Five time-management tips

Time Management Tips

Time for a change? Five time-management tips that could shorten your work week 

I wish I had more time. There are never enough hours in the day. How am I going to get everything done? Sound familiar? We’ve all shared these thoughts at some point, and they were top of mind as our team embarked on the pilot of a four-day work week. 

How could we condense an already busy five-day, 40-hour week into a four-day, 32-hour week? 

We did lots of research, underwent some great skills development training and discovered tools and strategies to help us become more focused and efficient with our time. The result? We’re almost at the end of our pilot and working smarter not harder. We’re also enjoying the benefits of a four-day week: better work life balance, better mental health and increased productivity. 

Here are five time-saving strategies that could help you shorten your week: 

1. Block time in your calendar to complete specific tasks 

Schedule tasks from your to do list in your calendar as if you were scheduling a meeting. This will help create a realistic action plan for the day, allowing you to be strategic about what time of day you work on things (when do you have the most energy?) and ensure there is enough time to get them done.    

2. Start with the hardest/unknown task first 

Harder tasks or tasks that you perceive as being complicated can get pushed to the bottom of the list, causing prolonged and often unnecessary stress. Tackle these tasks head on. Break them up and schedule them into manageable chunks if needed. Often, once you get started, they’re not as hard as you thought. 

3. Make sure every meeting has a clear agenda  

No agenda? No meeting. Set an agenda before you send your meeting invite to help you understand who is required to attend, what you want to achieve and how much time you really need. Don’t automatically default to 30 or 60 minutes. If you are not the host, don’t be afraid to ask if you can limit your attendance to parts that are relevant to you. 

4. Don’t try to multitask 

Multiple studies have found that multitasking is a myth. In reality, your brain is switching between tasks and taking time to refocus, slowing you down in ways you may not realize. Starting multiple tasks without finishing any can also feel overwhelming. Finish a task before starting a new one and you’ll be more efficient and feel more productive.  

5. Use the Pomodoro Technique to improve focus and concentration  

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is get started, especially when a task seems overwhelming. Set a timer and work hard/focused for 25 minutes and then take a five-minute break. The Pomodoro technique recommends doing this four times and then taking a longer break but you can adjust to suit your working style.