Prioritizing Tasks and Time Management: 10 Examples of Time management Skills at Work

By Eroh K | Strong Female Leaders

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Want to succeed in life?
You must be motivated. To be motivated, you can either push yourself hard every day and risk fatigue; or, you can master the art of prioritizing tasks and time management. When you effectively manage your time, you can accomplish more and grow your career or business AND have work-life balance.

Though prioritizing tasks and time management abilities sound simple, many professionals experience difficulties putting those skills into action. In today's article, we will show you how to master these skills by examples of time management skills at work. With practice and perseverance, you will master the following skills:
  • How to schedule tasks, so that you can maximize your day.
  • How to set deadlines, so that you can be productive AND uphold quality.
  • How to delegate responsibilities, so that you can focus on what you excel at and get more done.

  • 1. Effective Delegation
    LETTING GO may be the hardest thing that you must do as a leader. Feeling tempted to take charge of everything is a natural trait for ambitious women. However, such expectation is unfeasible and can cause burnout and counter productivity. To avoid such happenings, you must master the art of delegation.

    First, build a team with trusted and responsible employees who love what they do and are fairly compensated for their time. Next, provide them with challenging and interesting tasks, so they always have high standards and goals to strive for, and have a reason to work for you. Be sure to communicate clearly to your team, and continue to monitor their progress with short checkins that occur often. At this point, communication is key, especially when you do it with a positive attitude and with the intention to help your team. Last, give helpful feedback, as well as recognition for job well done.
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    2. Learn How to Prioritize
    Prioritizing tasks is an essential time management skill; because it keeps you focused on the most important tasks.

    A great way to prioritize is to make a master list of goals and to break it into monthly, weekly, and daily items. Seeing the "Big Picture" enables you to divide between urgent and important items and meaningless time-wasters. Urgent items and big hairy tasks like responding to clients and resolving technical blockers should be completed first. Then, you can finish off the rest of your list in peace.

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    3. Saying "No" is Acceptable
    If you continue to please everyone else, you have little time to please the most important person: YOURSELF. Constantly agreeing to do things for others clutters your schedule and makes it impossible to concentrate on important tasks.

    Saying "no" may feel uncomfortable at first; however, you can master the skill and do it tactfully.

    Before you begin, clarify what is important to you. Then, reject everything that competes with your priority. This allows you to reject requests with confidence and conviction. It also offers reasonable explanation to people you want to continue building relationships with, create an understanding between your and your team or clients, and prevent hurting others' feelings.

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    4. Make a Schedule
    You are often stretched in many directions: career, education, family, friends...piecing all of your TO DO's in a deadline-driven schedule creates clarity for an otherwise convoluted plan. When you focus on key items and prioritize wisely, you will achieve balance in life.

    An ideal schedule identifies the exact amount of time that a person has available and makes use of this time efficiently. If you have deadlines looming, write them down; so you know to what to do first.

    Remember to budget your time realistically. If you are starting a new project, block a few hours for brainstorming, and add cushioning into your schedule. When unexpected problems or events arise, you know you have the resource to conquer them. Lastly, don't forget to schedule personal time. Everyone needs downtime in their busy schedules, to relax, clear their mind, and recharge.

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    5. Turn Stress Into Something Positive
    When you take more responsibilities, stress builds quickly while productivity slows down. At this point, learning how to manage stress and turn it into a motivator will help alleviate tension and accomplish more.

    A great way to keep stress low is to box in what you can control and box out what you can't. If you find yourself behind, try to let go of thoughts that haunt you. Instead of worrying about things that you didn't complete yesterday, look ahead to tomorrow and how you can catch up. Staying calm keeps you focused and re-energized.

    Another way to battle stress is to take a break. A break can clear your mind and add a different perspective. It is absolutely okay to simply walk away from your desk for a few minutes. When you return, you will feel refreshed and ready to get tackle that important assignment again.

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    6. Set Realistic Deadlines
    When deadlines are unrealistic, stress builds. Avoid this situation by giving yourself enough wiggle room. When you have a project that is due in a week, set its deadline a few days earlier, so you have room to breath. Working ahead allows you time for better error catching and face unplanned problems.

    After meeting an early deadline, reward yourself. It will give you an incentive to complete the next challenge early as well, and build good habits.

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    7. Stop Procrastinating
    Putting things off until tomorrow sounds tempting, especially when you face a challenging task. However, this wastes valuable time and makes it more difficult to finish the job.

    To stop this, try to find a "buddy" who becomes your cheerleader. This person encourages you to get your work done and not to push it aside. In return, you can do the same for him or her. Working as a team increases accountability and makes it harder to delay work.

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    8. Stop Multitasking
    Multitasking is the opposite of time management prioritization. The popular belief is that it is a smart way to get various tasks done, multitasking lowers concentration and focus.

    According to the "Harvard Business Review," multitasking lowers productivity by 40 percent. when you shift from one task to another, your mind wastes time catching up from one train of thought to the other. This turns out to be a huge time waster. When you stick with one job until it is finished, you can then shift your focus to the next one.

    When you have a challenging job, resist distractions. You will feel less pressured and get more accomplished.

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    9. Begin Early
    Productive people usually get a jump on the day. When you get out of bed early, you have adequate time to plan what needs to get done. Also, this is the time of day when you have the most energy.

    Instead of sleeping late or dragging yourself out of bed, set you alarm for an early hour. When you get up, you can enjoy breakfast or a cup of coffee and jot down important things that you will accomplish before you leave your office.

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    10. Know When to Stop
    It is common to stay late at work so that you can finish certain tasks. However, this can cause burnout, especially when it is done on a regular basis. It is essential to keep a balance between private time and work.

    If you find that you are spending late nights at your office, you should understand that stopping is important for productivity. When the end of your shift is completed, pack up your things. When you return the next day, your brain will be refreshed, and you will not feel as though work is overtaking your life. If you follow this step, you will find that you actually get more things done in a timely manner.

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