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Time Management At Work

from: Jim Holden - Staff writer

Offices expect maximum productivity from all of their staff. Thus, many workplaces send their employees off to time management seminars at least once a year to help them in better delegating and segregating the tasks assigned to them. These programs are designed not just to keep the output at an increasing pace, but also to keep workers from feeling burned out with their jobs.

Newcomers at work are mostly the victims of improper time management because they are still trying to get a feel of the place and the work environment. The new guys are likely to fumble at the beginning and even sometimes keep bothering their colleagues with a gazillion questions, thus causing delay. This is normal, though. Over time, these newcomers will eventually get the hang of things and develop a system of their own.

The inability to manage time properly, however, is not confined to the office newbies. Even some of the more senior staff are having trouble managing their office time because they have become bored with the routine they face every single day. If this is you, then this article might be able to help.

Here are some tips to help you better manage your time at work.

- Make a list and stick to it

At the start of the day, we usually already have an idea what tasks should be accomplished for the rest of the shift. If you don’t have these details yet, ask. List the activities that need to be completed for the eight hour shift, as well as the jobs that were left over from the previous day or days.

Rank them according to importance, with the ones with the closest deadlines usually at the top. If their deadlines are the same, you might want to start with the more challenging ones first so that you’ll just be breezing through the easy ones as your day ends. This way, you won’t get too stressed before you go home and be able to enjoy the ride back.

Once you have made this list and created a schedule, stick to it. Don’t keep your tasks too close to each other, though, as you need to keep your schedule a little flexible to accommodate last minute instructions from your boss.

- Evaluate tasks once

If there is something you can do right now and today, do it at once. Setting a certain job aside for later, thinking that you will have time for it, is often a mistake. When you postpone something, chances are, you’ll spend another 2 to 3 minutes reorienting yourself with the task. As much as possible, look things over just once. If it’s important and you have some time, do it now. If it’s not, then don’t bother with it anymore.

- What you cannot perform, you delegate

Surely you’re not the only person in the office. Thus, if there is something that may be done by other people, have them do it, instead, especially if you’ve got too much to do already. Things like making copies of a certain file can be performed by the resident messenger or the staff member who seems to be spending most of his or her time gabbing on the phone.

On the other hand, don’t keep saying ‘yes’ to everything that is handed to you. If your boss wants something done, give him the real score if you’re swamped. Offer to do the job if he really wants YOU to do it but do tell him that it could take some time because there are other things that need to be accomplished first. Do it politely, of course.

- Keep your cool

You won’t be able to accomplish anything if you waste all your energies complaining about how busy you are and about how the stack of files on your desk doesn’t seem to shrink. Just do your job, do it fast and do it well. Complaining not only drains you of your energy but also takes up precious time you should be using to do productive things. Complaining never got any job done, so why should you do it?

Having a lot of things to do at the office can make you really tense during your shift. However, you can reduce this tension by keeping in mind the suggestions above. Effective time management at work, to summarize, means learning to delegate, rank jobs by importance and learning to turn things down. Admitting that you are only human and that you cannot juggle too many things at the same time does not make you less of an employee. It only shows that you value time and want to come up with the best output with the little that you have.


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