We all know people who seem to simply be naturally disorganized. Maybe some of us consider ourselves to be in that group as well. But time management is crucial to success in one’s career.
Not only does effective time management allow us to take on multiple high-profile and important roles or activities at once but it also lets us spend time on networking, personal development, and other career-building activities.
Fortunately, being naturally disorganized isn’t an incurable barrier to career growth. Here, we take a look at how we can apply these tips to maximize our own personal effectiveness.
Evaluate How You Spend Your Time
We all start on a level playing field when it comes to time management. Each of us is allocated 24 hours in a day. No more. No less. According to John Rampton, contributor to Entrepreneur, how we spend that time, though, is certainly variable.
The first step in mastering time management involves looking at what you’re doing currently. Think critically. Are you taking too many breaks? Are there tasks you can delegate? Are you simply taking on too many responsibilities?
Organize Your Time Wisely
Next is about how you might better organize your time in a tangible way. Effective time management won’t just happen. It’s important to use tools like planners or calendars to schedule activities for your day, week, month, etc. If you don’t, you’re likely to get surprised by tight deadlines for big commitments.
Plan, Prioritize, and Follow Through on Tasks
Create a routine where you plan, prioritize, and follow through on your tasks. This could involve blocking off the first 2 hours of your Mondays to plan out your week and blocking off time throughout the week to focus on key priorities.
No meetings and no pop-ins from coworkers. Use the times of the day, or days of the week, when you’re most energized and feeling productive to tackle your most challenging activities.
Give Everything a ‘Home’
This is basic organization. Instead of having to dig around for keys or a cell phone, keep these items in the same place every day. The same goes for organizing electronic documents and e-mails.
Drop Bad Habits
Bad habits could include being afraid to say “no,” trying to multitask (it’s actually not very effective), or spending too much time chatting with coworkers. Identify your own bad habits, and take steps to eliminate them, one by one.
Learn How to Manage External Time-Wasters
Whether they are workplace buddies, micromanaging superiors, or needy subordinates, it’s important to avoid or at least better manage those who take up too much of our time.
Not everyone is born or raised with the skills to be superbly organized. But that doesn’t mean those skills can’t be taught and learned. The six tips above can provide a great start for any employee struggling with organization and time management.