Time Management on the Job - How to Be More Productive at Work

Time management is a skill you can improve.
To improve your time management skills, you need to know what to focus on, and how to focus.
Here are ten ways you can use to improve your time management skills over time:
  • Work on the high ROI stuff.
    Apply Pareto's Principle (The "80/20 Rule").
    Work on the 20% of activities that produce the 80% of your results.
    For example, rather than just do a lot of tasks just because they are easy to do, ask yourself, "What do I want to accomplish?" Chances are you can find smarter or better plays, with more leverage or more impact.
    Trade-up, and do less to accomplish more.
  • Team up.
    Pair up with other people and improve your own effectiveness.
    Ask yourself, "Who can I team up with to get results? How can I build more effective teams? Who should be paired up on the team for best results?" By pairing up, you create a team of capabilities and you can amplify your results.
    This can also help you get over your own personal bottlenecks, by finding complimentary skills.
    Worst case, you can make common chores, more fun.
  • Create clarity.
    Ask yourself, "Who, what, when, where, why, how?" Having clarity of mind makes it easy to focus on what's important.
    It also makes it easy to know where you are in the process.
    The bottom line is, clarity saves you time.
  • Clear your mind.
    Carry a small pad for tasks, notes and ideas.
    When you declutter your mind, you make it easier to act on your ideas, and you have more of your attention available to focus where it counts.
  • Don't dwell on the past.
    Catch the next train.
    Keep your trains leaving the station.
    When you miss one, don't hold your train back.
    Instead, catch the next one.
  • Learn how to scan.
    Find and focus on what's important faster.
    By scanning before drilling, you can figure out where to invest more of your time.
    You can also avoid spending too much time following dead end trails.
  • Make minor decisions quickly.
    Don't spend $20 on a $5 problem.
    Decisions take energy.
    If you over-invest in small decisions, then you waste your time and energy.
  • Periodically evaluate how you're using your time.
    Remember that time changes what's important.
    Your current schedule may be a slave to your past priorities, or may conflict with your current goals.
  • Give yourself less time for things.
    Remember Parkinson's Law - Work expands to fill the time available to completion.
    To waste less time, give yourself less time.
  • Use The Rule of Three.
    Use The Rule of Three to avoid getting overwhelmed.
    Limit yourself to three things and think in threes.
    For example, identify three wins to focus on for the day, or three wins to focus on for the week.
    Use these three wins to improve your focus and create compelling results.
You can apply these tips on a regular basis.
One simple way is to keep asking yourself, are you working on the right things, at the right time, with the right energy, the right way.
It's an easy way to find opportunities to improve your time management skills while you apply the ideas above.
Remember that, a little daily improvement, will quickly add up over time.
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