Five Skills to Better Manage Your Day

Taking action to improve your efficiency and productivity should be at the top of your daily To-Do list. Dealing with mountains of tasks, other people and our natural tendencies towards procrastination, slow down your progress considerably each day.

Side Note: This article was written in 2008 for 4hb.com so some of the references may be out-of-date.

Clear Your Clutter

Streamline your workspace, your home, or any environment where you spend a lot of time in, will make a huge difference instantly.

By setting up a system that regularly monitors your growing piles of paperwork and other challenges, you achieve a practical and effective way to project a positive, professional image. The tidiness of your desk, office, room or home creates a positive or negative first impression very quickly. To convince others of your productivity, you need to ensure that you clear the clutter away and organize your surroundings.

It is difficult to work effectively in chaos. The need to pause, during a task, in order to locate some necessary item not only frustrates you but wastes a considerable amount of time. Make it a daily habit to keep work surfaces clear and tidy. By maintaining order, you will be able to manage your time more effectively.

Process and Organize

If you work in an office environment then chances are good that you are dealing with huge amounts of paperwork on a daily basis. By setting up a simple system to process and organize your paperwork, you will increase your efficiency.

Deal with items as soon as you come into contact with them.

If the paperwork item is urgent then either delegate action or manage the process yourself immediately.

If the paperwork is not urgent then place it into a pending basket, Ensure you regularly review the pending items and take action so that a pile does not grow out of control.

The use of highlighting areas on documents also speed up productivity as you will be able to spot relevant information more easily.

Get into the habit of working in this manner and you will improve your productivity, and free up more of your valuable time.

Stay Focused

If interruptions are a regular occurrence then now is the time to take action to remedy this distraction.

While the occasional interruption may be welcome, too many or the wrong kind of interruptions are annoying and counter-productive. If you have call display on your phone, for example, you may be better off letting selected calls go to your answering machine where you can hopefully get the required information at a later time – another kind of pending basket.

Time management skills like this allow you to work more productively and focus on selected tasks in the priority you choose.

Use Technology

Being tech-savvy in the workplace will help you communicate effectively and quickly, access information with ease, and stay better informed. The use of e-mail, phone conferencing, company intranets and the Internet can free up substantial time and increase productivity.

However, be conscious of the amount of time you actually spend using technology. It is easy to fall for the shiny glitter of technology and overuse it to the point where you are actually wasting more time than saving. Not everything needs a technical solution.

Delegation

Involve other people to help you manage your time more effectively.

Delegating tasks can achieve impressive results and free up your time so you can work on higher priority items. When it makes sense, utilize other people’s skills and knowledge to your advantage.

Conclusion

Being armed with positive ways to tackle any obstacle that comes your way will enable you to manage your day with ease.

This is an article I originally wrote for 4hb.com in 2008.


By Brad Trupp © 2008