When it comes to pleasing the boss and rising high on the corporate ladder, increasing your productivity is essential. When productivity is increased, profits rise, operating costs fall and it becomes easier for a company to gain a larger share of the marketplace. While there are many factors that play a part in increasing productivity, perhaps one of the most important to consider is effective time management skills.
Improving your time management skills allows you to spend a higher percentage of each day on the goals and tasks that really matter. Individuals who manage their time effectively are perceived as disciplined, focused, motivated and organized. These are all important assets that employers look for, and they make for valuable employees in any organization.
If you are looking to improve your time management skills, one of the first steps you should take is to make lists. Managing your time completely in your head is almost impossible, and trying to do so often leads to forgetting important steps or critical tasks. Compile a things-to-do list at the beginning of every day, and make sure it includes every task that you hope to accomplish. Also consider making separate lists of people you need to call or email and a daily schedule that includes both work and personal tasks. By compiling lists, you gain a clear picture of what you hope to accomplish and the amount of time you need to allot for each task at hand.
When making your daily to-do lists, consider any tasks that you can delegate. Delegating tasks allows you to focus on more important projects, and it gives others the opportunity to participate, learn and show their strengths. By delegating tasks, you enhance your credibility as a leader and show that you are a team player. When delegating, always communicate clearly with your colleagues, and help each of them to understand the small s steps and the big picture.
After delegating some tasks, it is important to focus on the things you need to accomplish. In order to do this, avoid half-working. Entrepreneur magazine states we half-work when we divide our time and energy between things that we need to do and things that we want to do. Some examples would include beginning to write a report and then stopping in the middle of it to surf the web, check Facebook or randomly look at your phone. This results in less being accomplished throughout the day. In order to avoid the pitfalls of half-working, schedule a time to work on a project and eliminate all distractions. Make sure to build in periods of rest where you can check your voicemail or surf the web, but do not allow yourself to participate in those activities until it is time for your scheduled break. Also consider scheduling your most important work for earlier in the day when you are more likely to feel motivated.
Finally, understand that sometimes the right thing to do is to simply say no. Effective time management involves understanding how many tasks you can reasonably expect to accomplish each day and how many projects you can afford to have on your desk at any given time. If you are constantly taking on too much, your mind will feel cluttered and you will lose focus. The end result is that nothing gets done and your time management efforts quickly diminish. While saying no all of the time is never a good idea, be honest with your boss and co-workers if your current workload is more than you can handle. Offer reasonable solutions if the tasks that need to be completed are important, such as handing them over to a trusted coworker or taking something off of your plate so you can focus on the new task. You never benefit yourself or your company by taking on more than you can handle, and it is better to say no than to try to overextend yourself and lose your motivation.
Effective time management skills are important tools in life, and they can have a huge impact on your professional endeavors. Take the time to focus on organization, delegation and prioritizing tasks in order to become a more effective team player and a trusted employee in any corporation.