Three Ways You're Probably Wasting Time, and Three Ways to Get the Time Back

Julie Shenkman
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Whether you're an executive or an administrative assistant, nothing is more important than understanding how you're spending your time during the workday. Learning how to improve time management in the office can mean the difference between a productive day and a wasted eight hours. If you're always stressed about deadlines and are working long hours to get the simplest things done, you should learn to understand the top ways you may be wasting your time and develop some time management techniques to help you get better control over your days.

Email is a necessary evil that can eat up too much of your time during the day, and learning how to improve time management should start by getting this task under control. TimeTracker.Net conducted a survey on the top ten time killers, ultimately naming email as the most common culprit. It found that 33 percent of the survey respondents spend between one and two hours each day dealing with email, and a full 22 percent spend more than two hours. If you're someone who checks email obsessively, it's time to stop and put some time management techniques into action. Set aside a few blocks of time spread throughout the day to spend reading and answering emails, and use the rest of your day to focus on other tasks. Create folders to store emails that you want to catch up with in your personal time, and keep your responses to emails short and to the point.

When you don't have a plan and jump from one task to another in an attempt to get everything done at once, thinking about how to improve time management may seem like just another task to add to your list. Starting off your week by using the four Ds of time management is a great way to get through busy days with as little stress as possible. Do the small tasks you can perform easily that day or schedule a time to do them on your calendar. Delay tasks that don't need your immediate attention or require research or other preliminary work. Delegate specialized tasks to others when possible, and dump those that have been sitting on your list for six months or more. Knowing how to improve time management skills by appropriately scheduling and organizing your work is a skill that will stay with you for a lifetime.

If meetings are eating up your workday, it's time to learn how to improve time management before you schedule or run any more of them. Make sure that you only include essential personnel in any meetings that you host and have a clear and concise goal and agenda. Instead of scheduling several meetings throughout the day, book them back to back so that you have a solid portion of your day where you can focus on other tasks you need to accomplish.

It's never too late to learn how to improve time management to make your workday more productive and efficient. Start by taking the time to understand exactly how you spend your days now, identifying the activities that are wasting your time and the ones that are actually getting you closer to your goals.



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