Posted on 2nd August 2018 by Katrina Docherty
Improving time management is something that most of us feel like we struggle with every day. We might start the morning determinedly, thinking about how to be more productive and not relapse into old habits and frustration. But with a more holistic approach to health, environment and looking at tasks systematically you can see significant improvements in your time management at work.
1. Healthy body healthy mind
Worker’s health has a significant impact on their productivity on a day to day basis and inevitably affects how many sick days are taken. Sick days are believed to cost the Australian economy $30 billion per year. If you are not at work you can’t be productive so reducing the days you are off is an important start.
The ACT government’s studies have shown that employees participating in health and wellbeing programs at work showed improved concentration and productivity in the workplace.
2. Eat well, sleep well
Your body is not a machine and there are many psychological factors that affect your productivity, but it is important to look after your physical needs each day. Starting your day after a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast will go a long way to improving your effectiveness. Your brain needs to be at full capacity to keep you at your productive best, but a tired brain is a slow brain. Sugary food and drinks and heavy lunches will leave you feeling lethargic and will slow you down throughout the day.
3. Focus on a single task at a time
Improving time management skills starts with looking at how effectively each task can be accomplished. Often dividing larger projects into manageable tasks is more efficient rather than trying to keep too many plates spinning at once. Without clear goals and targets, it is easy to lose focus detrimentally impacting your ability to think clearly and act quickly.
4. A product of our environment
A noisy office full of distractions will lead to high-stress levels at work and negatively affect your performance. Working in spaces that are designed as quiet zones where office employees can work free from disruptions and interruptions can really boost your output.
5. Break up your day
Studies have shown that keeping your mind fresh and your energy levels high goes a long way to boosting your output at work. Go for a walk, have a refreshing drink, get some natural light or simply change your environment. See it as time invested in a clearer and more energised mind.
6. Flexibility works both ways
The days of the rigid 9-5 are long gone with flexi-time and working from home being actively encouraged by forward-thinking companies. Avoiding the daily commute, rush hour and being able to balance your personal life with your work gives you a renewed focus when you are at work.
7. Respect your rest
Research conducted by The Australia Institute and beyondblue has highlighted the strong correlation between work-related stress and not taking holiday from work. Workers who do not take all their annual leave were noticeably more likely to have negative feelings about work, feel stressed about work and be anxious, resulting in a worse performance at work, the study also found.
8. Evaluate your performance
Don’t stress about your output or try to manage every minute or that time will ultimately be counterproductive. Allocate time to experiment with new working practices and find out what suits you. There are always areas of our time management to improve on, it is an ongoing process that needs re-evaluating. If a new approach brings better results then it is the right approach. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.