How to improve your time management

Jamie Ellis
September 30, 2022
How to improve your time management

Time. It’s our most precious commodity. But you can’t buy it, sell it, borrow it or steal it. The best we can do is make sure we don’t waste it. This is especially true at work, when managing your day and working effectively is vital for the business, but more importantly our wellbeing.

Well, we certainly haven’t been squandering our time. We’ve put together a few pointers on how you can manage your day and squeeze the most out of every second.

Take little breaks.

Ever heard of the phrase ‘Work smarter, not harder’? Well, it’s true. Slogging away for eight hours straight doesn’t mean you have eight hours of incredible work to show for it.

Work for too long and it doesn’t take long for concentration to slip and for mistake to set in. Before you know it, you have to redo bits because they just weren’t good enough. That is not goodtime management. Taking regular breaks away from the work environment will allow you to decompress and come back to your tasks refreshed, and with a new perspective. These breaks are even more effective if exercise is involved.

Practice the 4 Ds.

Let’s look at perhaps the biggest culprit of wasted time in the office: email. Yup, that inbox can be like a black hole. Once you’re in, time has no meaning. So it’s important that you follow the 4 Ds to make sure you’re not lost in there forever.

For example, immediately DELETE those emails that aren’t 100% relevant to you or your work. DO: action those urgent emails and get them out the way quickly. If the email can be dealt with someone more qualified or relevant than you, don’t be afraid to DELEGATE. Sometimes there are important emails. DEFER some time so that you can deal with them properly.

Set time limits

Spend some time listing your tasks, and then setting deadlines for each one. Having an end point for each piece of work will focus you more, and help you create a pace that you’ll need to stick in order to get it done. You’ll be able to recognise the ‘easy win’ tasks, and those that will require a bit more effort.

Learn to say ‘no’

This can be hard for some people. But unless you want to be left under an avalanche of work, learn how to say ‘nope’. Only you know what you have time for. And if you say ‘yes’ all the time, there’s a good chance people will take advantage of your good nature and generosity. Alternatively, rather than saying no, think about delegating it to someone in your team, if you have one.

Don’t be distracted
The ping of an email. The chime of a text message. The beep of a social medium notification. The offer of some juicy gossip. There are dozens of distractions that could impact your time management, meaning a simple 30-minute task could take two hours to complete. So if you’re serious about saving some seconds, make sure you eliminate them. Shut down your email, silence your social media and turn off the notifications.

So there you go. Follow these hints and we’re sure you’ll be able make the most of every minute.