t realize how useful to-do lists actually are, often because they use them in ways that aren’t as helpful as they could be. At any given time, your work-related responsibilities are going to be numerous and varied. The brain can’t keep track of it all readily. Lists help us stay organized. To-do lists, however, don’t work well if you make too many of them, or if you don’t order tasks by priority. It is also important to estimate how long each task will take as you make the lists.
Improving time management skills can increase productivity over time. Productivity requires organization and self-awareness. To develop healthy time management strategies, you have to retrain your brain, but it is well worth the effort. Time management strategies will allow you to prioritize your workday, stay focused for longer stretches of time, and eliminate unnecessary distractions.
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