5 Time Management Tips for Busy Professionals
Professionals who take their jobs seriously can find it increasingly difficult to manage a busy schedule. Dealing with supervisors, colleagues, and occasionally the public as well as internal systems and processes places a heavy burden of responsibility on their daily workload. However, the following time management tips can be helpful in using time and energy wisely on the job for optimum results.
1. Prioritize the workload
Using a digital schedule or a printable calendar to prioritize daily tasks can simplify the ways in which a busy employee gets things done. Instead of tackling whichever task pops up first, a more effective approach is to organize tasks in order of importance to ensure timelines are met and projects are completed on schedule. Management Study Guide suggests in Time Management Tips for Professionals that busy people prioritize tasks for the day upon arriving at work to avoid being pulled in different directions or randomly attending to spontaneous issues.
2. Organize efficient meetings
Many executives are involved in a variety of meetings each week, some more productive than others. Taking employees’ time away from their regular jobs to participate in a meeting should ensure that the time spent will achieve meaningful results.
Meetings should be announced several days in advance with an agenda that includes specific goals, outcomes, or action steps to be determined or completed. Following the meeting, minutes of the proceedings should be prepared and distributed to attendees as both a record and a reminder of goals to be met before the next meeting.
Tips for getting more active employee engagement include providing snacks and starting the meeting at an offbeat time, such as 9:07 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. Assigning specific preparation tasks to each group member can also reduce pressure on the person organizing the meeting as well as ensure that everyone will be ready for the meeting.
3. Delegate tasks
In a July 2017 article titled, Time Management Skills List and Examples, author Alison Doyle includes the recommendation to delegate part of the workload. Even if certain aspects of the job cannot be reassigned to another employee due to their confidential nature or specialized process, others can help with support functions, such as gathering and organizing materials, developing needed content for correspondence, reports, and the website, and scheduling meetings with needed rooms, equipment, and supplies.
Although the concept of the traditional “girl Friday” or “office gofer” is obsolete as a job position, there is nothing wrong with employees assisting with smaller tasks that help bigger ones to get done. Occasionally, a colleague can fill in on a special assignment, such as chairing a meeting, taking a conference call, or preparing a report, as needed.
4. Measure progress
When things at work get really hectic, make time to check your progress. If productivity has fallen behind, it is important to evaluate relevant systems to find the problem and address it. Rather than waste time trying to catch up, find out what is causing the slow-down and streamline the process.
For major projects, keep a timeline or project schedule to track progress while working on other tasks simultaneously. That way the project won’t get lost in the shuffle or fall too far behind. Digital software can prepare charts and graphs that will make it easy to track project completion incrementally or in stages, along with identifying potential problems that can be promptly addressed to facilitate progress.
5. Take breaks
It may seem counter-intuitive to take breaks while trying to keep up with a demanding workload, but busy people need brief periods of down time to regroup and be refreshed. Otherwise, they run out of steam before accomplishing everything they want to, and some things will not get done.
Professional people who are driven to succeed are more prone to illness, likelier to report high levels of stress, and often burn out at their jobs or even in their careers. A fifteen-minute break or a vacation day away from the office can restore vitality and improve energy to make the job more enjoyable to the employee, and the employee more productive on the job. Even sitting quietly at your desk, elevating your feet, and closing your eyes for a few minutes can be relaxing. Computer experts recommend glancing away from the monitor screen frequently to avoid eye strain.
Being successful on the job doesn’t mean you have to work your hardest every minute of the day. It means learning how to approach work methodically and reasonably to ensure good results while also protecting your health and well-being. To accomplish more, it sometimes makes sense to do less, working with effective time management strategies like those mentioned above. Planning, organizing, delegating, evaluating, and resting are simple but proven ways to do great work without compromising your mental and physical resources.