6. Monitor How Your Time is Spent
A big step towards great time management is to know how your time is spent. Take a day or two from your work week and document each activity and task you do. This sounds more difficult than it is. There are many productivity apps out there that will do the trick for pretty much every platform. We've listed a few for you below to get you started:
Eternity Time Log Lite
Android Time Card Free
PC or Mac
Once you have all the data laid out before you, it will be clear where time can be saved. People are often surprised by what this simple experiment will reveal.
7. Don't Procrastinate
Procrastination will literally get you nowhere, so don't put off important tasks or wait until the last minute to put together your presentation. As humans it is part of our nature to avoid unpleasant tasks--to avoid this, try using the reward system. Plan something fun or relaxing after a difficult task, like take a ten minute break and go for a walk or work on something that is more compelling to you.
8. Recharge Your Batteries
Eat right, exercise regularly and get enough sleep. When we're healthy and all is well this often is taken for granted--it sounds like a no-brainer yet so many of us find it difficult to do.
9. Eliminate Distractions
No matter where you work, distractions abound in the form of email, social media, meetings or coworkers wanting to chat about last night's episode of "The Newsroom," current events or their children.
What can you do to limit these distractions and concentrate on the task at hand? If you've taken the time to monitor how your day is spent you'll know right where to start, but some other things you can do include, putting your phone on silent during your work hours or setting up specific intervals for the checking of email. Some people use noise-cancelling headphones or listen to music to drown out the other office sounds, while others use a do not disturb sign on their office or cube.
Do you have a coworker or boss who likes to drop by while you are trying to be productive? A great way to circumvent this is by making a preemptive stop by their office or cube just before you begin working on something. Let them know you are about to enter a meeting or work on a task that requires your complete attention, then ask them if there is anything you need to discuss before you get started. It requires a little extra effort on your part but the payoff is uninterrupted time to be productive.
Whatever you do to eliminate distractions, cutting through the noise of the everyday will allow your mind to focus on the task at hand more easily.
10. Delegate Responsibilities
Are you always on the run or behind schedule? Do you skip lunch or eat it at your desk while you work? Chances are you aren't delegating. Failure to delegate properly can be a career-limiting factor. There are 24 hours in the day and each of us is only one person. Founder of Virgin Group and billionaire adventurer Richard Branson had this to say, "I learned to delegate from a young age. Actually removing myself from the office has helped me look for the next big venture." Regardless whether or not you think you can do it better, some things need to be delegated so you can focus on your top priorities or take on new responsibilities.
Delegating is not a set-and-forget process, it requires thought and follow-through. Here are six helpful steps to take when delegating tasks and projects:
Know who your go-to people are. What are their strong/ weak points?
Set goals and let expectations be known.
Set checkpoints and deadlines
Let them know what resources are available to them.
Be available for questions. Stop by at checkpoints and see how the task is coming along
Allow a little more time than necessary. The amount of time it takes you to do a task is often different than someone who doesn't regularly do the same task.
Delegating is a daily part of IT management and core to better time management, offering a huge increase in your productivity.
A large part of time management is about becoming aware of your behavior patterns. Once you become more aware of the things that get in the way of your productivity, you will find your own ways of dealing with them.
This story, "10 time management tips for IT professionals" was originally published by CIO.