Time management is defined as the art behind planning the amount of time spent on specific activities - specifically so as to be able to boost efficiency or productivity. In a support role, you’re often the eyes, ears and knowledge centre so it’s critical that you possess acute organisational skills in order to be effective.
Here are some of our tips to optimise your time and minimise burn-out.
1. Prepare your to-do list for tomorrow before you go home
There’s no better time to remember all the things left to be completed than at the end of the day. When there are things left on your list to do, just pop them on the top of the list for the following day so you’re not left scratching your head the next morning.
This is an acquired skill. Most of us will opt for the easier and less daunting tasks first, leaving the trickier ones till later. This is a big mistake, as you almost always assume the bigger tasks will take less time than they actually do, and then you run the risk of massively over-running. If you struggle with prioritising, try the priority matrix, or Eisenhower matrix. This helps us to prioritise by urgency and importance (see below).
Try drawing out this matrix and plotting your to-do list on it. The top left quadrant is reserved for tasks that are both urgent and important. The top right should be left for tasks that can be scheduled. The bottom left can be scheduled till much later, or delegated. The fourth bottom right quadrant can just be left because what’s neither urgent nor important doesn’t deserve your attention on a busy day!
If you’re in a position to, delegate. For many, this is a tricky skill - especially if you like to be in control. But on a busy day it doesn’t matter how great you are at your job, there’s no way you’re going to be able to get through everything in the time you have. Don’t take on more than you can realistically handle. Hand it over to a competent and reliable team member that you can rely on. By sharing the load, you’ll become more productive and less anxious.
4. Use your downtime where you can
By all means, don’t work during the time when you’re supposed to be relaxing. However we all have dead time which could potentially be used more productively. The daily commute is one: for many of us, that’s two hours a day. If it makes your life easier to plan your to-do list and get on top of emails during that time, do it.
5. Reward yourself
When you achieve a milestone in a project, celebrate the fact. It doesn’t matter if it’s a walk around the block to refresh your head or a chocolate bar. Rewarding yourself just means that you’ll feel that much better about starting the next task.