Time management is constantly talked about as a vital part of being productive and improving your work day. IT, technology professionals, and many other professions are now working in the new hybrid or remote work environments. This brings with it difficulties and advantages.
Combining some of the old standby ways to be productive with new methods and ideas will lead you to the greatest success and give you time back in your day to enjoy life away from work.
Time management is more than just a means to maximize productivity. When you accomplish more in less time, this leads to other benefits, including:
- Better work quality
- Less stress
- More time to work on strategic or creative projects
- Less procrastination
- More self-confidence
Time-Tested Tips for Improving Your Work Day
There are obvious things that workers have done since the invention of a job for improving your work day. In case you need a reminder here they are:
Focus on one task at a time
Use a calendar and a daily to-do list to break up your day and avoid the multi-tasking trap. You are less likely to do good work and accomplish goals when you are concentrating on several things at once. This is a traditional problem that is compounded by the technology in our lives.
There is no way to stay focused on a single task with emails arriving at random, cell phones ringing and text message notifications sounding, collaboration software messages blinking on your computer screen…. you get the picture. Learn more about single tasking here.
Learn to Ignore the Tyranny of the Urgent — Prioritize
Charles E. Hummel published his business classic pamphlet The Tyranny of the Urgent back in the 1960s, and it is as relevant today as ever. President Dwight D. Eisenhower encapsulated it best in a 1961 speech: “Especially whenever our affairs seem to be in crisis, we are almost compelled to give our first attention to the urgent present rather than to the important future.”
Without prioritization of what matters most, we spend all our time putting out fires and dealing with ‘crisis’ events instead of investing in what is more important. President Eisenhower accomplished more than almost any other president during his eight years in office by knowing how to prioritize his time and energy. Learn more about what author Stephen Covey dubbed The Eisenhower Matrix and how to prioritize your time.
Complete Difficult Tasks First
Completing difficult tasks first offers several benefits. Doing the difficult first allows you to use your best energy and focus in the first part of the day. Once difficult tasks are completed, the easier tasks will seem to be completed even faster, as you relax and settle into a routine. Of course, this is only feasible if there are not higher priority tasks with deadlines that must be completed first. Refer to your calendar and daily to-do list for how tasks are prioritized.
This is the basis for the Eat That Frog productivity method pioneered by Brian Tracy. Eating the Frog means doing the hard things. Eating a Frog first in the day means nothing else could possibly be worse than that for the remainder of the day. The unpleasant (or difficult) is over and you can relax more as you complete other necessary tasks.
Time Management Tips for Improving Your Work Day in the Hybrid Work Environment
The modern hybrid work environment introduces new and interesting challenges for workers. Now, instead of the traditional day beginning during the morning commute on the telephone or when you punch the time clock, workers at home have a shorter commute (from the bathroom to the workspace) and many ways to become enmeshed in work tasks.
In addition to the above tips that can still work well, here are some time management ideas for those in the new hybrid working environment.
Learn How to Work Asynchronously
Asynchronous work allows teams to work together while not being tethered to one another’s schedule. The entire team does not have to be engaged at the same time. Work is assigned and team members complete their tasks on differing schedules that all coincide with the overall project schedule. Each team member can maximize their own productivity and timing through processes that allow them the time and trust to complete tasks autonomously.
Limit Unnecessary Meetings and Events
One research study concluded that half of all meetings are unnecessary wastes of time. You may feel that is true in your company. It’s wise to evaluate the meetings you have and determine if there is a better way to communicate with team members, stockholders, etc. Do a meeting audit and choose which meetings are absolutely necessary. Then do a meeting cleanse and remove wasted time in the essential meetings to streamline the time spent.
Use Tools & Applications that Increase Efficiency & Productivity
Many digital tools and applications exist for the purpose of increasing productivity and using our time more efficiently. One of the best means of improving your work day is to evaluate and choose the applications that fit your industry and tasks. All of them typically provide a way to communicate with other team members for asynchronous work and team collaboration, as well as project management and even time tracking.
Some of the most popular include:
- Slack - Easy-to-use communication and collaboration tool for teams
- Asana - Project management tool for tracking tasks, time, and team members on various projects
- Monday - A workflow management tool that integrates with various other tools
- ToDoist - App for managing your time and to-do list for work and home
- Qatalog - A hub for organizing work teams and collaboration
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