Sometimes it can seem that there is never enough time in the day. By adopting time-management techniques it helps you identify priorities, you can understand and how to move forward in your career. It can improve your ability to function more effectively – even when time is tight – both with personal priorities and how your work/career or learning can fit around them e.g. identify when it may be necessary to do the task right away as you have an interview coming up in the next week.
Shifting your focus from activities to results is an effective way to prioritise your workload. Spending your day in a frenzy of activity often achieves less as you can divide your attention between so many different tasks. Good time management lets you work smarter – not harder – so you can get more done in less time which leaves more time for personal priorities and a better work/life balance.
Check out our relevant resources below to help you manage your workload and life priorities effectively.
Tips for managing your time and workload
It is important to identify life priorities as well as what tasks (both career and personal) need to be complete, where and when. This can be filling out a CV, a job deadline meeting or picking up the kids from nursery. It is important to identify these and factor them all into your workload, whether that be a weekly, monthly or annual to do list. The wheel of life is a simple but powerful tool that see’s visually your strongest areas of your life and helps identifies any barriers such as childcare. It is often used by life coaches and career coaches to give you a "bird's eye" view of your life. By looking at a visual representation of all the areas of your life at once, the wheel helps you to better understand which of your life areas are flourishing and which ones need the most work, which you can then prioritise and create a workload to achieve and flourish in these other areas.
Prioritise tasks based on importance and urgency. This also limits wasted time (procrastination) as well as ensuring you aren’t spending all day next to a computer screen. For example, look at your daily tasks and determine which are:
- Important and urgent: do these tasks right away
- Important but not urgent: decide when to do these tasks
- Urgent but not important: delegate these tasks if possible
- Not urgent and not important: set these aside to do later
Set a time limit to complete a task
Setting time constraints for completing tasks helps you be more focused and efficient. That way you can make plans for dealing any potential problems.
Take a break between tasks
When doing a lot of tasks without a break, it is harder to stay focused and motivated. Allow some downtime between tasks to clear your head and refresh yourself.
Remove non-essential tasks and activities
It is important to remove excess activities or tasks. Determine what is significant and what deserves your time.
Make sure you start every day with a clear idea of what you need to do – what needs to get done THAT DAY. Consider making it a habit to, at the end of each workday, write out your “to-do” list for the next workday. That way you can hit the ground running the next morning.
Managing health and wellbeing
Working from home, especially during COVID, can become extremely stressful especially when juggling your working space and relaxation space. It can be difficult for employees to adapt to a new work style if they’re used to a high level of interaction with their team every day, not to mention if have to juggle childcare, working from home and relaxation all within the same space.
It’s important that you manage your health and wellbeing, identify when you are tired and take a break, go walks, switch the computer off, practise mindfulness (switch off) and above keep up social contact. Arrange online calls or socially distanced catch ups with friends and work colleagues.
When thinking about potential career or learning opportunities it is important to factor in how elements like childcare, health and wellbeing will have an impact on time, and manage effectively your workload in order to take advantage of these opportunities.