Workplace

Time management in 2019 – How the hell do you do it?!

By January 31, 2019No Comments

Mastering an efficient time management system may seem like an elusive skill but it IS possible and the payoff is huge. Get it right and you’ll reduce stress, supercharge productivity, work smarter instead of harder and reach your career goals sooner.

We’ve put together a few time management tips to help you take charge of your workday in 2019.

Tackle the hardest (or worst) tasks first

“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” – Mark Twain

You’ve heard this before, but doing the hardest thing as soon as you hit the office is one of the most productive habits you can adopt in your workday.

If you’re not sure what your hardest task is…it’s probably the one you’ve been procrastinating on the longest! The morning is your opportunity to seize a quieter time of day to focus on this task before you get pulled in a million directions.

Put it into practice:

Schedule the first hour of each day as the time to focus on your hardest task. If an hour seems unlikely, set 25 minutes. Even a little progress will spark momentum that will flow into the rest of the day.

Organise everything you’ll need each afternoon for the following morning. Files, emails, research etc. You can dive right in and not waste time hunting around for these things during your scheduled ‘frog eating’ time!

Prioritise and plan your Daily Top 3

Getting ahead is pretty impossible with no real plan other than picking the easiest things off your to-do list.  If you commit to nothing, you’ll be distracted by everything. Prioritising tasks and planning your workday is the first step to making the most of the time you have.

Put it into practice:

Before you arrive to work (better still, before you leave the day before) prioritise and write down the top 3 tasks you want to achieve that day. Sticking to your top 3 keeps things realistic and gets you to focus. Better to have 3 completed tasks than 10 half finished ones at the end of the day.

Use the Pomodoro Technique

Never heard of the Pomodoro Technique? Developed by time management guru Francesco Cirillo, this method means working in uninterruptible blocks of 25 minutes giving undivided attention to a single task. You then take a  5-minute break.

This is repeated 4 times followed by a longer break of 15 to 20 minutes. This is the way of classic Pomodoro Technique however you can play with the duration and breaks to figure out what works for you. Done consistently, this method is a game changer.

Put it into practice:

Try incorporating 2 or 3 Pomodoro time blocks into your day. Use them to focus on projects that will take a lot of cognitive bandwidth; like writing reports or conducting an analysis.

Fake your deadlines

Once upon a time, you’d actually be shot for crossing a deadline.

Thankfully, missing a deadline these days won’t literally kill you, but they’re still a major source of workplace stress. If apprehension builds as the deadline looms, it’s probably because you haven’t left yourself enough time to get everything done. Faking your own deadlines can help.

Put it into practice:

If you’ve been given a project due by a certain date; set your own deadline earlier than the real one. It might sound basic, but drilling an earlier date into your mind has a powerful psychological effect. You’ll be surprised how you’ll work towards it like the ‘real’ due date.

Crush your own fake deadline and feel amazing that you delivered ahead of schedule!

Cut out ‘settle in’ time

You arrive at work at 9.00AM and get ‘settled in’.
Next time you check the clock…9.45am.
45 minutes have flown by. All you’ve done is drink a latte, liked a few articles on LinkedIn and scrolled through your inbox.  
45 minutes x 5 days is 3.75 hours a week. Let’s be honest, settling in is a waste of time – half a workday a week of wasted time.

Put it into practice:

It’s pretty simple. Cut the settle in time by just getting straight to work. The afternoon before, jot down what task you want to tackle first thing (remember, this should be your ‘frog’) and dive straight in.

Will it take 7 minutes or less? Do it now

It’s easy to put off doing quick, simple tasks when you’ve got multiple things vying for your attention. Emailing someone a slide deck, updating a couple of details in the CRM. These quick jobs can build up quickly and slow you down. Put them off and they’ll float around in your head and never seem to make it off your to-do list. Get them done so you can move on.

Put it into practice:

Complete these simple tasks straight away or ASAP. Don’t let them hang around long enough to sap mental energy. Use a Pomodoro time block to knock them out one after the other.

Aim to do a good job, not a perfect one

“Perfect is the enemy of the good” – Voltaire

Obsessing over Every. Single. Detail can lead to a lot of time wasted striving for a perfect result when doing a ‘good job’ is actually good enough.

Some projects will require high standards and 100% of your best effort. Keep in mind, though, there really is no such thing as perfect. We often put off starting something because we’re already caught up in the idea that we need to do it perfectly. This perfectionism procrastination is the enemy of effective time management.

Put it into practice:

We get it. This can be easier said than done for die-hard perfectionists but you must do a realistic evaluation. How important is the task at hand? Often the things we’re stressing about to make perfect aren’t worth the fuss in the long run. Learning to delegate and trust others with work is also helpful.

Learn to delegate (Managers, we’re looking at you)

It will take longer. It won’t turn out right. Are these thoughts holding you back from delegating?

When delegating is done right, you can remove those risks and develop your team as well as freeing your time up to focus on the higher-level, value adding stuff. Refusing to delegate leaves you swamped with tasks that could / should be done by your team. You’ll end up with no time to commit to more important priorities.

Put it into practice:

Be specific and clear in clarifying the tasks, the outcome, resources available and milestone dates/deadlines. Don’t over supervise, it’s counterproductive. Instead, agree on dates to check in and what kind of issues should be flagged if they arise.

What time management tricks do you use to maximise effective productivity in your workday? We’d love to add to this list!

Discover our program Time & Priorities. We help teams and individuals resolve workplace problems like poor time management, controlling behaviour and sloppy work patterns and habits.

As follow-up, participants apply what they learn and leaders coach using the coaching cards provided, offering feedback to improve both team and individual performances. In due course, participants discuss what has changed, improvements or continued ‘roadblocks’ with their leader.

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A 5-hour workshop where we look at how leaders can work with teams on motivating, coaching and setting standards in effective ways.

 

Participants see how important communication and collaboration is when getting results. They learn how to work with each other to build positive store culture and design effective systems and processes.

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A 5-hour workshop where we work through the fundamentals of an outstanding customer experience from end-to-end.

 

Participants learn more about their ‘ideal customers’ and the typical journeys they go through, and how to design experiences that work for these customers.

Workshop 1

(5 hours, face to face)

A 5-hour workshop where we align the values, behaviours and actions required for an outstanding customer experience.

 

Participants see how to embed the values and behaviours of their business in practical ways – to improve customer interactions and promote long-term loyalty.

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(5 hours, face to face)

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