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Time management – life hacks, methods and tips

Answering emails, managing projects and regularly clearing out files. There are so many things on your daily to do list and, before you know it, the working day is over again and you have only managed to achieve half the tasks you had planned.
The solution to your problem could be better time management. Time management is the art of managing your own time so that you can complete all the tasks and duties you need to fulfil within the available time. In order to improve the way you work, there are many methods that can help to structure your day, set priorities and eliminate time wasting. Our 10 tips for better time management in the office will help you to optimise your daily planning and work without any stress. This will turn even chaotic types into efficient time management experts.

10 tips for better time management and more productivity at work


1. Start with the most important tasks

Work on the most important and trickiest task right at the start of your working day. In this way, you can tackle it when you’re full of energy and with a free head and you are guaranteed to finish it more quickly. You will have already completed the biggest task of the day and can then take your time to work through the smaller jobs on your to do list. At the end of the day, it’s worth spending 10 minutes planning the next day, noting down all your tasks and highlighting the most important.

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2. Get used to a work routine

Work routines will help you to process jobs that keep coming up time and again, as you will always follow the same pattern. Similar tasks such as clearing out files or writing invoices should therefore always be carried out together in time slots. Defined workflows are ideal for repeated processes. They will help you to delegate tasks to other colleagues and prepare to hand over for when you are on holiday. Written workflows will help colleagues learn the ropes much more quickly, which will in turn save time.

3. Work in time slots

Spending hours writing a text, looking at every email straight way, constantly deliberating about how to start a job: it all takes time. Time slots will help you to focus on the task in hand and overcome your inner weaknesses. Set yourself a firm time limit of 30 minutes and work out how much you can achieve in this period. This will not only give you a feel for how much time you need for certain tasks, but will also make you feel more motivated. You should devote yourself to just one task for each time slot. It’s best to switch your phone to voicemail during this time. Depending on the size of the task, you could process it in 30 minute sections. This will keep you focussed for longer and get you in the flow.

4. Stop multitasking

Multitasking is the ideal for all companies. Unfortunately, doing several things at once is not particularly effective. Multitasking is more likely to lead to slower work and forgetting important things and you will always need to familiarise with a topic over and over again. The end result is that you will fritter away valuable time in this way. Multitasking takes longer and delivers worse results.

5. Say no

People who can’t say no are quickly exploited and sacrifice themselves to doing other people’s work. Writing a small text for a colleague here, making some corrections there. You’ll end up with no time for your own tasks. Saying no will help you to complete your own work. Taking over a task for a colleague from time to time is not a problem of course. It just shouldn’t become a habit. Before you take on a task, it's best to ask how much time your colleague had planned for this work. This will help you to work out whether you have enough free time available to do it.

6. Eliminate time wasting

Facebook, Instagram, emails, telephone conversations, procrastination, perplexity, coffee breaks with colleagues – time thieves are everywhere and will cost you precious time. If you know which culprits are bothering you, it will be easier to banish them from your everyday working life. Here's how:

1. Write down what’s stressing you out or wasting your time at work.
2. Work out your top 3 time wasters.
3. Next to each one, write down an easy and effective countermeasure.
4. Finalise your list and make sure it is easy to see, e.g. on a whiteboard in your office.
5. Once you have all three time wasters under control, you could write a new list.

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7. Schedule some buffer time

So you've got your working day tightly scheduled and yet you still can’t get things done? The reason for this is often a lack of buffer time. You will save yourself a lot of stress and overtime if you schedule enough time for unforeseen tasks and meetings. As a rule, 60 percent of your working time should be planned. The other 40 percent should be kept aside for short-term assignments, disruptions and meetings.


8. Take breaks

Breaks are not an unnecessary waste of time. They are important for regenerating your mind and body, increasing concentration and making you more productive. A five to ten minute break will help you start the next block of work more effectively. A good guideline is 30 minutes of focussed work, followed by a 5-minute break. After two to three rounds of this, you can treat yourself to a longer 15-minute break. During your break, have a coffee, do a few physical exercises or just close your eyes.

9. Feed your brain

As well as taking breaks, healthy eating is essential for keeping your mind and body in good shape. Fatty, unhealthy food will trigger the typical afternoon slump. If you can’t motivate yourself on your own to cook healthy food or even eat anything at all at work, you could get together with colleagues. Sharing lunch is fun and brings teams together.

10. Finish your working day on time

Avoiding overtime and finishing work on time will have a positive effect on your stress levels. Spend your evenings relaxing, cooking a delicious meal or meeting up with friends for a chat at your favourite restaurant. This will maintain your quality of life and help you to recharge your batteries for the next day at work. Using these methods, you will be perfectly equipped for the working day. If you would like to find out more about getting yourself organised, take a look at our article on the subject of self-management.