No matter what your line of business is, managing schedules and deadlines is surely a part of your daily or weekly routine so you need to make sure that you have some good time management habits built into your routine.
We`ve all heard the phrase that “Time is money”, but what does that actually mean?
Yes, we earn more as we devote more time to our jobs, but, time is a valuable, if not the most valuable, resource there is.
Time is also the cause of many headaches and problems when it comes to business interactions.
People usually rely on “Respect the schedule” as the only philosophy regarding this precious resource, while there are millions upon millions of pages written about money earning.
Well, let us go deeper than that one line, and see how you can actually work on your time-management skills to negate bad time-management, and how to invest your precious seconds, days and months in your everyday life in the best possible way.
12 Time Management Habits You Should Adopt to Really Boost Your Productivity
So let’s get started!
1/ STOP Multitasking – It’s one of the bad time management habits you might have
Ah yes, a lot of business people have talked about multitasking in the last century.
Multitasking was considered a must-have superpower, and people were obsessed with the thought of it.
However, as time passed, more and more team leaders and managers realized that the sole process of splitting attention made them actually slower.
People thought that if you zone in on a single thing makes you miss out on other issues, and boy was they wrong.
It can take you 50% or more time to finish each of the problems you try to multitask, as opposed to dealing with them separately,
The point is, do not try to be a machine. We, as humans, work far better diving deep into a subject instead of trying to deal with 2 or more things at a time.
Multi-tasking is one of the time management habits that you need to break.
Which brings us to our next point:
2/ Take smaller bites, or else you will choke
Far too many times we think to ourselves “I’ll deal with this small thing tomorrow”.
Well, this is one of the most toxic things you can do to your schedule, no matter the scale of the work you are doing.
There is nothing small enough that should be left for later.
Try thinking of it like this: “if it is really small, you should do it right away”
Surprises are waiting around every corner, and you do not to be unprepared when the situation goes south.
Time-related problems tend to follow the snowball rule, and if you do not pay attention, you will find yourself in deep snow in no time.
If done properly, everything can be divided into smaller chunks, so give it a try.
3/ Write things down, do not rely on your memory
Even though time is so important, it’s far from being the only thing we need to think about.
Even though we often underestimate our memory (according to the BBC), when it comes to business related data, relying on your memory will set you on a rough course.
Be smart, write your newly-acquired info down or share the information to a curation site for you to access at a later date somewhere like Wakelet.
We all have mini computers inside our pockets in the form of tablets and mobile phones.
Just use your notes on your phone, that would also be a good option.
And almost every office has personal computers, so why bother remembering only to then forget vital information?
Nowadays, more and more companies are deciding to turn to automation when it comes to resource scheduling to form better time management habits in the workplace.
With the technology we have, there is a wide variety of resource management solutions that can help you manage day-to-day operations.
Invoices, briefings and similar data can be handled by these apps and their templates.
And, as an added bonus, you will have better insight into your past actions, and how you executed them.
4/ Learn from your past self
A great benefit comes from documenting your tasks and actions: It allows you to learn about you and as a result, you can upgrade your routine, and invest in improving yourself.
Once a month, take a few hours and review the schedule from the month behind you.
See how many tasks you managed to do within the timeframe, and how many you did not.
Your past self is guaranteed to be a great teacher, and the feeling of patching those soft spots is almost addictive.
Not only will you be able to learn, but you will have a chance to make templates for the future and automate events that once posed a great difficulty.
This process is a great method of learning how to fix bad time-management habits.
5/ Actively work on eliminating distractions from your workspace!
A study from the University of California found that it can take as long as 23 minutes and 15 seconds for you to focus again after you have been interrupted.
This is almost a half-hour waste of time that no one benefits from.
Social media, colleagues and boring tasks are the most common reason why we stray away and get distracted.
Socializing at the workplace is important, but if it happens on your work hours, there is a simple trick you can try to hack yourself.
If your coworkers are engaging in a conversation with you, try talking about the problem you are currently working on.
That will keep your brain stimulated and will cause you to go back and tackle the issue again.
However, the most common source of distractions is our mobile phones and social media sites.
Which is tightly related to our next point.
6/ Take a planned break
This is usually overlooked but one of the major time management habits that you need to form.
Plan your breaks from work, and use them to socialize and check your phone, your brain will train itself to regain focus right after you go back to work.
Take a short break every once in a while, and try not to talk or think about work during those few minutes.
This is a great way to escape tunnel vision and regain fresh perspective on issues you need to resolve.
7/ Manage your deadlines, REALLY manage them
Ok, it’s time to get serious for a moment.
Deadlines are an important part of the work you are assigned.
When deciding upon a deadline for a project, take every little fact into consideration. Get feedback from managers and team members, and do not take that task easily.
When projects break their deadlines, the biggest consequences fall on you and team morale.
This part of planning is particularly hard because you will have to play a little game of prediction.
No one knows what kinds of problems wait ahead, and you will have to try and account for that when setting that deadline.
This is the ideal place for your team to pick a time tracking tool and create a plausible time frame.
8/ Leave some extra seconds for speed bumps
The biggest enemy of your deadline is unpredictable contingencies.
They WILL happen.
No matter how good your plans for the future of the project are, some part of the plan will definitely need extra time, and you will have to find it.
That is why it is never a good idea to make and set super-tight timeframes.
The amount of time you are going to reserve for dealing with those extra activities depends on your past experience alone.
This is the proving ground where good managers are separated from great ones.
These fine lines are everywhere and will be the breaking point of your managing career.
Do not be afraid to call the shots, but do not do it without calculating first.
To avoid as many of the road-bumps, that you will surely stumble upon, try implementing a weekly meeting just to check, tweak and reroute the timeline if necessary.
That way you do not have to worry about surprises coming from your side, or the side of your team.
9/ Invest in team communication
Working in teams has a lot of upsides, but maintaining a steady line of communication is often troublesome in business.
Actively work on establishing communication channels that people can rely on.
Flinging emails left and right is not enough, and can even be counter-productive and waste a lot of time.
One huge mistake fresh teams make is using social media as a communication channel.
There is a wide variety of project tools that can serve as a conference room as well.
Utilize them to assign goals, time and other resources to your team members, and make them talk about it live, on your customized platform.
Although software like this takes some time to get used to, in the long run, it will pay off tenfold.
Make everyone feel free to communicate their problems without backlash.
You will be amazed by all the extra time good team communication will grant you.
10/ Never be afraid to ask for help
When you are leading a team and things get difficult, people often turn silent and try to endure through the issue.
As you might already know, this is literally the worst thing you can do and a big example of the many bad time management habits you may be using.
Silence is the killer of productivity, so be vocal about stuff that you need help with.
The time you might lose by trying to push through problems is far greater than a simple “Guys, I need help”.
Not to mention the added benefit of showing good leadership by admitting that no one is omnipotent and that we are all human after all.
Of course, you can find help in other places.
Read books, go to seminars, ask advice from senior developers and managers.
No one will come to you offering knowledge until you ask.
And sometimes, even if you do not get the help you wanted, a fresh perspective can spark the solution to the issue at hand.12 Time Management Habits You Should Adopt - 10/ Never be afraid to ask for helpClick To Tweet
11/ Learn when to say NO
This topic is kind of controversial in the business world.
Although it seems logical, people still try to push the “do it all” model as viable.
No successful manager will ever follow this rule.
Simply because you can do something right now, doesn’t mean that you absolutely have to.
Establish a prioritization system, really brainstorm it, and stick to it firmly.
Maybe the biggest productivity killer out there is making sudden changes.
If you learn to weigh the tasks presented, saying “no” sometimes will surely open more doors than doing it all.
12/ Do not wait for things to happen, MAKE them happen!
The last of our 12 time management habits to adopt is all about being proactive, instead of reactive.
Initiative is the trait that is cherished the most in business.
All the things and points we talked about above are for nothing if you become passive.
People tend to slip into a comfort zone after all the planning is finished.
Do not be one of those people, take action!
Status quo is an addictive drug, and it is up to you to protect your team from it.
If a project starts turning stale, call a meeting and shake things up.
And, if everything becomes a routine, something is not right, and you are missing something essential.
The job of a manager or a developer is supposed to be dynamic, and being ready for troubles up-front is paramount.
Be a leader and insist on keeping that team dynamic alive continuously.
12 Time Management Habits You Should Adopt to Really Boost Your Productivity – Takeaways
We talked about things of various importance, but the thing with time management is that you must be always on your toes, and anticipate changes in order to manage them.
Sometimes detailed plans can go to waste by a single changed date, and you must not be discouraged.
Learn to quickly evolve and adapt instead.
And there we go, a list of methods and philosophies that will surely help you manage the most precious resource of all: your time.
That’s all for now.
Those are my 12 time management habits that you should adopt.
Do you have any of your own that you would like to mention?
Let us know in the comments section below.
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