4 Time Management Strategies for Managing Your Day More Effectively
by Marianne Stenger
Posted: June 16, 2015
By Marianne Stenger
Although a traditional work day is eight hours, a workplace survey conducted in the UK found that the average office worker is only productive for about three hours a day.
Some of the most distracting activities include things like checking social media, reading news sites, chatting with colleagues and making hot drinks. If any of these activities are eating into your work days, the following strategies can help you to manage your time more effectively.
1. Record your daily routine
The first thing to do if you want to manage your time more effectively is to figure out which non-essential activities you are wasting the most time on. The best way to do this is to track everything you do at work (and for how long) over the course of at least one week using a diary or productivity app like RescueTime or Toggl.
At the end of this week, you’ll be able to spot any problematic patterns like overly long coffee breaks or time spent on social media and make a conscious effort to keep these activities to a minimum or cut them out of your day altogether.
2. Make a to-do list at the end of each day
Procrastination is more likely to set in if you don’t have a clear idea of what you need to accomplish each day, which is why to-do lists can be very motivating. Rather than making a to-do list at the start of your day, however, try to do it at the end of each day when work is still fresh in your mind so you can simply pick up where you left off the next day.
Be sure to break larger projects up into smaller daily tasks that you can cross off your list, as this will help you to track your progress and stay motivated as you work toward your final goal. Try to be realistic when planning your day, though, and only schedule tasks you know you’ll have time to finish or it could end up being counterproductive.
3. Say no to multi-tasking
Contrary to popular belief, multi-tasking is a weakness not a skill. Research shows that taking on too many tasks at once increases the likelihood of errors, and when you multitask it will actually take you longer to complete each one. If you like switching between tasks, though, try working on each one for at least 20 minutes before switching to another.
4. Schedule time for non-essential activities
If despite your best efforts you’re finding it hard to avoid distractions like chatting with colleagues or checking your Facebook, the best way to prevent them from interfering too much with your productivity is to schedule time for them.
For instance, you can schedule five to ten minutes for checking Facebook or getting a coffee between each task on your to-do list. This may even help you feel more motivated, because you know that once you’re finished with a particular task, you can take a few minutes to relax and recharge.