This is the time of the year when many of us are taking some well-deserved time away from the office to enjoy some rest and relaxation. I have always believed that maximizing your time when you are in the office is the key to fully enjoying your time away from the office.
In this installment of Miss Office Manners, I offer some of my favorite time management pointers to help you make the most out of your time in the office so that you can enjoy your time out of the office. Happy reading!
- Start early. Starting early allows you to take full advantage of the day. Most highly successful people get an early jump on the day. Not only does this give you plenty of time to organize and plan your day, but those early workday hours are so peaceful and calm. I find myself most productive in the early morning hours and I know I am not the only one. The early bird really does catch the worm!
- Plan your day. An organized person with a plan is ready to tackle the day. I recommend taking 5 or 10 minutes at the end of each work day to draw out a plan for the next day so you don’t start the day trying to recollect all of your tasks and deadlines. It will already be mapped out for you from the start. List your priorities and any meetings or appointments and plan what you are doing when.
- Stop procrastinating. This is so important. I hate to sound like a certain sneaker company, but sometimes you need to just do it! Look, I get it. We all have certain tasks that we want to put off, but we feel better when we can check them off our list. Just do it and get it over with so you can move onto a task you might enjoy more. If you are still feeling overwhelmed, break the task up into small chunks and get started. Don’t forget to reward yourself when the task is complete.
- Set time limits. On your plan for the day, include how much time you expect each task will take you. If you don’t finish, stop when the allotted time ends and come back to it later. Sometimes, moving onto another task and then coming back later is all you need to give a fresh perspective and help you to get the task over the finish line.
- Minimize distractions. When you need focused time, let your colleagues know. I set a notification on my office’s instant messaging app that I am doing “heads down work.” This sends a signal to my coworkers that they shouldn’t message me unless absolutely necessary. Only check emails every hour or so, not as they come in. Also - and this is a big one - put the cell phone down! If you telework, establish and communicate your boundaries with family members or roommates. The more efficiently you work during work hours, the more you will be able to enjoy your time outside of work.
I hope you have found this week’s tips both helpful and enjoyable. Here’s wishing everyone a productive and healthy work environment. Be safe and well, everyone!