We’ve all heard that saying “work smarter, not harder” but people love to say this catchy phrase without telling you how to do it, exactly. Do you reckon they know how to work smarter? Anyway, let’s forget about them because you’re about to find out how. Let’s get started!
1. Set Goals
Setting goals are great! Us humans love to feel like we’re achieving something. And we are! But, how do you know you’ve made a success of something if it wasn’t a goal? Pretty hard, right? So, a quick and easy way to get started is to set SMART goals. SMART is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Let me give you an example; I love examples by the way.
Specific: Write and publish 4 blogs on management and personal development.
Measurable: When I publish them.
Achievable: Computer, check.
Relevant: Yes, SEK Training has new management and personal development training courses.
Time Bound: Four weeks.
It sounds easy, doesn’t it? It sure is easy to do to. Now, you can test if this little tactic helps me. Check out my blog posts over the next few weeks.
2. Make Lists
You probably do this already like shopping lists or the things you need to get for your do-it-yourself project at home. Why aren’t you doing it at work? Lists are great for visually showing and reminding you of all the work you need to finish. So, a little technique I use is a daily and weekly list. I list all the activities I need to do this week on Monday morning, then determine which ones I need to do today by prioritising (we’ll talk about this in a moment). I focus on one activity at a time and cross them off throughout the day. Treat each activity as a little goal.
3. Start Prioritising
It’s a must, especially if you’re an important businessperson. But, everyone needs to prioritise. Otherwise, we would miss those all-important deadlines. Could you imagine finance team prioritising petty cash over your salary – devastating, right? No? You must be on big bucks!
Anyway, let’s look at a tool to help you prioritise your workload. Have you heard of Eisenhower’s Principle? Well, this is one I recommend – I do it all the time. On your to-do list, we talked about on point 2, number each activity 1, 2, 3, or 4. But, not like a list, if that makes sense?
1. Important and Urgent
2. Important but Not Urgent
3. Not Important but Urgent
4. Not Important and Not Urgent
Important and urgent activities you must cross off your list first – it’s satisfying, trust me. Important but not urgent activities should be scheduled in your calendar with enough time to complete before they become urgent. We’ll talk about scheduling in just a moment.
Not important but urgent activities are preventing you from achieving your goals – find out if you can reschedule a deadline or delegate the task. Not important and not urgent tasks are a pure distraction. Avoid them! You can ignore or cancel some of these tasks but check if these can be done by someone else.
To help you get started, you can download our free prioritised to-do list to help you manage your time more effectively.
Scheduling really helps me keep my cool. I know what I need to do in a weeks’ time, two weeks’ time, and a months’ time. You should start, it will help you manage your time more effectively. To help you get started, use your list after you have done your priority check, then start adding tasks on your calendar. You may even have recurring activities to complete, add these to your schedule too.
5. Go on a Time Management Training Course
You’ve read this blog, and I hope you’ve found it very useful and enjoyable to read, but you want a few more tips, tricks, and techniques. SEK Training has designed a time management training course for you to improve your time management skills further. Go check it out! But, in the meantime, if it’s something you don’t want to do, check out our blog soon for more posts just like this.
Good luck with your time management and I hope you take at least one technique from this post to put into practice.
Written by Nick on Tuesday 3rd April 2018.