Human Resources

Time Management: Maximize Your Efficiency

/ April 29, 2024 April 29, 2024

We all get the same 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, or 86,400 seconds each day.

Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week.

Time is a funny thing. We always want more of it, but do we use the time we have wisely? The age-old saying “time is money” is really a fact. We can never get time back and since there is currently no way to create more time, let’s try the next best thing. Time Management. How efficient do you really think you’re being with your time?

According to Zippia:

  • The average worker spends 51% of every workday on low to no-value tasks.​
  • 82% of people don’t have a time management system.​
  • The average person checks their phone 96 times a day.

Do any of these surprise you? The phone stat hit home.

There are 4 core principles that can help maximize your time to the fullest.

Prioritize, Plan, Prepare, Perform.

1.Prioritize: Start with the most urgent or difficult task. You will likely feel a sense of relief when you cross off those pesky tasks you were dreading to do.

  • Manage the ad-hoc things firmly: Things come up last minute but ask yourself, if it is imperative to stop what I’m doing/derail my schedule for the day to go to this other thing? Maybe it is or maybe it’s something that can be scheduled for another day so you can stay focused on what you’re working on.
  • Don’t procrastinate on the hard things: Procrastination increases our anxiety, which impacts other tasks. We tend to avoid the tasks we don’t enjoy and put them off until they become an emergency. Then we rush to complete it.
  • If you’re looking for some assistance on how to prioritize your tasks, try out the Eisenhower Matrix. The Eisenhower Matrix has you put your tasks into four boxes: Do, Decide, Delegate, Delete. Do the things that are the most pressing. Schedule the non-urgent tasks. Delegate what’s less important, and don’t do the things that aren’t important at all.

2. Plan: Not everyone is a natural planner, but a little planning can make sure you’re spending your time wisely.

  • Time Audit: Journal how you spend your time for a week. Write down everything and the time spent. While tedious, this is a good way to see what you should stop doing or do less of.  How you prioritize/spend your time may not be how you think you prioritize/spend your time.
  • Eliminate Timewasters: Don’t let yourself get sucked down a rabbit hole. Ask yourself if what you’re doing and how you’re spending time has the ROI you want it to have.
  • Bite Size Tasks: Small goals or breaking things down helps to make things more manageable. Set realistic small goals for yourself. Conquering one big task that has multiple phases is overwhelming and may cause you to back-burner it in avoidance.
  • Make To-Do Lists: Write your list at the end of the day then review in the morning. Even if you don’t accomplish everything you wanted to, there is a sense of relief when you put it down on paper to address tomorrow. Create reminders for yourself. Get a routine.
  • Meetings for 1: Set appointments with yourself to accomplish tasks. Try color-coding your calendar. It gives you a clear visual and colors can have an emotional calming factor.  You can also try This is different than time blocking.

3. Prepare: Ever heard of the 10/90 rule? One minute of prep can save you 10 minutes of execution time.

  • Calendar: Each week look at your calendar for the next four weeks, put in prep/debrief/research and breaks where needed. Every day review the next day and make sure you are prepared for how you’ll accomplish what you have. There’s a lot to be said about mentally preparing ourselves for what’s ahead too.
  • Disarm distractions: Free your environment from distractions. Have set working time and set your boundaries. If you work from home and live with others, give them parameters on the hours you need to focus on working. Put do not disturb on your phone or notifications.
  • Buffer: Do you need to build in support and time from others to deliver a final? Work backwards in the schedule and give yourself a buffer/padding. Make sure deadlines are clear and realistic of others. Your poor planning does not constitute an emergency for someone else, so be respectful of your turnaround time requests.
  • Question efficiency and automation: Is there a tool that can automate what you’re doing? Is there a more efficient process? When asked why you are doing something a certain way, if the answer is “because that’s how it’s always been done,” take a step back and evaluate if there is a better way.

4. Perform:

  • 5-minute rule: Less than 5 minutes, do it now.
  • Avoid multitasking: You don’t have your full attention on it, so it takes you longer and is more prone to mistakes.
  • Learn to say no: Don’t over-commit yourself. This is hard for people-pleasers. Ask yourself this question: by saying yes, what am I saying no to?
  • Commit & Communicate: When you commit to a date – honor that date. If you can’t, communicate well ahead of time with reason and a new date. Hold yourself accountable to deadlines. Back yourself into them with plenty of prep time and account for things to go wrong.

At the end of the day, you have to find a method that works for you. There is no one right way to time management. The key is finding the best way for you that maximizes your time and gets you the ROI you desire. A little focus on it goes a long way. I hope you found these tips useful in managing your time more wisely.

At Exude Human Capital our team of experts are here to share best practices as we review strategies that support your unique organization. We know that the best human resources consulting solutions are custom-designed to meet each client’s needs. For more information on Exude Human Capital Consulting and to schedule a complementary 30-minute consultation with one of our experienced professionals CONTACT US.