Ten Tips to Improve How You Manage Your Time

Posted: 11th May 2015

Alison Darrington, of Suffolk based Darrington Training, offers us ten tips to enhance our time management, and thus improve our efficiency and ffectiveness.

Her tips encompass the need to plan our work, to delegate tasks, and to take regular breaks. In short, Alison encourages us to plan our daily workplace routines, and to impose disciplines on ourselves.

Main Story  Alison Darrington, of Suffolk based Darrington Training, offers us her ten tips to improve the management of our valuable time:

1. Plan your work

Structure your work load by grouping tasks under common headings and allocate timeframes for each heading.  Set yourself goals for each heading so you’re clear about what you need to achieve, how you’ll achieve it and by when.  If completion isn’t within the next day or week, set yourself review times so you know where you’re at and what else needs to be followed up.

2. Prioritise tasks by urgency and importance

Use the ABC system or one you are comfortable with.  (Urgent = deadline looming, Important = impacts on business, process, bottom line etc)

3. Write down things you think of and need to remember and always file things immediately

–aim to handle each piece of paper once only!

4. If you have ten minutes till the end of the day either select a small task which you know you can complete in this time, like planning for tomorrow, or attack that large task you keep putting off! –you’ll be amazed at how much you can think of and makes notes about in just ten minutes.

5. With large, daunting tasks, break them down into stages

This will make the task easier to think about dealing with and easier to complete.  Create a tick list for each stage and be pleased with yourself every time you can tick off a completed stage.

6. Delegation

Which tasks can you ask someone else to do?  Don’t waste time doing things that others can help you with.  If the person you delegate to is a direct report you will be developing them too!  Make sure you comply with the delegation rules though –ie you can’t abdicate your responsibility, and if they don’t know how to do the task you will need to train them.

7. Time wasters

Focus on what you can impact on and what time you have to plan with.  Don’t worry about things out of your control as this wastes your precious time.  Deal with interruptions effectively by asking people to call back or come back later if not urgent or important.  If you don’t think many things happen to steal your time, make a list today of every time something happens and how long it takes to resolve –you’ll be surprised!

8. Keep your work area tidy

If you can find everything quickly this will save you time.  Also if you have a tidy desk no-one should come along and have a tidy up for you –then you’ll never find anything!

9. Take regular breaks

This is important!  I know few people who can effectively work all day with no break, or food or water.  You need time to stop and take stock of everything.  You need food and water to make your brain and sugar levels work for you, and I don’t mean chocolate and coffee… unless you want a headache of course.  How many times do you think of a great idea when en route to the loo?

10. Take responsibility

When you say you’re busy, are you really?  Be honest with yourself and admit how much time you surf the net and/or get distracted when you should be researching something for one of your tasks.  This is your time you’re wasting. Do it now and go home on time!

Remember that stress is the negative effect of too much pressure and you can release the pressure by implementing your own effective time management system!

Darrington Training provides bespoke training courses for a wide range of industries, using a network of specialised trainers nationwide to deliver appropriate training for any industry.