It can be easy to get caught up in your work and accidentally let important tasks fall by the wayside. However, with strong attention to time management, and specific strategies to prioritization, there are solutions to increase your productivity, while also reducing your chances of being overwhelmed with work.
We’ve outlined a handful of tips to strengthen your time management skills in the workplace, including keeping an ongoing to-do list or planner, determining priorities, and assessing the hours within the day.
Determine your most productive hours
Most people have specific hours of the day when they find they are the most productive. For many, these hours fall between late morning and early afternoon. Pay attention to when you are getting the most work done and are less affected by distractions. Once you determine those hours, fill them with your most important tasks or projects.
Prioritize tasks accordingly
Generally, work tasks fall into a hierarchy of sorts. If certains tasks are more urgent than others, tackle them first and put everything else on the back burner. If you manage a team, be sure to communicate which tasks should be taking priority over others. Your team should all be on the same page regarding the urgency of what needs to get done.
LinkedIn suggests choosing 3 tasks to center your day around, while also considering what you want to accomplish throughout the week. “Pick no more than three tasks from your to-do list that you will focus on that day. Choose the activities that will have the greatest impact on your most important goals,” they say.
To-do lists and planners
Digital planners are a great way to stay organized. For example, Microsoft Planner, which is a feature within Microsoft 365, is an amazing tool that allows you to set deadlines, create lists, and even communicate with other employees through notes and comments.
Many professionals also find handwriting their to-do lists to be very helpful. Physically writing them down and being able to cross them off when you’re done helps to keep everything on your mind and stay on track.
Try not to multitask
While it may seem tempting, multitasking can lead to mistakes or forgetfulness. In the end, it will likely take you the same amount of time to complete two tasks separately, so it’s best to handle them apart. This applies to distractions as well. If your phone is constantly pinging notifications, consider setting it to “Do Not Disturb.” It might also be helpful to set timers for yourself. For instance, put your phone or any other distractions away for one hour until you’ve finished your work. Setting limits with yourself is a sure way to cross those important tasks off your list.