7 simple tips to save you time at work
Time is something we all need more of. With the morning rush, the blur of the working day and an evening of commuting, making meals, paying bills, returning phone calls and more, we all sit down with a sigh by 9pm. But, this issue of a lack of time which we all consider is unavoidable could be avoided if we thought properly about our time management. If you see where you’re losing time and adapt your working life, you can be more productive, less stressed and more successful in your job role.
We’ve mapped out some handy tips to help you save time in your working day. Why not give them a read and add these simple ideas to your working day?
Start your day well – With a plan. Plan the week ahead on Friday and work on a daily plan, too. This way, you sit down at your desk at 9am with a clear idea of what you’re doing with your day and what the priorities are. It’s also very satisfying to tick off each task as it gets done!
The 10-minute diary – If you keep losing time and you’re not sure where, try the 10-minute diary for a week. Print a plain table (two columns across - one for the time, one for an explanation of what you’re working on) and every 10 minutes, quickly scribble down what you are working on at that time. This will help you stay on track, as well as help you see where the problem is – are you spending half an hour on the phone; or 20 minutes having a chat with a colleague; constantly sitting in over-running meetings; or getting side tracked doing several tasks at once? Keeping the diary will definitely help you realise where you are wasting time.
Blitz your email inbox – Take some time to unsubscribe to e-newsletters and take yourself out of team email groups which you don’t need to be part of. And, to help you split out the remainder of your emails, set up filters so emails for different team members go into certain folders. This way, you won’t have to waste time sifting through irrelevant emails and, if you need to see messages from particular team members, you can go straight to their folder of your inbox.
Sharing is caring – Learn to delegate to your team and colleagues. When you receive a project, decide when you will do it if you have the time and it’s your domain, or delegate it to an able team member who is better suited to it or has the capacity, or discard it. Learning to delegate will help you as a manager and save you time that you don’t have working on something you didn’t need to be doing.
Sync your calendars – Download an app (I recommend Calendar+ on Android) which synchronises all of your calendars. It can pull together your social media, work email and personal appointments into one easy-to-navigate page… so you don’t need to panic about remembering it all and waste time checking through your inbox to piece together your day’s activities.
Learn how to do meetings well – To avoid pointless and time-wasting meetings, before attending, define your role at the meetings. See if you can just participate for the elements which are relevant to you and work out what you need to prepare. If it is you who is arranging the meeting, tell your invitees what to prepare, what the meeting will focus on and how long it will last – and stick to it. Why not create calendar entries for a weekly catch-up with your team members individually, so they can store any questions or issues until then, instead of asking for more regular and interruptive, spontaneous meetings.
End your day well – Every day, I take the last 10/15 minutes to reflect on what I did, if there is anything I need to add to tomorrow’s to-do list and what priority my tasks need to take the following day. I also wash up my mug and tidy my desk so, the following day can start as clean, uncluttered and productive as the previous day did.