How to work smarter instead of harder. That’s exactly what a lot of people aspire when it comes to managing their office life. But how do you manage to do that? We collected some helpful tips to help you stay on top of your work.
But what is the actual challenge? A major thing for many people is that they have too much work and not enough time to do it. The way forward? Fine-tuning your time-management skills. By doing that, you make more time for the things that matter most and you deal with stress on several fronts.
By doing that you will feel more in control, be more productive and secure in your job. And: you simply get more satisfaction from what you do!
Here are our top 10 tips:
Prepare a to-do list of all your uncompleted tasks and projects at the end of every day. Then review it, prioritize and find out how long you need to finish each activity. Use a planner displaying a complete week at a time.
Did you know that 80 % of your accomplishments result from 20 % of your efforts. That’s why you better have a strategic outlook and ask yourself: what 20 % of your work is most important – both to you and your employer? Find out and then try to concentrate the majority of your time and energy towards it. You should also learn to say no to less urgent requests. Finally, try not to perfect every interoffice memo when you could better use your time for other things.
It is no shame to transfer some of your less critical projects to subordinates or ask your children to assist with certain household stuff. You will see that your energy levels will rise in favor of more decisive work projects.
It is pretty effective to set yourself deadlines. Most importantly, though, at first concentrate on starting the work instead of completing it. Plus, rather than postponing, separate big projects into manageable parts and take care of one bit at a time. You also need to understand that a lot of people with issues sticking to deadlines unrealistically believe that their work must be impeccable. So make sure to look for quality instead of perfection.
Schedule Concentration Time
It is advisable to reserve some time every day when you don’t want to be interrupted, excluding emergencies of course. Then use this time to finish the key tasks of the day. If someone still visits your desk asking for your time, honestly reply: “Sorry, I’m in the midst of something right now, and I am unable to give you my full attention.” Make sure to close the door to your office if possible.
Have you heard of the rule “tuck it, transfer it or trash it”? That simply means: quickly skim through each mail and every memo or e-mail message you receive. In case it looks potentially important, file it straight away in a folder named “pending” or pass it on to someone else. If it’s not relevant or pretty unimportant, trash it. You should deal with your mail in the same way at home, of course.
Schedule Phone Time
Try to make and return phone calls at a fixed time. Surely it helps you to save a certain amount of time during the day as phone time. Inform people that this is the ideal time to reach you by phone. As a result people expect to hear from you at specific time and are less likely to bother you that much at other times.
Chatting with colleagues can be pretty useful as it builds important relationships. It is never wrong to share a joke or personal story waiting at the photocopier or for a meeting. You can also regularly schedule coffee breaks with fellow workers. Join your office sports team or help organize employee events outside of work.
Remember that all of your planning will be of little use if you believe that you can’t deviate from the schedule you developed. It might always be that you have to spend some time dealing with unexpected issues. Or you may get on a roll with a proposal you’re writing. Then it would be a mistake to stop just because you only scheduled an hour for it. You should rather practice effective procrastination, i.e. ask yourself: “Is delaying my next planned task and continuing what I’m doing a clever decision, or is this merely a delay tactic?”
Planning ahead at home the night before is the key to start your workday right. Prepare your lunch for the next day, while you’re already in the kitchen. Lay out your clothes and pack your briefcase. But most importantly: spend a pressure-free hour or more with things you enjoy before going to bed.
We hope that you now have a much better idea of how to make the most of your office hours! How do you optimize your office life? Do you agree with us? Let us know and leave a comment below!