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10 tips for time management in a multitasking world

by Penelope Trunk  |  10613 views  |  2 comments  |        Rate this now! 

Time management is one of those skills no one teaches you in school but you have to learn. It doesn’t matter how smart you are if you can’t organize information well enough to take it in. And it doesn’t matter how skilled you are if procrastination keeps you from getting your work done.

Younger workers understand this, and time management is becoming a topic of hipsters. One of the most popular blogs in the world is Lifehacker, edited by productivity guru Gina Trapani, and her forthcoming book by the same name is a bestseller on Amazon based so far on pre-orders.

In today’s workplace, you can differentiate yourself by your ability to handle information and manage your time. “Careers are made or broken by the soft skills that make you able to hand a very large workload,” says Merlin Mann, editor of the productivity blog 43 Folders.

So here are 10 tips to make you better at managing your work:

1. Don’t leave email sitting in your in box.

“The ability to quickly process and synthesize information and turn it into actions is one of the most emergent skills of the professional world today,” says Mann. Organize email in file folders. If the message needs more thought, move it to your to-do list. If it’s for reference, print it out. If it’s a meeting, move it to your calendar.

“One thing young people are really good at is only touching things once. You don’t see young people scrolling up and down their email pretending to work,” says Mann. Take action on an email as soon as you read it.

2. Admit multitasking is bad.For people who didn’t grow up watching TV, typing out instant messages and doing homework all at the same time, multitasking is deadly. But it decreases everyone’s productivity, no matter who they are. “A 20-year-old is less likely to feel overwhelmed by demands to multitask, but young people still have a loss of productivity from multitasking,” says Trapani.

So try to limit it. Kathy Sierra at Creating Passionate Users suggests practicing mindfulness as a way to break the multitasking habit.

3. Do the most important thing first.Trapani calls this “running a morning dash”. When she sits down to work in the morning, before she checks any email, she spends an hour on the most important thing on her to-do list. This is a great idea because even if you can’t get the whole thing done in an hour, you’ll be much more likely to go back to it once you’ve gotten it started. She points out that this dash works best if you organize the night before so when you sit down to work you already know what your most important task of the day is.

4. Check your email on a schedule.

About the Author

Penelope Trunk is a blogger and author of Brazen Careerist. To read her blog, please go to www.penelopetrunk.com

Read more by Penelope Trunk




2 comments so far...

  • I try to keep my meetings brief and to the point, but also like to give time to generate some ideas and discuss concerns. The one issue I struggle with is that there always seems to be one or two employees that are change-resistant and go straight for the negative info. I have now begun to go to those employees a day before the meeting and give them a copy of the meeting notes. I ask them to read it over, offer any suggestions, and give me feedback. I also let them know that I want them to present those ideas to the rest of the team. Usually this will get them on board and they will sometimes even take the initiative to improve things! Thanks for the tips!I try to keep my meetings brief and to the point, but also like to give time to generate some ideas and discuss concerns. The one issue I struggle with is that there always seems to be one or two employees that are change-resistant and go straight for the negative info. I have now begun to go to those employees a day before the meeting and give them a copy of the meeting notes. I ask them to read it over, offer any suggestions, and give me feedback. I also let them know that I want them to present those ideas to the rest of the team. Usually this will get them on board and they will sometimes even take the initiative to improve things! Thanks for the tips!
    Marketing Plan

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by HenryJakson on 13th September 2011

  • Great List for all of us overloaded overworked never-finishers. But good priority and good articles and blogs you link; Life hacker is a classic.
    Best advice I can give; is working when no one else does; it gives the tranquillity needed for getting things done, although it usually means less sleep.
    Enjoying your work very much, always a pleasure to read. http://www.businessmantra.net

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by jehnavi on 22nd June 2010

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