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Managing Your Work Time

By: Ross Wigham - Updated: 27 Nov 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Time Management Getting Things Done Work

Having too much to do and not enough time available is a common complaint that all of us will make at some point during our working lives.

It seems the problem is getting worse with productivity levels in Britain among the lowest across the whole of Europe. Despite working some of the longest hours in the developed world Britons seem unable to manage their working time productivity.

Although everyone has their own individual way of getting things done there are some techniques and rules that can help maximise the working day, making the most productive use of the time available.

Getting Started

It may seem obvious to say that it’s important to know exactly what all your tasks are but this is vital in forming a cohesive and successful plan to make the most of the available time.

It’s a common mistake to simply tackle each task as it comes in and can often lead to a situation where workers are just ‘fire fighting’ each individual problem instead of working through all of the tasks in a methodical way.

You should draw up a list of daily, monthly or any regular tasks and then look at other things that may come up as part of your duties. This will help you plan effectively for the usual peaks and troughs of your workload and deal with tasks or projects that come your way.

Evaluating the Workload

It’s very important to make sure you don’t become overwhelmed with excessive work or try to take on too much as this will usually result in even less productivity. Becoming swamped with more than you can handle is totally counterproductive and will soon lead to even less being accomplished.

Demands on your time will always rise and fall but you should place sensible limits on what you hope to achieve in any set period of time.

Too much work or being put under excessive pressure can lead to workplace stress which can in turn lead to a host of other problems for workers and employers. If you feel too much is being expected of you don’t be afraid to speak with your manager or supervisor to discuss the workload.

You should always ensure that:

  • Any targets associated with your work are achievable.
  • The agreed deadlines are realistic.
  • Work isn’t forced on you or your colleagues.
  • You don’t agree to take on tasks that you cannot realistically complete.

Managing Your Time Effectively

Time management is one of the most important skills to have in the workplace, although it can be something of an art because most people have different ways of working. Some find it better to work flat out until a job is complete but others are more productive when they break work up into lots of smaller, more manageable chunks.

Identifying your own strengths or weaknesses and finding the style that works best for you is really what effective time management is all about.

  • Prioritise. You must look at the most important tasks to complete and make some difficult decisions about the urgency of things facing you. Deciding on the most important jobs will help you tackle the working day more effectively and put your plans into action.
  • Make to-do-lists. Preparing daily or weekly to-do-lists will set out all your tasks and act as a permanent reminder of what needs to be done. Many people find that these sort of lists help them avoid procrastination and keep them organised. However, you should set a maximum number of tasks per day or the list will become unmanageable.
  • Delegate tasks or get help. You will become stressed and overworked unless you can calculate your maximum workload, and develop delegation skills.

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