I have really struggled with my time management skills in the past especially when i have multiple things to be taken care. Being a Senior member in the team, Mostly i will be involved in several projects and there were situations where people reach out to me at the same time and i simply ignore the distractions for some time and finish what i have so far and once i am done, take the next one. Later i have realized that this technique doesn’t works at all and it ended up raising complaints that we are not getting support at the prompt time. So if you want to manage your time properly, you will have to take care of lot of things.
In this post, i would like to explain the techniques that i have used to manage my time effectively.
Organize your tasks
I was lazy during my carrer teenage . When i say lazy :D, yeah literally meant that i was too lazy. I am that kind of a guy who skip meals, don’t have any physical activities, work too late and goes to sleep very late and ended up waking up too late too. I am not at all organized, i nearly don’t have any plan for the day. I used to pick up things as it comes. This technique worked for a quite sometime, but when i started growing in my career the things changed, responsibilities increased and i have realized that i have to be more organized. When i say organized, you need to start with your daily routines. I have started looking at my self, i have realized what a transformation that i had from my college days to 3–4 years of life as a software developer. The first step i took was to talk to one of my senior colleague who is very good at his organizational skills and he told me exactly the same, the changes should start from yourself. I have brought some really good changes in my habit. I have started looking at my diet first. Instead of 3 meals a day, i started taking 5 shorts meals a day, i have started doing exercise and finally i used to go to sleep early and i started waking up early too.
The changes which i brought in my daily routine helped me a lot to organize my things at work. I have started looking at my tasks and i used to plan things on a per day basis.
Lets suppose if you have ’n’ number of tasks for the day, you might not be able to finish all of them in a day. Hence its really important to define the priority and organize your tasks accordingly. Sometimes the task itself is good enough to set the priority and sometimes you might need to reach out to the assigner to define its priority. I have come across situations where i worked under 3 managers and all of them come up with some high priority tasks at the same time. So how do you handle such situations ?
For all the task assigners, their task will be of most priority. So even talking to them will not help in such case. This is where it has to be a little tricky, you will have to question more about the task and at the end you will realize how urgent that task is ? Having a properly prioritized list of tasks in hand even before you start the day could help you to be focused and more productive. Last but not the least always expect some adhoc tasks, so its better to allocate some time for such things too.
Communication is the key to effective time management. It is really important because it helps to build trust within people and also it helps people understand your plans and goals. Even-though you are good at organizing and prioritising things, unless and until you effectively communicate , it will end up in confusion and conflicts. One habit which i used to have is whenever somebody reaches out to me for something, i will make sure to acknowledge them as soon as possible. It doesn’t means that you have to finish the task to send them a reply. A friendly email saying that i have received your query and its in my to-do list will definitely be an impact.
I have situations where i send email to people and didn’t hear back till couple of days and on follow-up they say they are working on. Do you think such kind of an act will create a good impression ? Definitely not. So be a proactive communicator always.
In addition to the above mentioned key aspects, i would emphasize to follow the below mantras for a successful professional life.
- Make sure you are having a healthy lifestyle
- Always find some time for refreshment
- Be nice to everyone. Be a Leader not a Boss
- Make sure you have good understanding on whatever you are working on
- Always find time to read and learn new things
- Delegate things whenever it needed
- Learn to Appreciate rather than Blaming