follow through

Either you run the day, or the day runs you. -Jim Rohn

What is your most valuable resource? Many people would argue that time is their most valuable resource. That’s because everyone has a limited amount of time. There’s no way to increase the time you have, but you can find ways to use your time better. Time management is making sure your actions help you finish the things you have to do. As you get better at managing your time, it will feel like you have more time. That “extra” time can be spent getting more work done, spending time with your family or friends or a doing a hobby you enjoy.

Have you ever noticed that some people seem to be able to accomplish so much? It’s not that they have more time than anyone else, they just find better ways to get things done. Time management skills will not only help you become a better manager of your time, they will help you become more successful in the workplace. Here are five tips to improve your time management at work:

  1. Schedule your time
  2. Make and meet deadlines
  3. Change your habits
  4. Increase your productivity
  5. Ignore time wasters

Let’s take a closer look at what it means to have time management in the workplace.

Schedule your time

Since time is not a physical object that you can see or touch, it can be hard to understand time and what it actually means. How do you know how much time you have if you can’t actually see time? Well, one way to see or visualize the amount of time you have is to create a schedule.

Scheduling your time requires you to look at the to-do list you created in Prioritizing and lay it out in a way that shows you exactly when you will do each task. Start by estimating, or guessing the amount of time you will need to complete each task. Next, assign each task to a time slot on your schedule or calendar. When you are finished, you should see that there is more time in the day than you thought to get all of your work done.

Make and meet deadlines

It is one thing to schedule your tasks, but it is another thing to actually stick to the schedule. Once you have your tasks organized into a schedule, it’s important to stay focused so that you don’t get off track. If there aren’t official deadlines for all of your tasks, create deadlines or due dates and times. Make sure the deadlines are reasonable and make them fit into your schedule.

Change your habits

Habits are things that you do without even thinking about it. When you get into a habit or routine, it can be difficult to change. Some habits are good and help you to do your job, while others get in the way of doing your job. Pay close attention to how you spend your time during the day, from the moment you wake up to the time you go to bed at night.

It might be helpful to write down each activity so you can see what you did that day. When you look back at your list of activities, figure out which habits are keeping you from getting more done during the day. Try to replace those habits with activities that are more productive. For example, if you find you spend an hour each afternoon on your favorite social network, try replacing that activity with catching up on email.

Increase your productivity

Productivity is the amount of work you can get done during a set amount of time. Someone who is a productive worker is able to get a lot of work done in a small amount of time. Productive workers don’t necessarily work harder than the next person, instead they work smarter. That means they find the best way to do a task and all of the activities they do serve their goals. In other words, they don’t waste time on activities that don’t help them get their work done. Productive workers schedule their time in order to avoid busywork. Busy work is work that isn’t necessary but makes us feel like we are doing a lot.

woman with clock

Ignore time wasters

You would be surprised how much time you spend every day on time wasters. Time wasters are activities or things that rob you of the time you need to get your work done. Figure out what is robbing you of your precious time and work hard to get rid of these time wasters. Here are five common time wasters to avoid:

  1. Failing to plan or schedule your time
  2. Trying to do too much
  3. Getting distracted by friends or coworkers
  4. Personal disorganization or mess
  5. The Internet