Mastering your time at work means taking control of your personal and professional life, and devising a solid routine for both.
Whether you are working from home or you’ve come back to the office, there always seems to be a struggle between being productive and letting those little distractions set you off track during your workday. Life happens, and most of us are not immune to the issues that come up throughout the day, but that doesn’t mean that our productivity should suffer or that we should fall short of our goals. While there are some unforeseen circumstances that you will have to tend to every once in a while, for the most part you have the ability to stay in full control of your workday and achieve better results.
The only thing you need to do is master time management at work, which is not an easy task. Maximizing your time at work takes planning and preparation, and while it will take several days for you to come up with an ideal routine and strategy, you will quickly become more productive than ever before. Let’s talk about this in depth and consider the five key tips for effective time management at work.
Put your workday on paper
First things first, if you are to optimize your workday and become more productive, you need to know exactly what you spend your time on when you’re working. Your goal right now is information gathering, and that means putting your workday on paper to figure out what your tasks are, how much time you spend on each task, whether or not you’re procrastinating and how much, and more.
This first step will take some time, because in order to gain a deeper understanding of how you spend your time at work, you need to track your activity for one whole week. The key here is to track and log your daily activity diligently, and it’s important to be honest with yourself. This will allow you to figure out how much time it typically takes to complete a task, where you’re losing time, how much downtime you have during the workday, and more.
Learn to prioritize tasks
Prioritizing tasks and challenges throughout the week is one of the hallmarks of productivity and success at work. If you let yourself get sidetracked as you’re doing something important, or if you choose to spend time on menial tasks instead of handling more pressing matters, your entire day is going to become less productive as a result. Pretty soon, you will start rushing through your tasks at the end of your shift, or you will have to leave some of them for the following day.
This makes stress accumulate and it might make it impossible to catch up. The problem here is not that you don’t have enough time, but that you’re not prioritizing. Some tasks are simply more relevant, time-consuming, or are on a shorter deadline than others – and those are the tasks that you need to tend to first.
Tackle the big issues first-thing in the morning after you’ve responded to emails and messages, and leave the menial tasks for later.
Supplement and eat well for mental energy
When you’re working from home, it can be difficult to find the concentration and the mental energy you need to stay productive throughout the day. One of the key reasons why you’re low on energy is because you are not fueling your body with the right nutrients, which is why it’s so important to eat right and supplement properly.
During the day, you can supplement with low-calorie nootropic drinks that have various vitamins, minerals and natural stimulants to keep your mind and body energized. Coupled with healthy eating and home-cooked meals, you will have no problem maintaining focus. However, it’s important to allocate time for eating and stick to the scheduled breaks, so that your lunch break doesn’t become a lunch hour.
Create a routine that works for you
Speaking of scheduled breaks and prioritizing tasks, everything you do during your workday should be a part of a well-structured routine. In order for you to be as productive as possible, you need to have a healthy routine outside of work as well, which will ensure that none of your personal chores spill over into your work time.
This will require some trial and error, as devising the ideal routine for your needs and goals means figuring out what works best over time. Nevertheless, this is a crucial step towards freeing up more time at work and getting more done.
Stop multitasking but have a time limit for each task
One of the biggest killers of productivity is multitasking, and while you might think that you’re getting more done, you’re actually wasting time by trying to handle numerous tasks at once. If you want to be as productive as possible, you will stop multitasking and start allocating time for each task, making sure to tick one by one off your list.
It can be difficult to focus on the task at hand when you get an important email, for example, but over time you will be able to train yourself to retain your focus and leave everything else for when a specific task is done. You will be able to complete all scheduled and unplanned tasks with ease if you make sure to give every task a reasonable deadline.
Over to you
Mastering your time at work means taking control of your personal and professional life, and devising a solid routine for both. It’s also important to nurture a healthy lifestyle, prioritize tasks, and commit to sticking to your routine over the long term.