Own Your TIME At Work!

By Mel Sim

There’s nothing like being the master of your time at work to get productive and also achieve a balance.

Ever come home feeling super exhausted from work yet feel like you did not accomplish anything? Is your workday spiraling out of control? You start the day wanting to accomplish 1, 2 and 3 but end up doing 0!

What is the problem?

Well, quite simply put – you could be easily distracted or have put too much focus on low-priority tasks. And… there is the matter of procrastinating where you spend the first half of the morning just in your own thoughts thinking of wanting to get started but not start at all! Plus meetings can really take up your time and a lot of it are actually unnecessary or could be conducted better.

How do you regain more control of your time at the office? Own it like a boss! Start by taking an honest look at how your typical workday goes. Do you go in the office and spend an hour getting coffee, talking to colleagues, taking your time to start up your computer and before you know it, it’s already 11 when you reply that first email? We spend a lot of time procrastinating at work that as the day progresses, you get even more harried for time to complete what it is that you need done. The problem is you had all that time earlier in the day to complete it in perfect time instead of feeling rushed!

So if you are tired of feeling tired but unaccomplished every day, try these tips.

#1 Use a time journal
Successful people do this – they plan what they want to accomplish for the day and they have something concrete they can refer to so they know whether they are on track or not. Create a time journal with 30 minutes to one hour increments, starting from when work officially starts and when it officially ends. Jot down what you want to complete each hour. Maybe at 9am you want to complete replying to emails that you did not have time to do so the day before. Then at 10am you want to schedule new meetings with clients. At 11am and 12pm, look through some work presentations your team has been working on. Lunch at 1pm. Back to replying to emails at 2pm. You get the idea. When you have something as concrete as this, it gives you more focus and discipline to follow it. But don’t try to jam pack it with too many things! You have to be realistic at the amount of time you will need to accomplish your tasks. Try to pack it and you will no doubt feel the stress of needing to finish them all, which is counterproductive of what you want to achieve!

#2 Plan your week for success
Most people feel more productive on the first day of the week and a little less enthusiastic about work as Friday rolls by. So plan your week according to when you feel most hard working to tackle the important stuff first and end it with the low-priority stuff. Remember though, what’s low-priority today can be high-priority tomorrow so you need to give yourself some flexibility and know that some days are going to be more stressful than the others. But a concrete plan for the week will help you stay focused on whatever task on hand.

#3 Stop trying to prove something you don’t have to
Hustle all day, sleep for five hours, and hustle again the next day? You don’t have to be that person to prove that you got it. Sure, it feels good to receive the validation that you are such a hard worker but at what cost? Instead, it’s more important for you to space your tasks out so you don’t feel like you have to cram everything in one single week and to have nothing to do at all the next day. If it’s not that important, push it to later so you can focus all your energy and attention on what’s important to do it right.

#4 Delegate or eliminate
A Harvard Business Review research indicated that knowledge workers spend a great deal of their time – an average of 41% - on activities that offer little personal satisfaction and can be handled competently by others. So why do you keep doing these time suckers? Because you want to seem like you can do it all, and it is easier to look busy doing everything than to pass on the buck to someone else.

Guess what, the way forward is to delegate or even eliminate altogether! By consciously deciding which tasks matter most and dropping what doesn’t really require your attention will help you become more productive with your time. Same research found that when executives reduced their involvement in low-value tasks, they were able to cut desk work by an average of six hours a week and meeting time by an average of two hours a week. So rethink and shift the balance of your work. Do you really need to clip all the papers for your presentation when you can just upload on Drive and get everyone to view them online? Find ways to simplify the mundane tasks at work and you’ll get your time back.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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