Time Management Tips

Take a look at how you are spending your  work day. Identify parts of it that are not productive and make positive changes.

People often say there's not enough time in the day. While you can't make more time, you can take a look at how you could better spend your workday. Try this career advice to learn better time management:

Notice your time
A lot of productivity is lost to seemingly harmless habits like browsing the news or going out for coffee several times a day. For one week, write down what you do each day and how long it takes. After you have a full log, look at what you are spending your time on at work. Identify areas that you could improve and implement changes as necessary. You'll be surprised what you learn.

Avoid distractions
Instead of getting to the office early only to check Twitter and reply to that email your mother-in-law sent a week ago, start your day right away. Hang up your coat, stash your bag, grab a cup of coffee and start scrolling through your emails. Don't check social media after every task you complete, give yourself a timeline  and use short breaks as rewards. If you get through two meetings and a conference call, take a ten minute break to browse Facebook or do a mindless task. Maybe you're got a rousing game of trivia going on your phone. Treat yourself by playing a round. Just be sure that you are getting things done in a timely manner before taking a break.

Understand your work style
Some people work best when they have several days to complete a project. Others are fueled by tight deadlines. Discover what makes you most productive and impose appropriate timelines.

Identify why you're procrastinating
We've all got a thing or two on our to-do list that we've been pushing off for a few days. Instead of avoiding it, think about why you haven't done it. Maybe it's something that is going to be difficult. If so, start creating a plan with steps you can complete over the course of several days. Breaking up the elements of the task will help to make it easier and more doable. Maybe you're procrastinating because the item doesn't really need to be done. If so, put it on a secondary list of things that you could do but don't have to. Prioritizing your to-do list by what's important and has a time constraint can greatly reduce your likelihood to procrastinate. 

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a nonprofit, accredited, online university. To find out more about WGU's online degree programs, please visit www.wgu.edu/wisecareers

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