Time management is the ability to use your time productively and efficiently. Think of it as having time to do everything you need without feeling stressed. It sounds simple, but it is much more challenging in practice.
Time management skills are essential because it seems like we never have enough time to do everything that we want to do.
We know that time management is defined as using your time productively and efficiently, but why is it that you are working as productively as possible and still can't get everything done? It may be better to think about time management as working productively and prioritizing your time. I have found that people who are good at time management are good at getting on and doing things. They know how to prioritize and work out what needs to get done immediately and then wait or discard the other tasks. These people truly understand the difference between urgent and important.
So, what is the difference between urgent and important?
An urgent task demands your immediate attention, but whether you give them that attention may or may not matter.
An Important task matters, and not doing them may have serious consequences for you or others.
Understanding and applying the distinction between urgent and important is the key to prioritizing your time and workload, whether at work or home. It can enable you to determine what to do first and what can be left until later. It may seem simple and black and white; however, it's tough to execute for some people. Good time management skills will help, so let us review a few principles of good time management.
Principles of Good Time Management
Keep it neat and tidy no matter what!
For some of us, clutter can be a real distraction and sometimes genuinely depressing. Cleaning up your work area and keeping it clean and organized will improve your self-esteem and motivation. You find it easier to stay on top of those tasks and complete them in a timely matter. Suppose this is your service vehicle, then you should already know the importance of keeping your vehicle well organized and clean. It will make your day more productive and project a more professional image to your customers.
Use A 'To Do' List Action Items
That is right, I crossed out To-Do List and called it Action Items.
I have found that Action Items is a better way to prioritize urgent and important tasks. It would be best if you used your smartphone to list the Action Items from important to urgent to needs attention soon.
It provides a better way to see briefly what you need to do or have forgotten to do. I have set up my action items like a calendar event with the event occurring around the end of each day and then moving that action item event to the next morning and the next afternoon after you have reviewed the morning Action Items and so forth from there. You can quickly delete and add to your Action Items and see what you need to do. I have found the word Action Items to be more impactful in my time management and scheduling. I can confidently say that once I started implementing this, it increased my productivity and sales.
Pick Your Moment of the Day
We all have times of day when we work better. It's best to schedule the difficult tasks for those times. Keep in mind that you will need to schedule tasks that need doing at certain times, like your services for the day, onsite inspections, or meetings.
Another helpful option would be to have a list of small tasks that can be done at odd times like your services for the day, onsite inspections, or meetings because this might be the ideal time to send that email confirming or proposal to a customer?
If a task is urgent and important, get on with it. However, if you make excuses about not doing something, ask yourself why.
You may be doubtful about whether you should be doing the task. Talk it over with colleagues or your manager, if at work, and family or friends at home, and see if there is an alternative that might be better. Perhaps you're concerned about the ethics or don't think it's the best option. If so, you may find that others agree.
Procrastinating can lead to upset customers, and your tasks become overwhelming because you have so many of them to do that you have put off. This is why I like using Action Items on my calendar so I will not procrastinate.
Generally, people aren't very good at multi-tasking because it takes our brains time to refocus.
It's much better to finish one job before moving on to another. If you must do lots of different tasks, try to group them together, and do similar tasks consecutively.
The most important thing to do is stay calm and keep things in perspective. Feeling overwhelmed by too many tasks can be very stressful. Remember it is pest control and that the world will probably not end if you fail to achieve your last task of the day or leave it until tomorrow.