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Time is a precious resource to carefully balance in the workplace. Unfortunately, there are many challenges to effectively managing your time. Some are external, such as an inflexible work schedule that causes you to constantly juggle priorities. Personal limitations include procrastination or poor organizational skills. Analyze the positive and negative results of how you manage professional time. Identify blind spots and adopt formulas to maximize your efforts.
Opportunity to Plan
It’s difficult to plan work activities when you lack time management skills. You struggle to see the big picture – and are often reactive instead of proactive. Even when you have a lull in your day to plan ahead, you are often exhausted from the string of tasks you just completed. Determine when you will tackle responsibilities – instead of having those responsibilities tackle you. Use the earliest part of your day as a baseline for planning. If things free up the afternoon before, you may also use this time to strategize.
Ability to Focus
Each workday you need to accomplish certain goals. When you are on top of your time, you focus better. And when you do not struggle with indecision, you accomplish more. Do not be overwhelmed by unimportant tasks. Organize all of your to-dos – prioritizing urgent obligations, grouping similar tasks and skillfully working within the ebb and flow of your day.
Pressure to Rush
Deadlines are a way of life in the business world. When you do not manage your time well, you add pressure to rush. As a result, you make more mistakes and experience stress. Manage your time effectively to complete projects with time to spare. Respond to any surprises with the extra wiggle room and invest more in the quality of your work.
Communication with Others
How you manage your time also affects communication with colleagues. You work in more predictable patterns as a good time manager. This makes you more available when others want to reach you. Alternatively, it’s hard to know where a poor time manager is at a given moment – or what you are doing. When colleagues connect, your attention is divided. This situation is more serious when others depend on you to achieve larger goals. Create regular leeway to meet or respond to emails. Develop as much consistency as possible – even if parts of your day are consumed by peak busy times.
Attitude Toward Work
Time management skills drive your attitude toward work. It’s confusing and disempowering to constantly play catch-up with your work. You also risk negative responses – or even disciplinary actions – when certain activities fall by the wayside. Manage your time well to feel control over your destiny and get the most out of each day. Celebrate major achievements.
Kenya Lucas has been writing professionally since 1998. Her work has appeared in “Anthropology & Medicine,” “New Directions for Evaluation,” “Psychology of Women Quarterly” and “Journal of the Grant Professionals Association.” She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Johns Hopkins University and Brown University.
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