Do you want to get more done every day? Given that you have a fixed number of hours to accomplish everything, the only way to achieve more is to better manage your time. Here is a simple five-step mantra to help you get started in the right direction!
1. Set Objectives
It is important that you set objectives and goals for your day, week, month, and year. This will help you stay focused and make sure that you give yourself completely to the task at hand. Any objectives beyond the daily ones are likely to change over time, but it is important to write them down and monitor them as you go.
You should also learn to set milestones for your bigger tasks. Do you need to finish an assignment or a project? Break it into smaller steps and schedule a deadline for each. This will help you concentrate on where you are, rather than worrying about how much there is to do, and allows you to analyze whether you are making progress.
Now that you know what your objectives are, you must learn how to prioritize your activities. Until you understand the difference between "important" and "urgent", you will constantly switch from one task to another, instead of taking each in turn and fully completing the work.
Always make a to-do list for your day, outlining the most important tasks for that day. Try to limit yourself to two or three major items per day. After you have completed these tasks, you can devote yourself to other responsibilities, working steadily to get through your activities in order.
3. Remove Distractions
If you examine your daily routine, you will find activities that waste your time. Do you really need to visit the Facebook and other such websites? Do you need to watch the latest videos on YouTube? These things do not have any productive purpose at all, so save them for your breaks.
Focus. Close all unnecessary windows on your computer, mute your instant messengers and work with your apps in full-screen mode to further eliminate distraction. By moving your visits to extraneous sites into your scheduled breaks, you can save an amazing amount of time and accomplish more than you imagined possible in a single day.
4. Be Productive, Not Busy
You need to understand the difference between being busy and being productive. Every task can be completed in many different ways, so make sure you choose the most efficient one, rather than the one that only makes you look like you're doing lot of work!
Efficiency is something that improves over time and is a learning process. Keep your eyes open for ways to work smarter, rather than harder. Don't forget to watch for the latest tools and updates to your existing software.
5. Say No at Times
One of the most common causes of overwork is the inability to refuse a polite request. You must learn to say "No" when colleagues and clients ask you to take on another task and you're already too busy. Be polite, but firm...even with your boss.
The more experienced you become at estimating your workload and how much you can handle, the more your colleagues and clients will trust your judgment. They'll learn that you're not refusing their request because you're stubborn, but because you know you won't be able to give their work the attention it deserves.
Time management is an essential skill that you must master in order to achieve success. It will also help you reduce stress at work, build your self-confidence, and take control of your workflow. Follow this simple five-step mantra above until it becomes second nature to you, and you'll find you can achieve more in less time!