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Time’s A-Wastin’: Improve Your Time Management at the Office

time management

Time’s A-Wastin’: Improve Your Time Management at the Office

Pretty much everyone realizes by now that the digital age has sped up pretty much everything we do. And yet, it takes longer than ever to do things we never did before. This is especially true at the office, where time management tips did not have to include warnings about surfing the internet, checking personal email or sending instant messages. Because . . . none of that stuff was possibly 30 years ago.

time management

Here are ways to improve your time management at the office

Unplug. Of course this is the first one. And how. Just imagine sitting at your desk, quietly typing on your computer, reading documents, reviewing spreadsheets. And nothing else. No watch that vibrates when you get a text. No ping when email arrives. No personal call on your cell phone.

The amount of time lost with simple distraction – just stopping to check and confirm that the email is not important, even if you don’t read it – wastes as incredible amount of time. It’s only a few seconds here, and a few there, right? Well, apparently most Americans touch their cell phone over 2600 times a day. Yeah, we couldn’t believe it either.

Keep it clean. A disorganized workspace is almost always a sign of a distracted brain. It takes longer to find things, it’s easier to get sidetracked, and worst of all, it doesn’t replace all the electronic files and emails you have on top of the physical items. (And really, do you think the person with the paper avalanche has an empty inbox?) You need to start with managing your desk if you want to improve your time management.

Be human. Not to go on about technology – because really, it’s great – but more and more people are relying on email instead of footsteps. It will always take longer to work out anything remotely complicated by email versus a quick conversation.

But people email colleagues that are embarrassingly close, in open plan offices, just because they can. That back and forth is a definite time waster. If you’re typing an email and your elbow bumps the recipient, just stop. Please.

Own it. Maybe one of the most important time management tips is to think about how you personally can be more efficient. While some studies say open plan offices encourage more focus, some of us really do need to go find a quiet space where they can’t overhear last night’s Game of Thrones breakdown. Others might realize they really aren’t morning people – do simpler tasks first, until that first (ok, second) coffee kicks in. Know thyself, and save thyself…time.

Time management is more important than ever

The information age isn’t slowing down anytime soon. And oddly, as it speeds up, we seem to be taking longer to get things done. That’s not true of course – email vs fax, online vs the mall, dial-up vs broadband – we can use new technology to our advantage. But only if our fancy ringing, buzzing, flashing new watches, still help us keep track of the time.