Time management tips #1: How to increase your productivity at work

Managing your time and increasing productivity in the workplace is more valuable than ever.

Tips management tips #1

Managing your time and increasing productivity in the workplace is more valuable than ever. Thankfully, your approach doesn’t have to be arduous. Instead of being robotic and habitual in how I tackle tasks, I try to be thoughtful and always ask myself if something can be done more efficiently, delegated or eliminated altogether. 

Here are some time management tips to get you thinking more regularly about how to refine your own practices.

1. Complete the most important tasks first

This is the golden rule of time management. Each day, identify the two or three tasks that are the most crucial to complete and do those first.

Once you’ve done these (even if it’s just ‘make the bed’!) the day has already been a success. You can move on to other things, or you can let them wait until tomorrow. You’ve finished the essential items. When starting out, this can be very motivating. If your list is too long and not reasonable for the time you have available, you will ultimately fail.

2. Learn to say “no”

At some point, you need to learn to decline opportunities. Your objective should be to take on only those commitments that you know you have time for and you truly care about.

On a personal level, this is easy. If you do nothing else, make this change today.

It is more difficult however, when starting out in business as you can only really start to say no once you are established in the company. In my experience, I would suggest you can start being more selective at the 3-5 year mark. At this point, you can be more discerning about not only who you service as a customer or client, but what auxiliary things you get involved with in the local business community. At the start, it’s all or nothing!

3. Sleep at least 7-8 hours

Some people think sacrificing sleep is a good way to hack productivity, and add a couple of extra hours to your day. But, as countless sleep guides and adult-functioning studies will tell you, this is not the case. 

Most people need 7-8 hours of sleep for their bodies and minds to function optimally. You know if you’re getting enough sleep, so simply listen to your body.

Each day, identify the two or three tasks that are the most crucial to complete and do those first.”

4. Devote your focus to the task at hand

Spend a few minutes making sure you are in a position to concentrate on the task at hand. Make sure you have a quiet place to work, or a noisy place if that works for you.

Close out of all other browser windows – in fact never have more open than you need currently. Imagine if it was books spread out all over your workspace. Put your phone AWAY (out of sight and silent). And yes – go to the toilet, get a coffee, make that phone call and then FOCUS.

5. Get an early start

Nearly all of us are plagued by the impulse to procrastinate. It seems so easy, and you always manage to get it done eventually – so why not? I see some people who even seem to get a buzz from the panic of completing something last minute.

It is so much less stressful to get an earlier start on something. It isn’t that difficult either, if you just decide firmly to do it. Oh and I don’t mean an early as in 5am start (unless that works for you), I mean not doing it on the day it is due. There’s a difference.

6. Don’t allow unimportant details to drag you down

We often allow projects to take much, much longer than they should by getting hung up on small details. I’m not suggesting you drop attention to detail – it’s a very important skill. But, learning to recognise when and where it is required, and at what level, will be a gamechanger.

This is when you implement the ‘Do-Delegate-Dump’ rules. Remember, the task may appear unimportant or trivial, but it may just need to be done by someone (or something) else. Don’t repeatedly do something that you know is a waste of your time. 

Make sure you have a quiet place to work, or a noisy place if that works for you.”

These simple shifts in your daily routine can make a huge difference to how much you get done in one day. Try implementing one or two at a time, and see what works for you. You’ll be working smarter – not harder – in no time.

Be sure to stay tuned for our next installment of our Time Management Tips series – see how many of the above you can impliment before then!

Lisa Hooton
Lisa Hooton is the founding director of Nurture Accounting in North Lakes QLD. She has 25 years experience in Public Practice with a passion for Small Business Compliance. Lisa is dedicated to Nurture’s clients and team, always learning, fun and spirited individual. Lisa is a guru in time and workflow managment. She is also an advocate for the development and implementation of automation and cloud systems in small business. Lisa is a supporter of women in small business and an active volunteer in the local community. Lisa lives with her husband of 24 years and 3 amazing daughters in Murrumba Downs QLD. She spends her downtime writing blogs and courses on business administration and management, is an avid gamer and loves a good road trip. BBus (hons). BArts (hons). CPA. MIPA. Registered Tax Agent. Registered ASIC Agent. Xero Certified Advisor and Xero Gold Partner.

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