As such, if there’s one training course that should be at the top of your list this year, then make it time management!
In the meantime, the Training South West team have prepared six fundamental time management tips to get you on the right track:
Let’s image two colleagues, both of whom perform the same role in the same organisation. Colleague A repeatedly snoozes his alarm, falls out of bed late and then races to work having only had a coffee. Colleague B, however, wakes up early, and follows a routine that puts her in a great state of mind for the day ahead. Who do you think is going to perform most effectively when they arrive at work? Colleague A or Colleague B?
People rarely see the value presented by using the morning time effectively. This pre-work phases offers a fantastic time to get you into the right mindset for the day ahead, which in turn, will make you productive and keep you on focused.
Establish a morning routine that isn’t excessive (otherwise you’re unlikely to do it) but this is constant, positive and which puts you in the right mindset for the day ahead. Exercise should be an essential part of this routine, followed by a healthy breakfast, the planning of essential goals for delivery at work that day and perhaps mindfulness exercises, such as meditation or visualisation.
Many people spend time looking at internet news, drinking coffee, chatting to colleagues and perhaps checking messages when they first arrive at work. Avoid this and, instead, apply yourself from the outset.
Set your day into ‘uninterrupted’ time zones (UTZ) of at least 30-minute chunks. If you take a break on either side of this, then that’s your prerogative, but aim to get maximum output from your UTZs. When you’re entering a UTZ, be clear about:
As few as 6 UTZs a day can pay boundless dividends when it comes to productivity and achieving your daily objectives.
Ensure the goals you set in your UTZ are measurable. They should be goals that deliver a tangible and specific result.
Email surfing, or engaging in online chat with colleagues, formatting a report that doesn’t really need to be formatted, making coffee for colleagues, etc. are not measurable tasks. Instead, they are just ‘floater’ tasks that focus you on unimportant activities throughout the day. When embarking on your goal, you should be clear about why you are doing what you’re doing, what your deliverable is, and how you’re going to do it. Ask yourself ‘what is the most important thing I can do, that will get me the best outcome for the time I am investing?
Your time is valuable. If you see time as having a financial value, then you’ll be more guarded about giving it away unnecessarily. Only use your time to deliver outcomes for others if this is essential and necessary. Be frugal with your time and spend it on tasks that will advance you. Be confident about saying ‘no’ to others if you are being asked to do things that move them closer to their goals but not you.
Clearly, there will be some tasks delegated by others that are incumbent on you and part of your job role. Where this is the case, then set a particular time in the day – ideally during a UTZ, to complete these tasks in one single chunk. They shouldn’t be allowed to distract you from your core tasks throughout the day.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, completing an adhoc day account is a great way to assess your time management success. Record how you spend your time; look at how much of your day was productive and how much was wasted or spent on others. Be honest with yourself when you complete it. Those at the outset of their time management journey are often surprised at just how unproductive their days are…..
Start becoming aware of the traps most likely to steal your time. This could be doing the tea/coffee rounds, chatting about non-work-related topics throughout the day, tiredness (perhaps due to a poor start to the day and unsubstantial breakfast), drifting through tasks without goals, procrastination or avoidance.
Once you’re aware of the traps you should think through the ways in which you will manage them and limit their negative influence on your day.
We’ve given you some great tips to get you started. If you implement and adhere to these tips, then you’re bound to see a significant increase in your productivity and your performance within your working role.
If you work in a team that would benefit collectively from time management training, then contact the Training South West team to discuss your needs further. We deliver customised training courses to businesses across the South West. Whether you are in Yeovil, Somerset, Bournemouth, Dorset, Truro, Cornwall or Exeter, Devon, we have training courses and trainers to meet your needs. With all our business training courses delivered on-site, we take the hassle out of training.