Work-Life balance has indisputably become a common goal for society and we are all racing to find the formula to achieve it. Some opt to request a flexible work schedule, to work from home or more vacation time for personal wellness. While there very well may be factors outside of our control, one factor we absolutely can overcome is how we utilize the time allotted for work.
A mentor once told me, “Consistently working late is not necessarily a sign of a hard worker but rather the inability to use time wisely.”
Whether it is causing you to stress about upcoming deadlines, or forcing you to spend your personal time to play catch up; poor time management at work inevitably bleeds over into your life outside of the office. Therefore, time management skills are essential for achieving a balanced lifestyle.
Here are my five effective time management tips for workplace professionals:
1. Write it Down
Even if only for the feeling of accomplishment when you cross it off your list, write down each task and cross them off as you accomplish them. If you get carried away during the day and forget to write something down before you do it, still write it down and cross it off. Talk about immediate gratification! Or if a “to do list” seems daunting and has a reverse effect on your desire to complete it, write down everything you do as you go. Think of it as tracking your daily productivity. When you look back at the end of the day and truly feel productive, it fuels your fire for the next day.
2. TAKE A BREAK
Burnout is real! Do not push yourself so hard that you forget to eat lunch every day or never find time to use the bathroom. We’ve all had those days, and they leave you feeling mentally exhausted, counting down the minutes to sleep and dreading the next work day. Simply, don’t allow yourself to do it. Whether its 5 minutes or 15 minutes, squeeze in some mental breaks throughout the day.
3. Utilize Morning Energy
We all know that feeling when your coffee kicks in and you can conquer the world. We also know that feeling when you eat a heavy lunch and cannot believe nap time isn’t acceptable at work. So use your morning energy wisely! Prioritize the tasks that are going to take the most mental clarity for your morning, caffeinated self.
4. Plan for Tomorrow
Planning for tomorrow is by far one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received. Let’s face it, the very last few minutes of the day, as you count down to 5:00 are uncoincidentally the most unproductive. So instead of sulking about your lack of motivation, schedule the very last 15-20 minutes of your day to look back over what you’ve accomplished and then plan for tomorrow! Any tasks you weren’t able to cross off, just move them on over and prioritize tomorrow’s tasks. Because there is nothing better than walking in and knowing exactly what you need to do today.
5. Find What Works for You
Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all solution when it comes to time management. You must accept that it’s a process to find what works best for you. For example, if there is one thing I have learned about myself, it’s that for a reminder to be useful, it needs to actually pop up in front of my face, in the middle of what I am doing and make noise! Haha. What can I say? I like to zone in on my day-to-day tasks! Luckily, Outlook has that very feature and has saved the day. Find what works best for you then stick to it.
Whether you’re a time management expert or just starting to hone in on those skills, we’d like to know what time-saving tools work best for you? Leave your response in the comments section below!
About the author: Olivia Teague, CSP – is a certified staffing professional and serves as the South Fort Worth Branch Manager for Burnett’s Staffing, a Texas-based employment agency established in 1966. Burnett’s Staffing is a trusted expert in the recruitment industry. For more information about Olivia and Burnett’s management team click here!