5 Time Management Tips You Can Actually Use

When Daylight Saving Time begins, you may lose only one hour. But that lost hour can amount to a drop in productivity and uncompleted projects come Monday, when you return to work. Many administrative professionals and executive assistants are responsible for scheduling meetings, managing executive calendars, making appointments and phone calls, and assisting with presentations and research. All of these tasks require careful adherence to the clock, and some effective time management tips, to successfully complete.

Oh, and let's not forget that, in addition to managing the schedules of others, you also have to manage your own workday. Staying organized is essential so that constant interruptions don’t prevent you from finishing critical tasks.

Here are a several useful time management tips that can help you recover from losing an hour — and prevent you from losing more.

Limit your multitasking

We all know how tempting it is to respond to a few quick emails while on a conference call. But missing important information could limit your ability to complete the required tasks and ultimately hinder your performance. Rather than trying to juggle to two things at once, a better approach is to schedule periods throughout the day when you can focus on managing your messages. Take notes while on calls so you stay present and capture the necessary information.

Learn how to take charge of your inbox and more effectively manage your email.

Keep a record of your activities

Make note of your work habits over the course of the week and track how and when you get things done. You may notice that some duties are best suited to a certain time of day or week, or that you can batch tasks together and tackle them all at once. This record can help you plan your schedule more effectively and shed light on your most productive periods. For example, you may learn that you're not as much of a morning person as you had thought. It's easier for you to handle routine items first thing in the morning because they require less concentration. If that's the case, save more complex tasks for the afternoon, after you've hit your stride for the day.

Choose organizational tools that work for you

Many lists of time management tips will recommend a certain tool to help plan your day. When it comes to managing your calendar, there's everything from adding entries in Outlook to writing in a datebook or desktop calendar. For taking notes and creating to-do lists, there's OneNote and Evernote. All of these tools are perfectly valid options to consider. But be sure to choose the one that is easiest and most useful for you. You'll likely find your productivity slips if you force yourself to use a method of time management that simply doesn't work for you. You may have to test several systems before settling on the best one. Once you do, stay consistent.

Get six Outlook Calendar tips and tricks you can use to simplify your workday.

Plan your day in advance

Setting aside time at the end of the day to plan for the next one may sound obvious. But it's one of the best time management tips out there. Few things can help you stay on track better than planning ahead. Give yourself 10 to 15 minutes before you leave to assess what you accomplished and what needs to be completed tomorrow. Prioritize tomorrow’s tasks so you know what tackle first. Add a note to your calendar as set a pop-up reminder to appear when you arrive the next morning so you can get started right away.

Help others

Everyone goes through periods when they’re overwhelmed at work. And in those situations, it feels like no amount of time management tips will help you get your head above water again. Build rapport and gain allies at work so you can turn to others when your workload shifts into overdrive. The best way to do so? Volunteer to assist overworked, frazzled coworkers whenever you have some space in your schedule. Chances are someone needs help. By lending a hand when you can, you’re likely to be offered one in return the next time you’re swamped.

Adhering to these time management tips takes work and discipline. But your efforts will pay off in terms of productivity and organization. Good luck!

Read OfficeTeam's quick guide to time management for even more tips you can use to be more productive.

Tags: Productivity