Time Management Tips for Busy Professionals

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Avoiding the Pitfalls of Email, Text and Chats

         Innovations in the internet age have made it possible for people to communicate faster and more consistently than ever before, and from anywhere in the world.  Communication tools like email and text messaging have had huge impacts on our level of speed and efficiency.  We have been faced, also, with the growing expectations for the timeliness of our communication efforts in the workplace. 

          And these communication options, along with social media and chat programs can actually be one of the biggest sources of distraction and inefficiency in our lives.  Here are a few strategies anyone can use to better optimize their time management throughout the day.

Do A Time Audit

          When optimizing your time management, the best first step is to figure out where your time is going right now. As we know there are only 24 hours in a day- it’s up to us to choose how to use them.  A 2018 Forbes article discusses the importance of a time audit, and points out some popular time monitoring software like RescueTime, Toggl, and even your phone’s calendar. 

        Sometimes our routines become so ingrained we don’t even realize how much time we waste!  From identifying inefficient “half work” sessions, to acknowledging our overemphasis on unimportant tasks over the important ones, a time audit forces you to this critically about your current choices on time management.  In doing so, you will find yourself in an informed position to respond accordingly. 

Make A Plan, and Don’t Forget the Details!

         Once you have identified the areas for attention, it’s time for a plan.  Some helpful strategies for developing an effective and detailed are as follows:

  • Keep your goals/plan written somewhere that you can regularly see it 
  • Create a plan of action for the next day either the night before or first thing in the morning to supplement your long-term goals
  • Create all of your plans as SMART goals to easily see your progress and give yourself detailed deadlines
  • Don’t let your new plan get stale – review and revise your time management plan as often as necessary

And Don’t Forget To Rethink Email – And Chat

            Email was originally designed for non-urgent matters that needed to be communicated but not necessarily responded to right away. Chat came along and offered even faster response expectations.  Indeed, many of us check our emails and chats every minute!  The Harvard Business Review expressed the issue with this quite eloquently back in 2014, likening someone who is always checking their emails and responding to them immediately to someone who drives to the store every time they are low on a single item.  That sounds highly inefficient — and the HBR article attests that the constantly checking email (and chat) is just as crippling to one’s time management. 

            By constantly checking and responding to emails and chat, we are unable to engage in what author Cal Newport refers to as “Deep Work.”  This includes high-level brainstorming for ideas, writing an article or an essay, putting together important documents like a new business proposal or a final presentation, and a variety of other tasks that require uninterrupted focus to be done properly.  Email is one of the most prevalent killers of our “Deep Work” environments and mindsets.  By choosing to check your email once (maybe twice) a day, many of us can cut out one of the post prevalent and chronic time, focus, and energy drainers in our lives.

Gravatate Can Help!

             Gravatate seamlessly integrates your business conversations so you can manage your communication needs around your own schedule.  Transition from email and cluttered texting so you can get more done. Click here to learn about gravatate’s superior business communication platform.

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