10 steps to using your time effectively

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Productivity expert Nikki Heald outlines her top 10 tips for time management

Time management might sound trivial but your productivity is directly related to your bottom line, and it's something you can easily change. Productivity expert Nicki Herald has outlined her Top 10 time management tips

 1. Take time to plan your day either first thing in the morning or in the afternoon before you leave work.

 2. Create a to-do list or a system that you can refer to. Invest planning time to save working time.

 3. Diarise and allocate specific times to attend to certain tasks. Be sure to set time limits and stick to them. Utilise your most productive time.

 4. Consider the 4 D’s of time management:
•Do it – Only if it takes less than two minutes to complete
•Delegate it – Many low-payoff tasks can be delegated. Ensure the person you delegate to has the required competency or skills
•Dump it – Trivial or meaningless information or emails that are not required
•Diarise – Non-urgent tasks can be diarised to be done in the future
      Keep track of time spent on low-payoff and high-payoff activities. Try to keep a schedule for the week.

 5. Batch or ‘chunk’ similar work, such as processing or filing. This ensures you are in the headspace of doing repetitive work, and it promotes efficiency.

 6. Avoid the urge to multitask. Research has demonstrated that multitasking slows you down and increases the likelihood of error.

 7. Allocate contingency or buffer time in between tasks. This will allow for unexpected interruptions and distractions.

 8. Plan for periods of relaxation, and try not to be a workaholic. Ensure you take your lunch break – resting improves focus and attention.

 9. Don’t always be a ‘yes’ person. Saying yes to others will certainly increase your popularity; however, it will impact negatively on your personal productivity.        Learn to say no nicely.

 10. Finally, resist the urge to check your inbox constantly – some things can wait and don’t require your immediate attention.

This is a slightly amended version of an article written by Nikki Heald, founder of Corptraining and co-author of Views On The Way To The Top. It has been shortened to make it suitable for web publishing.