There are three key components every employee should know to have good time management. Those components are; know what needs to be done, know when it needs to be done, and finish the task whether you like it or not early if possible. If you follow these three rules of time management everyday you will find that you are getting projects done often ahead of time, you will be happy with your position, you will be less stressed, and you may even find more opportunity given to you from your manager.
Knowing what needs to be done is simply creating a “To Do List”. It’s a common theme in today’s world and spoken of often, but truly how many of us actually sit down daily and write out a “To Do List”? If you have a list of what needs to be done you won’t miss something, if you mark them off as you complete each task you will feel a sense of accomplishment, and if you write up a “To Do List” daily you will feel organized.
If you make your first task to improving your time management to write out a daily “To Do List” you will be on a proven track for success. The key is to remember that it takes 21 days on average for an adult to create a habit, it will be a nuisance at first, you will want to avoid making up your list daily, and you may find this task tedious, but if you stick with it for 21 days it will become easier as time goes by.
The next area of time management that will help you is knowing when your tasks need to be completed. This is simply prioritizing your “To Do List”. Create a system that is easy for you, some people like colors others like numbers. Whatever mechanism you use isn’t the real issue it is how you use it. Have something represent 1, 2, & 3. For ease of explaining I will leave this in number form, however, I prefer colors.
Any task you label as 1 has to be done as soon as possible. That same day if it can be accomplished. Any task you label as 2 ca be done over the period of this coming week. And any task you label as 3 can be done over the next month or quarter. Each day you write up your “To Do List” and prioritize what needs to be done when. As you complete tasks make sure you mark them off. The next day use what is left on your “To Do List” from the previous day to start your list for that day. You may find as time goes by the prioritizing changes.
Doing this helps with a couple of things, you get more tasks done on time or ahead of schedule, you feel good because you finally see you are accomplishing things daily, you don’t stress when your manager brings you anew task with an accelerated deadline because you can reprioritize, and you are less stressed when you go home.
The last part of this article is going to discuss doing things you don’t want to do. A good example is you have quarterly reviews to write on 15 of your employees and this is due in two months. In my experience very few people like writing employee reviews. This was always a task that was saved for the very last minute. I did an experiment with my managers and had 5 of them work a little on their annual reviews every day and the other five finished them whenever they were due.
The managers that spent 30 minutes every couple of days on their annual reviews were completed over a month in advance and the quality of their reviews were very high. The managers I left to their own time management were scrambling up to the very last night working late into the evening to through anything together that made sense. They had the most rewrites and were the most stressed out. Completing the dreaded tasks a little each day made them easier to handle and brought about a lot less stress.
Employees with good time management skills will exhibit the ability to know what needs to be done “To Do List”, when it needs to be done (prioritize each task), and get those dreaded assignments done ahead of time by doing a little at a time.