Time management is one of the most vital skills that you can learn. Effective time managers manage stress, meet deadlines, and understand priorities. Taking the time to hone your time management skills helps you develop yourself professionally and personally. The easiest way to take back control of your time is to take a few moments to identify the skills that work best for you.
Use Technology Wisely
Using technology strategically is one of the best ways to improve efficiency. There are many resources that you can use. Online calendars and spreadsheets are good resources. Other tools include an electronic Trial Master File. An eTMF for emerging biotech can help pharmaceutical developers maintain their clinical trial records and meet FDA compliance requirements. Look for other applications that can help you manage your workload.
Keep Tools Accessible
Your time management tools are only effective if you use them. While a dry-erase calendar keeps you focused in the office, that information remains in your office when you are not. Take the time to transfer data from your wall calendar to your day planner or online calendar. While writing down your appointments twice is time-consuming, you avoid scheduling conflicting appointments.
Prepare for the Week
At the beginning of the week, review your calendar. Knowing about upcoming appointments, due dates, or personal activities helps you prepare for them. This simple step lowers your stress level. In addition, you see if there are conflicting appointments. You can also delegate tasks in the event of an emergency.
There are two thoughts regarding completing time-consuming tasks. Some suggest working on them first so they are off your to-do list. Others suggest doing those tasks when you are most alert. If you are not a morning person, you likely need to complete a few small tasks first thing in the morning to gather momentum for the larger jobs. Use whichever method works best for you, but remember to break down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable jobs.
Use an Accountability Partner
Accountability partners, or “body doubles,” help you stay on task. Find a person that can be with you in your workspace. They can serve as a silent motivator to help keep you on track. Some accountability partners can work with you on the project, or they can be working on another project. You can even meet with an accountability partner using video conferencing.
One of the most important words you need in your time management vocabulary is “No.” By maintaining control of your responsibilities, you do not take on more projects than you can handle. While refusing responsibilities at work can be challenging, you can establish expectations. Some tips to help with this include:
- Decide if you have the time to add the task to your schedule
- Start with the word “No,” and then give the reasoning behind your denial
- Don’t apologize for being unable to take on the responsibility
- Maintain eye contact and consistent body language
Buy a Clock
You can use a clock in a variety of ways. Avoid using your cell phone clock, as the phone can be distracting. Invest in a small, easy-to-read desk clock and place it where you can see it. You can use your computer’s features to help you focus.
- Race a timer to get a project completed before the time ends
- Set a timer to work on a challenging task and reward yourself when it is complete
- Schedule meetings with yourself to work on projects
- Accurately measure how long it takes to complete a task so you can accurately schedule
Plan Time for Yourself
You are your own greatest commodity. Take care of yourself physically and mentally to give your best performance. Get away from your office during lunch. Take a walk. Peruse social media. Practice meditation. Enjoy an ice cream. Find the things that make you smile and build those into your daily schedule. Don’t forget to schedule a physical with your primary care doctor.
Once you have successfully implemented one of these skills in your routine, stay conscious of it. Some skills can take several months to become ingrained habits. When you focus on these skills as a long-term solution, you will become a master of your time.