5 Time Management Tips You Must Do in 2013

Every year on the first work day of January, your co-workers
return to their desks with a new plan to transform themselves via their New
Year’s Resolution. Maybe they are mixing
health shakes in the breakroom in place of their lunches, walking through the
halls (or up and down the stairs) in lieu of their typical breaks to sneak in
some exercise or madly chewing nicotine replacement gum to kick the smoking
habit. Whatever their goal might be,
their intentions are good. But, this
year, instead of (yet again) resolving for your health, consider the best New
Year’s resolution of all: resolve to
find more time

Jim Croce wanted to capture time in a bottle. And, while you can’t actually store time or
increase the minutes of the day, it can seem like you have by increasing your
personal productivity with time management tips. Technology can be a double-edged sword. New software programs and communication
methods promise efficiency and automation. But, on the flip side, they are often coupled with additional steps,
duplicate efforts and yet one more thing you have to check off your daily
list. The time we have left over for
ourselves, for our sanity and for creative thinking gets slashed. We find ourselves reconsidering a glass of
water because too many trips to the restroom can hinder our work efforts. Fear not, and fill up at the water cooler
because real tips for improving your time management do exist.

  • Do it
     The best time management tip I
    ever heard was to only touch a piece of paper (or electronic message)
    once. If you can answer it and be done
    with it within 2 minutes, do it then. No
    reason to let this one pile up in your to-do box. Revisiting it later wastes time because it
    means re-reading it and re-thinking about it. Do it while it’s fresh in your mind. Check.
  • Schedule
    your inbox time and emails.
     This is
    an interesting concept and I have heard of companies actually requiring this of
    their staff. Consider how often emails
    interrupt your work day. You are
    feverishly working on a report or compiling data. Your inbox is hot with activity and you see
    the incoming messages pop up as you work (Click
    here to learn how to disable incoming message alerts in Outlook
    ). Even if you do not open the email, it is
    distracting and your mind can turn away from the attention it should be giving
    the task at hand into the incoming emails. You might give in to temptation and open your inbox and start
    replying. At this moment, you have cut
    your personal productivity because when you return to your project, you are
    going to have to spend time refreshing yourself as to wear you left off, and
    switching gears isn’t that easy.The solution: try scheduling your inbox
    checking and replying to only 2 hours through the day. From 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. you will check and
    reply to your email. At 10 a.m., close
    out of your email completely. Don’t turn
    it on for anything. Next, re-open your
    email and work through the communications at 2 p.m. Once 3 p.m. comes around, close back out of
    your email. If necessary, re-open at
    4:30 to ensure you didn’t miss anything major before the end of the day. This type of transition can be difficult to
    get used to—and maybe you think it won’t work for you in your environment
    because your boss requires you to respond immediately. That may be the case, but most emails can
    wait a couple of hours for a response, and if you can pitch to your superiors
    the need to segment your time and improve your efficiency through this method,
    hopefully, they will allow you some freedom to experiment and see if it does
    indeed work.
  • Be
    Social… Sometimes.
      Social Media
    time: Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google
    Plus and other sites are always on. If
    you are guilty of incessantly checking your newsfeed or notifications, you are
    hindering yourself. Much like you should
    schedule your email time, schedule time to check-in and post. Do not leave your browser constantly open. Social media can be a true time suck. Even if managing social media for your
    company is part of your work, remember, that it isn’t ALL of your work. Schedule your tweets and posts in advance and
    monitor the accounts like you schedule time for your emails. It will make you feel less scattered and will
    focus your time.
  • Use
    Technology to your Advantage.
     If you
    are like 90 percent of companies out there, you use Outlook for your
    inbox. Outlook comes with some fabulous
    tools for managing your messages and inbox to help you sort, prioritize and
    schedule your workload as your emails come in. Get familiar with the tools already available to you. Take two hours and set up rules so internal
    emails go to a particular folder. If
    emails are coming in from your staff, send them to another folder. By pre-sorting your emails, you can save
    yourself some hassle and also better segment your work in replying to
    them. Another great tool is with Conversation
    Clean Up
    which will put all of your messages in a series into a single
    email and delete the ones you no longer need. No longer will you have to sort through messages to make sure you have
    all the info—this tool does the work for you.
  • Ask for
    the Agenda.
     When you get a meeting
    request, no matter who it is from, ask for an agenda. If he meeting organizer doesn’t have one,
    you shouldn’t go. Without an agenda,
    there is no identified purpose. No one
    (aside from maybe the organizer) knows what is being discussed, who is
    reporting, what the deliverables are and the desired outcomes. Meetings can be a major time crusher. And if you have ever spent time in a meeting
    wondering why you were there, or about the million other things you should be
    doing, asking for an agenda before you ever step foot in a meeting is the first
    step in ensuring your time is being maximized.

These are just a few of the many ways you can increase your
productivity in the workplace and discover newfound minutes. Maybe you will use this newfound time to
focus on work projects or maybe you will focus on yourself and those
health-related goals you didn’t jump on the bandwagon with at New Years.  Whatever you decide to do with it, you still
can’t store it in a bottle, so spend it wisely and enjoy.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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