One of the easiest and simplest ways to become successful is to know how to effectively manage and use your time. While there will definitely be circumstances that are out of your control, knowing how to efficiently use your time can help mitigate some of the setbacks or delays caused by unexpected situations.
The workplace is one such area where having good time management skills is essential. Having good time management skills can make you twice as productive as usual in addition to making you an effective employee who is recognized as such.
But without knowing where to begin, acquiring good time-saving skills can be a struggle.
How to Have an Efficient Morkday
No matter how carefully you plan before going to work, there is always the possibility that an unexpected event can occur and change all of those plans. Here are the 10 best time-saving hacks that can help you have a more efficient workday and get your schedule back on track.
1. Wake up early
Waking up early is beneficial not only for your job but also for your health. For some, a quiet and peaceful early morning can be re-energizing, allowing them to become more productive, as there are fewer distractions. So even before heading to the office, waking up early can allow you to preemptively knock out some of the items on your to-do list. And while waking up early can be a struggle, its positive and productive results are enough of a reason to stick to it.
2. Identify important and urgent tasks
There are lots to do in a workday, and in order to be truly productive, it is necessary to be able to identify tasks in order of their importance. It is imperative to categorize things according to the following:
- Important and urgent (preparing for a client visit by the following day)
- Not urgent but important (preparing for a report presentation in two weeks)
- Not urgent or important (searching articles on the internet)
- Urgent but not important (like phone calls or engaging in social media)
Important tasks are those that matter to the immediate and long-term goals of the business. The urgent tasks are those that need immediate attention, such as upcoming deadlines. That said, tasks that are important but not urgent should be focused on because it contributes to the immediate and long-term success of the project. So, by identifying any important and urgent tasks, you are able to focus on only the very important tasks and prevent any from becoming critical.
3. Follow the SMART Goal
Each workday’s productivity should be directed toward achieving the company’s goals. To do this, ensure your daily tasks are in connection with SMART goals, so you are not only productive for the day but also in coming days and months as well. This way, the time being spent will not go to waste.
- Specific: Ensure the goal is clearly understood.
- Measurable: Metrics should be clearly defined with specific numbers.
- Achievable: Goals are realistic and can be accomplished.
- Relevant: Goals move the business toward long-term goals.
- Time-bound: Goals have a clearly defined beginning and end.
4. Say no to multitasking
Contrary to what everyone thinks about multitasking, it actually decreases productivity by up to 40%. That is because full attention is not given to one task. According to researchers at Stanford University, multitasking causes less efficiency compared to focusing on one task. And in the long run, multitasking damages the ability to focus on just one thing in other areas of work. Tasks can get done one step at a time as long as the commitment to doing it is there.
5. Understand the importance of saying “No”
To be more efficient, prioritization of tasks is of the essence. Imagine saying yes to everything. It will surely result in a disaster. However, it can be difficult to say no, especially if it’s your boss asking you to do something. Instead of saying no, consider letting your boss know that you are currently working on several other tasks and, if this task were to assigned, how would would they like you to prioritize it within your current task list or which assignment would they like you to replace to take on this task.
You won’t be directly telling them no, but you will also be letting them know you have many other priorities you need to work on as well as setting an important boundary that indicates your workload capacity. At the same time, it keeps professionalism which dictates one’s work ethics, and it sets an understanding that multiple tasks cannot be freely given without compromising another.
6. Make use of free project management software
Working hard results in burn-out, but working smart can allow you to obtain the same results without as much effort or strain. Many tasks can be done in less time through the use of project management tools. Apps like Trello, Asana, and Basecamp help organize task assignment, collaboration, and management. They track the progress of deliverables and include analytics functions and reporting. And by eliminating inefficiencies, these tools are able to help boost productivity.
7. Take notes
Never forget to jot down important details that need to be remembered. Depending on what is preferred, you can use an app from a smartphone or go for the traditional pen and paper. A recommended app is Todoist, which tracks every task and errand. By using this app, one can be 100% more efficient.
8. Minimize distractions
Once every eight minutes, an average person gets distracted which consumes 50–60 minutes per day. Additionally, once a person is interrupted from what they-re doing, it will take approximately 23 minutes to regain focus. In short, a lot of time can be consumed from distractions alone, which hit on efficiency.
Some tricks that can help include setting up Do Not Disturb on certain notifications like emails or chatbots, or if you’re working in the office, placing a note on your desk or door can be a great way to let others know you would like to work in peace. Tidying up is another way to elude distraction, as clutter can be distracting, and it can take up time when looking for something.
9. Set a day for self-care
Our body is the capital in getting everything done. That said, it needs to be recharged, so it will be efficient in its performance. While exhausted and tired, the quality of your work is affected, which can be costly in the workplace. Self-care can help prevent you from feeling overwhelmed with work and does a lot of good to your health.
10. Find purpose in your work
Working without a sense of purpose can often lead to inefficiency. While everyone’s purpose for working is different, knowing your purpose can be a great way to motivate you in your daily tasks. Similarly, it’s important to understand the purpose behind individual tasks and how they contribute toward the organization’s long-term goals, as a lack of purpose could have an adverse affect on performance and thus impact efficiency.