Time management is an art and skill that seemingly everyone finds challenging for various reasons. There are work demands and distractions. When I mention distractions, I am referring to those emergent but necessary tasks that come up throughout the day.
Managing your workload as well as managing distractions is the two-sided scale with which everyone can relate. Techniques to deal with both are dependent upon your skillset, personality and individual style. If you are an excellent and accomplished multitasker, then you have an enviable skillset indeed.
If, however, you don’t possess such skillsets, here are four things you can do to master the elusive art of time management:
1. Spend the first 30 minutes of each day to organize your work
As government workers, our daily schedules can get busy very quickly. Your work can go more smoothly if you take the first thirty minutes to list your tasks for the day. Begin by writing down the “must complete” items first and then other duties that can be completed the next day if necessary.
Doing this will help you order your day and provide clarity and a sense of accomplishment by day’s end.
2. Make full use of your Outlook or other calendars and refer to them regularly
Listing daily tasks on your Outlook calendar is like writing them down. But since you, like most of us, are on our computers for much of the day, your calendar will have a reminder of what you need to get done.
Again, I know this may seem obvious but having meetings and tasks written down can not only organize the day or week but also help to remove the clutter in your mind and allow you to focus on what is at hand.
3. Arrange tasks into a hierarchy of high complexity to lower complexity
Completing tasks with greater complexity early in the day will provide you with a sense of accomplishment. People also have more energy and greater alertness at the start of the day. You can use what energy and focus remain to complete low-complexity tasks.
4. Choose your work environment
Arrange tasks into a list of those that can be accomplished in your regular work environment and those that need quiet, alone time to accomplish your tasks. There are obviously less distractions at a home office so plan assignments or projects that require a quiet environment for when you are working at home.
This will require some discipline and establishing a schedule but the benefits are worth it.
Applying these four tips will help you become more efficient as you continue to work on the art of time management.