Time is more valuable than any other resource in business. It doesn’t matter how much money, how many staff, or how much technology a business has at their disposal – without efficient time management, nothing would get done.
Many professional workers have gone on record to say that they struggle to optimize their time on a daily basis, which results in higher stress levels, which is even more detrimental to productivity and time management. We spoke with TechQuarters, a London-based IT company, whose business IT support London-based companies have been using for years. A large part of their success is down to the fact that they employ tried-and-true measures to get the most out of their time. They gave us three fundamental tips for achieving better time management in business.
Tip 1: Review and Plan Your Schedule
Many professionals may not realise that their schedules are much fuller than they ought to be. Particularly in recent years, with the rise in remote work, there has been an increase in the amount of meeting the average professional takes part in. According to TechQuarters, a good first step for improving time management is to review one’s schedule, for example…
- Is every meeting in your calendar necessary? Meetings are great for a lot of things, but sometimes they can disrupt the flow of work. Unless you’re an active participant in the meeting, you may be able to eliminate it from your schedule, and get some of your time back.
- Are you making time for breaks and regular meals? This may seem counter-intuitive (particularly after the last point), but taking breaks throughout the day can actually improve time management. Taking breaks – especially proper lunch breaks – allows for clear boundaries in one’s schedule, and a more realistic view of the time one has in their day.
Tip 2: Make Time & Space for Your Work
As we mentioned in the previous point, meetings – while being very useful – can be a big disruptor in the flow of one’s work. However, with more and more organisations work remote full-time, meetings are necessary for maintain communications. Therefore, there are some best practices around meetings that should be followed:
- Ensure that meetings are book-ended with a short break. Studies have found that scheduling a 5-min break before the start of each meeting can help prevent a build-up of stress. Equally, individuals should take a 5-min break after a meeting, too.
- Schedule focus time in your schedule, where no meetings are allowed to take place. This makes it possible to enter periods of deep focus, where productivity is heightened.
- Make sure you have a dedicated space for focus, wherever you happen to be working – whether it be at home, in the office, or in a shared workspace.
Tip 3: Take Regular Breaks from Your Work
Spending all of your time at work, but for 2 days a week, is a fast-track to professional burnout. This is why it is so important to schedule regular breaks. A break from work may look like the following:
- Taking a lunchtime break everyday, where you spend time doing other activities – such as going for a walk, reading, or spending time with friends, family or your partner.
- Set an out-of-office message in your company apps, and turn off notifications, to make sure that your breaks from work are not intruded by work-related information (even if it does not directly concern you).
- Spend your holiday days, even if you don’t actually go away during the time off. Simply taking whole days off from work can be enough to help you decompress.
- Don’t take every meeting at your desk/in your office. The beauty of products like Microsoft Teams, and video conferencing technology in general is that you can take a meeting no matter where you are.
These are just a few of the ways that organisations can employ better practices around managing time, which can result in greater productivity. TechQuarters, who also specialise in Microsoft 365 consulting, recommend the M365 suite, for a lot of the things listed above – such as blocking out focus time, taking mobile meetings, and scheduling 5-minute decompression breaks between meetings – can be achieved thanks to purpose-built functionalities in the Microsoft 365 apps.