Even organised people can suffer from bad time keeping skills, but knowing how to make the most of your time can benefit both your working and personal lives. Good management skills can make you less stressed, help prevent you from procrastinating in the workplace, while giving yourself more time in the day.
So if you find yourself always running late, working right up to deadlines (or even past them) or stressing that there aren’t enough hours in the day to get all your work done, take a look at our top 10 ways to improve your time keeping skills:
Go back to the beginning
Start from scratch and keep a record of your weekly activities and how long each is taking to complete. This will help you easily see where you’re wasting time being unproductive and which tasks you should be giving more time to.
Plan your day
Nobody likes to spend their evening worrying about what tasks they’ve got to face the following day. But planning your next day before leaving work for the night should help you unwind better once you’re home, knowing that when you get back into the office in the morning your day is already scheduled out for you. Being aware of any meetings or visits before leaving for the day means these won’t come as a shock to you the next day.
Schedule time for yourself
If you’ve got something that really needs doing block time out in your diary and stick to it. Diary appointments don’t just have to be for meetings with other people. And just because the phone rings or an email pops up doesn’t mean you have to answer it there and then. Emails will still be there in half an hour, and if a call is urgent they’ll leave a message or try again.
Making lists of tasks to do works, but only if you stick to them and don’t make them too long. It would be unrealistic to write a list of 30 things to do in one day. Instead, try keeping two lists, one for all the tasks you’ve currently got on your plate, then pick off two or three of the most importance for a separate daily tasks lists. Repeat at the end of each day. If by any chance you manage to get through the daily tasks list, you can refer back to the longer list for something else to begin working on.
Plan to be interrupted
When you plan your day make sure to factor in time to be interrupted. There’s no point planning tasks for all the working hours in your day as there will always be something else that turns up, someone who wants to meet with you, or an unexpected phone call that takes up a large chunk of your time.
Procrastinating on social media sites not only wastes time but also fails to help to put you into the right frame of mind for getting back to into the swing of work again. If you find your concentration slipping and need a break from the desk make a cup of tea or go for a quick walk around the office. Getting away from your desk will help clear your mind to start working again – staying at your computer won’t.
Move deadlines forward
Set yourself a deadline for a task several hours (or days) prior to the actual deadline. This should ensure you’ve completed the task in plenty of time – especially if other people are waiting for the content you’ve produced. It also means if you do get interrupted or end up spending too much time on something else you’ve given yourself some leeway and will help you improve further upon your time keeping skills
Tidy your desk
Spending half your day looking for a crucial document on either your desk or your computer isn’t productive use of your time. Regularly tidy your work area and electronics so you know where everything is should you need it.
In this digital world there’s no shortage of mobile apps to help you plan your time more effectively, especially if you’re not a particularly organised person to begin with. Calendars, planners & time trackers can all help you improve your time-keeping skills, as long as you don’t leave them sat unused on your home screen.
Try not to multi-task
It might seem like you’re getting more done by switching between different tasks, but research suggests that focusing on one task at a time is a much more productive use of your time. So if at all possible try to see one task through at a time until it’s completed, or at least comes to a natural halt.
If you follow these helpful tips you'll soon seen your time keeping skills quickly improve.