Proper time management

How time management saves you work

Targeted time management can increase your productivity and also prevent stress. However, you shouldn’t get lost in endless lists, instead define sensible priorities. Find out here how to use your work time optimally – for example, with the Eisenhower principle.

Time management with moderation

The bitter truth to start: even efficient time management can’t make the day any longer than 24 hours. But it will help you to allocate your time better and set the right priorities. This will not only increase your productivity and the quality of your results – which will make your boss happy – but will also make work easier for you.

Good organisation in time management is half the battle. Lists sorted according to priorities are extremely valuable for example. They ensure that you invest your energy in the right projects at the right time. However, not every task should end up on a list and therefore simply be put off. Tasks that take less than ten minutes should be completed immediately.

How to use your time at work optimally with the Eisenhower Principle

More complex activities should be sorted according to the two criteria importance and urgency. What’s known as the ‘Eisenhower Principle’ will help you to quickly decide which tasks to do first. It divides all to-dos into four groups:

  • Unimportant and not urgent tasks. These shouldn’t even be put on your list. You’d just be wasting time.
  • Urgent but unimportant tasks. If you can, delegate these to other colleagues.
  • Important and urgent tasks. You’re better off taking care of these things yourself, straight away. These are often emergency situations. Long preparation and an optimal result are therefore usually rare.
  • Important but not urgent tasks. The most significant group with jobs that are usually the most complex. Luckily, you have time to prepare sufficiently for them – and you should take the time too. Because these tasks determine the quality of your work and therefore also of your reputation. But be careful: long preparation times often lead to procrastination and in the end it could become a category three task.

Whether you use the Eisenhower Principle or not: you should set a standard procedure for recurring activities.

Allocating work time: input vs. output

Efficient time management is always a balancing act between input and output. According to the Pareto Principle, you use only 20 percent of your available time to achieve 80 percent of your required results. You should also always weigh up whether the additionally generated time justifies the final touches of the missing 20 percent.

Even though some tasks have no deadline, you should set daily or weekly goals. And tasks that you transfer from the old to the new list week after week are best crossed out.

Too much time management quickly starts to eat up your time

Getting used to new processes might take a little time at the start. But if you spend more time planning your tasks than carrying them out, you’re doing something wrong.
Furthermore, time management does not mean completing tasks in parallel. Quality usually suffers when people multitask, you get more stressed and you usually don’t save any time either. So finish the job you started before you start something else.

The same applies to breaks by the way: take the time to switch off and allow yourself the luxury of being unavailable at these times. Because completely honestly: in one hour the world will still be turning, even if you weren’t online.