Time management skills: 8 Time management rules

The end of the year is almost in sight; time for a look back at the past few months. Have you spent all your time optimally? Are there things that could be done better? Perhaps it is good to dwell on this. The following 8 rules will help you plan your time effectively.

8 time management skills

Set the tone of your working day

An excellent start to the day is often half the battle. Start your working day well. This way, you feel comfortable right away, your productivity remains high during the day, and you end up feeling satisfied. Of course, you decide where you start.

Make a realistic to-do list. Do you have to do something that you look up to or find difficult? Complete this task first; then you’ve had that too. It may also be that you prefer to start with easy tasks.

Not sure what works for you effectively? Experiment with this and alternate it. This way, you will eventually find out what you like and what works efficiently.

Turn off (email) notifications

Do you get easily distracted? And are you inclined to look directly at, for example, an incoming mail from which you receive a notification? Then turn off these notifications. That way, you won’t be tempted to do something else anyway because before you know it, your concentration is gone.

Tip: Plan two or three fixed moments during the day too, for example, check your email, read news articles, or do other things that you would otherwise receive a notification about.

Two-minute rule

The philosophy behind the 2-minute rule is: If you can do something within 2 minutes, you should do it right away. It often takes more time to plan this activity. So what kind of tasks are we talking about? For example, short questions in an email can be answered immediately, or call your colleague to coordinate something quickly.

In the beginning, it can be difficult to estimate whether a task falls within this 2-minute rule. Sometimes estimating can even take time, and this rule no longer applies.

You should immediately feel whether it can be done within 2 minutes. Not sure? Then try it out with a stopwatch. This way, you immediately train your feelings and know whether this task falls within the time limit. Good to know for next time too.

Learn to say no

Are you always ready for colleagues? And do you always say yes? Then try to say no once. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, and you don’t have time for it at that moment.

Set your limits and dare to indicate this. Saying no is liberating. What you can do is come up with an alternative. This way, you can still be helpful.

Tip: Plan different times when you don’t want to be disturbed. Then let your colleagues know as well. That way, you don’t have to say no when they need you.

Schedule interrupt moments

To return to the above tip, you can, of course, also do the opposite: schedule moments when you can be ‘interrupted.’ This way, you can agree with your colleagues when you can and can disturb each other.

For example, a meeting, question round, or a short brainstorming session at the start of the day. Every scheduled moment saves you other interruptions during your working day. This way, you consciously take the time to mean something to each other.

Take enough breaks

Just working, working, and working is, of course, not good. Take a break now and then: get a cup of coffee, go for a walk, or at least leave your workplace for a while. It is good to take sufficient breaks, especially if you work in front of a screen all the time.

In fact, with any work, it’s good to stop for a while. In such a break, you recharge yourself and then continue with fresh courage. For a short break, do not hold for more than 10 minutes. Otherwise, it will be harder for you to get started if you are out for longer.

Stop when things are going well

Can’t stop working and keep going? Then stop when you’re having fun. At some point, your (creative) energy will run out. So don’t force yourself to continue because things are going well.

A consequence of going on too long is making mistakes. This does not always lead to more productivity. Of course, stopping is difficult and especially if you have a lot to do. Still, you should see it as a valuable reminder of your working day. And if it went well next time, you’ll feel more like picking up the thread.

End the good day

If you have to start the working day well, then it is natural to end the day well. Make a closing routine for yourself: for example, put on relaxing music, look at tomorrow’s schedule and what you can do for that. A perfect ending is emptying your workplace. That way, you can retake it the next day.

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