Productive Environment Institute Blog

5 Top Time Management Strategies You Should Know Today

How many times a day do you think you get interrupted or distracted at work?

According to research, it is estimated that a person gets interrupted once every 8 minutes, which equates to 50-60 times per day.

The distraction usually lasts about 5 minutes, which, when added up - accounts for 4 hours, or half of the workday. It has also been noted in research that 20% of the average workday is spent on essential tasks, while the other 80% is spent on unproductive tasks that have little to no value.

These are not effective or productive time management practices. If you are always spending time playing catch up, chasing or missing deadlines, surrounded by barely crossed-off to-do lists, it is time to invest in yourself and brush up on your time management skills. If you are trying to understand and learn the value of time and productivity, these helpful time management strategies will get you off to a great start.

Time Management and Productivity

The definition of time management is the ability to use one's time effectively or productively, especially at work. The purpose of productivity is the effectiveness of productive effort, especially in an industry as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input.

The average person gets interrupted. Understanding the terms' definition will help you put them into perspective and practice them in your everyday life.

Each strategy will work differently for each person. There are hundreds of books and methods dedicated to the multitude of time management practices, tools, processes, and skills. Some strategies will work better than others. Do not try to implement these strategies all at once. Once you review the five techniques, choose 2 to start with and add one method each week. If you find that one process doesn't work for you, change it out for another. Your goal should be to develop and create consistent routines.

5 Top Time Management Strategies You Should Know Today

Create a Dedicated Workspace

Whether you work at home or in an office, it's essential to have a dedicated workspace that creates a productive environment. As time management consultants, professional organizers, and productivity experts, one of our main goals at PEI is to help you create a workspace that works for you! When you have a functional and organized workspace, you will find yourself accomplishing more and helping your business thrive.

The main component to having a successful and productive workspace is organization. If you are surrounded by piles of paperwork, sticky notes, and other pieces of paper, you may find yourself overwhelmed just by sight. Implement a decision-making goal and go through all of the paperwork. Most of this paperwork can be consolidated and turned into digital files or an organized finding system. We don't use filing systems; we utilize finding systems, like Swiftfile, that increase productivity and cut down on search time when looking for documents.

Do not overcrowd your workspace. Everything has its place, even office supplies, so clear the clutter and simplify your space. There is no point in keeping a stapler or tape dispenser on your desk if you rarely use it. Utilize your desk space for important items. A lamp, water bottle, notebook, pen, planner, and desktop/laptop are some examples of essential desk items. Remember, A tidy desk is a tidy mind.

Plan Ahead

Do you use a planner to write down your to-do-list? Maybe you prefer to put things on your desktop calendar or in a notebook. Whether you like to write things down or keep things digital, it is crucial to plan ahead.

When you start your workday each morning:

  • Write down a list of the four tasks you must accomplish that day. Do not write down your entire to-do-list, just the items that need completing immediately.
  • After you write those down, estimate how much time it will take to do each task.
  • Plan these tasks around meetings and mealtimes, and allow a few minutes in-between to break and change tasks.
  • Carve out time at the end of your day to plan and prepare for the next day. This is when you will review your entire workload, check off completed tasks and see where your focus will be tomorrow.
  • If you have any spare time in between, you can fill it by answering emails, following up with tasks from the previous day or week, or taking a moment to relax and meditate.

Spending 15-20 minutes planning out your day will save you hours of figuring it out throughout your day.

Here are some ways to make your to-do-lists:

  • Check List: Once your task is complete, it will feel good to cross it or check it off your list. This is visually gratifying and boosts your motivation when you see the list dwindling.
  • Eisenhower Matrix: This matrix separates tasks into Important & Urgent, Important & Not-Urgent, Urgent & Not-Important, and Not-Urgent & Not-Important. This is a great tool if you are overwhelmed with your workload. You will be able to easily identify what needs to take precedent and what you will be able to delegate out to others if you can.
  • Color-Coded List: If you wear different hats in your position, writing down your tasks and organizing them by job or department will also help you cut through the clutter and identify which tasks need to be completed first.
5 Top Time Management Strategies You Should Know Today

Eat The Frog

Mark Twain said, "If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first." In simpler terms, do the most challenging and important tasks first. Once you complete those tasks, you can continue on your day with the relief that you got those done. These tasks are different for everyone and can change every day. No one specific task should be tackled first thing in the morning, every morning. When you write down your four important tasks in the morning, start with the most challenging on the list and then move onto the next most challenging and so on.

Time Yourself

If you decided to plan ahead, you have already blocked out a certain amount of time for each task, but do you stick to it? Helpful tools like the Pomodoro Method will help you stay on task and easily transition to the next. The human mind can only focus for so long before it starts to drift off into other thoughts. The Pomodoro Method is a timed-based productivity method that gives a person 25 minutes to focus and work hard and then allows a 5-minute break before continuing or moving to another task. If you are a day-dreamer or become easily distracted, this is a must-try strategy.

Avoid Distractions

If you give the Pomodoro Method a try, you must add this strategy to your toolbox. When it is time to get to work, you must avoid distractions. Some distractions appear out of nowhere, even when you think you are focused. To avoid distractions and boost productivity:

  • Put your phone and on silent or Do Not Disturb
  • Silence notifications for email, social media, or news/weather updates
  • Place a sign on your door (at home or in the office) that asks colleagues, children, or housemates to wait until a particular time (you choose your time) to come into the room. It is important to remind others that you need to remain focused on your tasks, or they may unintentionally interrupt your work flow.
  • Put your phone in your desk drawer or out of sight to keep you from unconsciously picking it up to browse the web.

Time to Implement

Implementing these strategies will help you boost your productivity as well as saving you time and money. Once you start utilizing time management strategies, you will change your mindset and do more than you ever thought possible.

If you require professional organizers, time management consultants, or productivity experts, the PEI team is ready to meet with you. We have a proven 9-step program that will increase your productivity in 90 days or less. With PEI, you will get the tools to be consistent, confident, and in control of your business so you can accomplish your work and enjoy your life.

Productive Environment Institute © 2021 All Rights Reserved

Home | About | Office Transformation | Consultants | Press | Productive Environment Network™

Privacy Policy | Terms of Use