The average employee in the U.S. works about 8 hours per day, but for many this schedule is not enough to finish everything they must do. As time passes and the list of things that must be done continues to grow, it can often seem as if the end of the day comes too soon. Some employees choose to solve this problem by working longer hours or taking their work home with them, but this is unfair both to themselves and their families. Instead of working more hours, it is better to make the most of the time you have. Below are some tips that will help you do just that.
Reduce the Number of Meetings You Attend
Unless it is absolutely necessary, you should avoid attending meetings. Research shows that the average employee in the U.S. spends about 9 hours each week at meetings, which is 468 hours per year. Clearly, the amount of time you spend at meetings can be used for more productive tasks. If you can cancel a meeting, do it, but if attendance is mandatory be sure to keep it as short as possible. An alternative to meetings is sending mass emails to employees which inform them of what they need to know. That way the emails can be read at the employee’s convenience, without them having to interrupt their work.
Set Your Own Deadlines
One technique for effective time & labor management is creating a schedule for your tasks and setting personal deadlines. When a task is merely placed on a list, it’s less likely to be finished if there is no deadline associated with it. It is much better to calendar your tasks, in the same manner you would do for meetings, so that you can set plans which are realistic.
Studies indicate that self-imposed deadlines are effective because they give you the ability to clarify your thinking and design a plan of action. When you know what you need to do, you will sit down at your desk and do it, as opposed to having to deal with analysis paralysis as a result of having a bunch of tasks to perform.
When you’re faced with a situation where you have multiple tasks to perform, it may be tempting to try to do multiple things at once. But this is a terrible form of time & labor management, as your level of productivity can fall by as much as forty percent. A much better strategy is to split up your time into small parts and then designate each part to a single task. For instance, if you’re working on a project which will require 4 hours to complete, you can designate two 90 minute sessions for its completion. When tasks are divided into parts, there is a much higher chance of completing them successfully.
It’s also important to prioritize your tasks, separating the urgent, time sensitive tasks from those that are not as urgent. Knowing how to manage your time and labor is the key to maximizing your productivity.