4 Tips to Improve Your Time Management Skills
Account Managers generally spend a lot of time in reactive mode. We are always prepared to “jump” when our clients tell us to. So, how do we stay on top of our day-to-day tasks and manage the urgent requests at the same time? My answer is by having good time management skills. Below are a few time management tips to help improve your ability to function more effectively throughout your work day.
Tip 1: Prioritize Wisely
I think it’s fairly obvious to get your most urgent tasks done first, but what I also tend to do when prioritizing my tasks is ask myself “is someone else waiting on me to finish this, so that they can do their job?” I tackle the things I know I have to get done today, but of those I make sure to complete the ones that are holding others up first. That way, I can pass the baton to those who are waiting on me, while I move on to my next task.
Tip 2: Make a List
Once you prioritize your tasks, write them down! I am a major “to-do” list person. If it’s not on my “to-do” list, or if it’s not in my inbox (which I consider my second “to-do” list, “inbox zero” = goals), then it’s not going to get done. Once I complete my list for one work day, I then start writing down a new list of tasks that I know I have to tackle the next work day.
If you’re not a morning person like me, (insert giggles from my co-workers here) writing down your tasks before you leave the office each day will help you mentally prepare yourself for the next day so that you can sit down in the morning and jump right into your first task rather than having to take time to think about what you need to do first.
Tip 3: Stop Procrastinating
It’s amazing how much time you can waste by picking up a task and looking at it or starting it, and then putting it down and coming back to it over and over. Just do it now!
I read an article that said people procrastinate because they are trying to avoid the bad mood that the task they’re about to do will put them in. In my opinion, nothing makes me happier than being able to get my red sharpie out and cross that task off of my “to-do” list when I’m done. Apparently, according to the same article, that has something to do with my ability to “think about my future self’s happiness” as opposed to my present self’s comfort.
I think the key to getting over procrastination is to just start. You don’t have to be in a hurry to finish, it doesn’t have to be perfect, but just start. You’ll usually figure out that the task wasn’t as difficult as you were making it out to be. So just think of it as doing your “future self” a favor and stop procrastinating.
Tip 4: Eliminate Distractions
Speaking of procrastinating…get off of social media! It takes willpower but I promise you, whatever meme, personal rant, dog pic etc. someone is posting will still be there when you get off of work. You’ll work so much faster, and more efficiently,if you aren’t constantly being interrupted. So get off of Facebook, put your phone down, and get back to work!
I hope these tips help you as much as they have helped me over the years. The more proactive you are in organizing the factors that are under your control, the better and less stressed you will be when it comes time to be reactive. Do you have any other tips on how to better manage time during your work day? I would love to hear them in the comments below.