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Proven Tips for Managing Your Time

Industry Matters Newsletter

When you’re at work, every second counts, but sometimes it feels like we’re not getting anything done, even if we are doing something at every second of the workday. In “Proven Tips for Managing Your Time,” professional speaker, writer and coach Todd Dewett gives viewers tips to get more out of their workday by using their time more effectively. 

Dewett approaches the topic with a few strategies—the first being what he calls the “80/20 rule.” Among the work we do throughout our day, 80 percent consists of busywork such as filling out reports or compiling spreadsheets. This isn’t necessarily important to you or your team. Only 20 percent of our day is filled with doing the work that is important to the team. To solve this problem, Dewett says that you have to be intentional about your work and never invest more than half of the time you spend working on the “80 percent pile.”

Additionally, Dewett introduces the idea of “The Einstein Window” and working to protect it. The Einstein Window is a mental peak most people experience that lasts two to four hours. During this time, we typically get more done and our work feels fun to us. External factors such as meetings or our cell phones can work to take away the productivity of that window, though. So Dewett encourages the viewer to protect it by deprioritizing tasks that can be done at another time or putting your cell phone on silent.

Another way to make sure the most important work in your day gets done is by communicating your availability. Be proactive about this by alerting people ahead of time as to when you will be unavailable because you’re working on the tasks in the “20 percent pile.”

The “80 percent pile” work still has to get done, but it doesn’t have to take up your time. Determine if you could automate the work—for example, scheduling a pre-made social media post via automated posting tools such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck. Perhaps you could outsource or delegate part of the work to someone else, who either does not have as much work to do or could gain professional development by doing work that may be simple but time-consuming to you. 

Conventional and familiar time management tips that Dewett reminds his viewers of include arriving early to work, switching tasks or taking a break when you’re stuck on a task and avoiding multitasking. Dewett leaves his viewer with an action plan—to identify a behavior that wastes time and pick one of his tips to adopt in the next week to stop that behavior.

It seems like there’s never enough time, especially in a workday. But when you identify and fix behaviors and tasks that waste time, you can accomplish the work that is most important to you and your team.

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