Time is money in business, so one of the best tools you can learn is how to manage this more effectively, as you progress in your career, to get everything done and still have some days to spare.
There is no achieving your goals without putting the time in. Learning how to do it without neglecting other important parts of your life is going to be key in getting you where you want to be with your sanity intact.
For the most successful people in the world, time is everything, and there is a lot of mythology around how they manage to balance time as they progress in their career paths. You’ve probably heard of the no-hassle dress code of Steve Jobs turtlenecks to the Rock’s 4 am wake up time.
The trick is finding out what works for each individual and sticking to it, what is good for one may not fit the other needs, so mix and match to your own agenda so you can take your career where you want it to be and still have a life.
Make your life goals work for your career
To get to the top, you also have to be at the top of your priorities list; this doesn’t mean avoiding responsibilities; it simply means making them fit into your schedule and life.
Someone looking to get ahead of the pack faster in the nursing industry, for example, would be making a great choice by applying for online schools in which no GRE is required for an executive nurse leader program. Make a career decision that works for your life as you advance professionally, letting you continue work and grow your resume at the same time.
Find a strategy that turns errands into time for learning and other interests; once you focus and figure out what you need, you will find pockets of time in many places in your routine.
Organize for productivity
This is a serious business for those that want to learn how to manage their time. An unplanned workday leads to wasted hours, tasks getting overlooked, and spending too much time on the wrong things.
There are plenty of reasons why we forget, which is why organizing will become your best friend as you advance in your profession. Before you get started, you might want to figure out what style of organizing works better for you and your job.
Maybe you are an old school pen and calendar type of person, or you prefer an app to help you, maybe there is a programmed office calendar you need to use, whatever it is make sure it’s something you can access at work and after to check-in.
This habit could take a while to develop properly, but once it does, you will see how much of a time saver it can be, preventing you from forgetting and even doing something twice.
Here’s everything you should consider adding to your organization:
- Personal time (shower, dress, family friends, appointments)
- Lunches and breaks
- Work projects
- Individual task (brainstorming, plannings, etc.)
- Work team activities
It may seem like a lot, but once it’s written down, you will begin to see where there is time to take advantage of and begin to figure out how to do so.
Use time limits in the office
Setting a limit of time for each task can be a little daunting at first, but it helps bring you more focus on what you have to accomplish and get it done faster.
This means you won’t take the long route to do anything; it also means more time to do other tasks or enjoy yourself. Time limits can prevent others from taking advantage of your help or wasting your day, no more dragging meetings along, or piling up extra tasks on your schedule.
Using this tip can allow you to see clearly what you might want to add to not just to your day but also your long term career goals, meaning you might be more encouraged to take a course or work on a new project; remember it’s all about what works for you.
Be early, be mindful
Once you have that complete calendar filled out, you can start setting up a routine for handling your tasks. Setting reminders to start a new task on time could mean you will never be late to a meeting again, for example, and this in itself can be life-changing as you move up the career ladder.
Beginning early will keep you one step ahead of your agenda, as well as instill an awareness of the time spent, what’s left in the day, and your boss will regard you as timely and responsible.
Something else that can help is to have the time visible in your office, whether a wall clock or your computer screen, to keep the hours present in your head.
Say no at the right time
Not a lot of people want to hear a no, but to learn how to manage your time as you progress in your career you have to be able to let the word out often. The ‘no’ is not only good for your time organization, but it can even be good for your health; sometimes saying ‘no’ can reduce stress levels and impact wellbeing.
What this does for you and your goals is it allows you to focus on what needs attention, success only works if you put your goal in the driving seat. Now, this doesn’t mean stop helping others; however, it is better to do it when you can and your own terms.
Create distraction-free zones
Get the most out of the time slots you have appointed to work, learning, family, friends, and working out by eliminating distractions. As you move along, it might be harder to find time, but making your schedule a fit for you is going to help your career advance even more.
This is a hard task in a world built to distract people, but it is possible. Here are a few tips for creating the right environment for better time management:
- Separate work from family, exercise and entertainment; different environments will provoke different responses
- Silence your phone
- Let people know you are busy to avoid interruptions
- Be flexible with yourself, don’t waste time forcing focus; instead take a walk and come back to it
Do what works for your goals and make it stick!