5 Simple Time Management Tips To Increase Productivity
Time is perhaps the most important organizational asset, yet many professionals fail to use it wisely. At one point or another, we’ve all wished for more hours in a day. Now, since most of us are working from home, it becomes all the more important to draw the line between our personal and professional life to manage time efficiently.
Without effective time management, employees can easily miss their deadlines, experience high stress levels, and face burnout, eventually leading to increased project costs and decreased customer satisfaction.
Use these five simple time management tips to complete your projects and tasks within time and budget:
1. Prioritize Projects and Tasks
The best way to get more done in less time is by prioritizing tasks. Get all your projects in one place and then prioritize them based on the deadlines, project cost, resource availability, or some other business criteria.
Consider prioritizing projects based on the Pareto principle, which states that 20 percent of your work brings 80 percent of the results. Spend some time to analyze and identify those 20 percent of projects that can drive 80 percent of your total revenue.
For prioritizing tasks, break down a big task into multiple subtasks to analyze which ones need to be done immediately and which can be deferred, delegated, or deleted.
This can be done by creating four categories based on the importance and urgency of the task:
- Important and urgent: Complete these tasks immediately.
- Important but not urgent: Defer these tasks.
- Urgent but not important: Delegate such tasks.
- Neither urgent nor important: These tasks waste both time and effort, so delete them.
2. Stay Organized
Remember when you spent hours exchanging emails to get all the information you needed to get started with a task? Or the hours you spent on getting all the paperwork together and finding the latest version? Such unnecessary time killers can be easily eliminated by staying organized.
When you start a project, set clear expectations with the team and stakeholders. This includes the quality of work you expect from your team, who is accountable for which task, how often the teams will communicate with each other, how all files and document versions will be managed, and more.
A cloud project and resource management solution helps you to organize all your projects, tasks, resources, documents, and stakeholder communication in one place. A well-integrated solution breaks departmental silos to provide you with up-to-date information at any time and can be accessed from anywhere with a simple click.
3. Automate Manual and Repetitive Work
If you’re still managing your projects on spreadsheets, then you’re wasting a ton of time on manual execution of potentially automatable tasks. Spreadsheets can track neither time nor task. They don’t allow workflows that can streamline processes and help team members collaborate better.
Every task that can be automated should be automated. Most processes in projects follow a template or a repeatable structure. For instance, handovers between the teams, task reminders and notifications, review and approval processes, and bottleneck identification all follow a documented process that can be easily automated with the right tools.
For example, a professional service automation software integrates with other tools like CRM, ERP, and accounting tools you use to automate processes. The inbuilt workflows automate project handovers between the sales, delivery, and billing teams. The time spent on tasks is calculated automatically to reduce administrative overhead. Templates clone projects and associated tasks automatically, saving you time from creating everything from scratch.
4. Streamline Communication
If you’re like any other average employee, then you could be spending as much as 31 hours on unproductive meetings every month. Getting every team member into a meeting room or on a conference call to discuss where they are on a project and what tasks they’re going to work on next takes away the time they could actually be spending on getting things done.
When you use the right tools to manage projects and resources, the status of every project and task can be pulled into a visual report in real time to get the latest update without having to involve the employees. These reports show accurately how much time was spent on which task and how much more would be required to complete. You can schedule these reports to reach stakeholders’ inboxes directly every week, biweekly, or monthly to let them know that your projects are on track. Automated status updates save both time and stress for geographically dispersed teams that work in different time zones—no more early morning or late night calls.
5. Track Time Spent on Tasks
You might have heard the adage: “What gets measured, gets managed.” And it’s no different for time. You need to measure time to manage it. When you’re working on multiple tasks, it’s easy to lose track of time. And without tracking it effectively, you wouldn’t realize where the inefficiencies are.
Fortunately, there are several tools you can use to track every second of your time accurately while you have your hands on all tasks for successful project delivery. When you know which tasks consume how much of your time, you can analyze why certain tasks are taking more time than they should, what you can do better to reduce the time consumption, and better estimate the time required for similar projects in the future. Set time for every task and measure the actual time spent against the estimate. If you still find that you are shooting beyond the set time limits, analyze your workflow to identify and eliminate any time wasters.
Take Charge of Your Time
Whether you want to improve your team’s productivity or increase your business revenue with accurate client billing, these time management tips can help you get the best out of your time. Identify common time sucks for your teams and find solutions that can help them gain the lost hours for higher-value work. Effective time management will not only help your teams be more productive, but also help your business grow as a whole.
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