Time Management – Overloaded at work; Reduced effectiveness

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What skills are required for effective time management?

Some of these skills include:

Setting clear goals | Breaking your goals into discreet steps | Reviewing progress towards your goals | Action Planning.

Other skills include, prioritising – focusing on urgent and important tasks rather than those that are not important or don’t move you towards your goals; organising your work schedule; list making to remind you of what you need to do when; persevering when things are not working out and avoiding procrastination.

Using a to-do List to help with your Time Management

You should have a reminder system to inform you of what you need to do, when: don’t try to remember everything as this is a recipe for disaster! One simple options is to carry a pen and paper. A more portable option is to record items on your phone using your voice. At the simplest level your reminder system could include tasks and deadlines.

These could also be entered on a Excel spreadsheet that includes a task title, task details and entry and completion date. A simple volatile date function =today() could be used to calculate the difference between the task entry date and the volatile date function. You could then apply conditional formatting to the cell containing the formula that changes colour as you get closer to the completion date. You’d set rules to warn you of the nearing completion date. For example: 20 days before completion the cell changes colour to blue, 10 days before completion it changes to orange and maybe 2 days before completion it changes to red. Simple. You can also sort and filter your tasks by colour, so you can monitor your most important and impending tasks first.

So with a large list of tasks to complete, all what you’d have to do to improve your time management is monitor the coloured tasks with a view of not letting them get to the red stage. If you want any help setting up a task list in Excel please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Links to more information

Many of these techniques are covered in our Microsoft Excel Frequent user course.