Three simple and effective time management techniques

This article will share three very simple and effective time management techniques that you should master to improve productivity at work and reduce stress!

Do you fee stressful at work due to too many tasks and too little time?

It is a norm in today world that lots of us work under high pressure. We always face a tight deadline with too many tasks to complete. So, an effective time management techniques is important to help us in reducing stress and improving productivity!

1. Assessing and prioritizing task

First , let us look at Eisenhower Matrix for assessing and prioritizing tasks.

Allocate your tasks into these 4 quadrant!

1. Urgent and important

2. Important but not urgent

3. Urgent but not important

4. Neither urgent nor important

Let us use an example to illustrate this.

Imagine you receive a phone call from your boss at 7am, ask you to prepare a report and pass to him at 10am. And at the same time, you already have another 1 monthly report pending, a meeting at 3pm, 3 emails pending for your reply and an important phone call to make.

So, if put the above scenarios in example, it can be the urgent report under Quadrant 1. It is a do or die case. The monthly report and the phone call can be in Quadrant 2. The meeting can be in Quadrant 3. You may delegate to your junior staff. Or you may just ask your fellow colleague who is also invited to the meeting share the decision/knowledge with you. Maybe 2 emails are in Quadrant 2 and one email you can completely drop (eg survey email on something).

What might come as a surprise to you, is the fact that Quadrant two, is the area which you will focus most of your time. Not everyday is going to a have a Quadrant one moment. Quadrant two is where you can plan ahead (if it is routine task) and help you to achieve your goals or dreams.

Quadrant three might be your favorite. This is where you delegate tasks to others. The tasks may have some importance, but they don’t have the same weight as Quadrant two. In business, you might have a trusted assistant that can wade through your emails and decide which ones are necessary for you, while answering or deleting the others. Or maybe you have fellow colleagues who can help in some way…..just like our example of the meeting. Delegating in your personal life, usually means getting a significant other or children to do tasks that pull you away from Quadrant two. These could be household chores for example. In some cases, you might have a personal assistant that can do your errands for you.

Last Quadrant is the deleting aspect. You have tasks in here that can be removed permanently.

Now that you have a complete understanding of the Eisenhower Matrix, take action, and set it up today.

2. Learn to say "No"

Let us face it. You can’t please everyone. So, learn to say "No" when it is necessary. This might come as a shocker to you. It’s highly likely that you believe having to tell someone, “No,” is going to be very stressful. In fact, research shows, that the harder you find it to say no, the more stress you incur. The act of not saying no enough, can invoke a triple threat to your health. It can lead to depression, stress and even burnout in the workplace. When your brain has to constantly search for ways to get around saying no to a proposal, it releases stress chemicals.

When you determine that you need/want to say no to a request, it actually means that you have something of greater value in your mind. At work, a co-worker might ask you to assist in preparing a presentation for the following week. Many people want to be “people pleaser.” While having everyone love you because you always say yes, it can cause stress in your life. You might find it hard to say "No", and if that is the case, you just need to practice. Remember this: "Practice make perfect". Once you learn to say "No", you may find a great relief in your work life and you manage to control and plan your work more efficiently.

3. Avoid distraction

No matter you are home base worker or you work at office, please avoid distraction as much as possible especially when you are working on the important task.

Everyday, please set aside at least 2 hour as focus time to work on the most important or urgent task. Make a habit to do the followings to avoid distraction as much as possible during these 2 hours.

1. Stop checking emails : Don’t worry. If people send email to you, they should expect a longer respond time, right?

2. Close your browser. (Don’t try to swipe FB or chat with friends during this time)

3. Barter with your kids (if your work at home).

Tell your child to let you work for 2 hours straight and if that happens, you will do their favorite activity in the evening, eg play with them for 1 hour.

Apart from all these, you may also choose to mute your phone message for 2 hours or wear a noise reduction headphone. Just to ensure you can fully focus on your work for these 2 hours.