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There was an outburst of excitement when I got an employment with a reputable company here in Lagos. I resume at 8.15 am and close at 5pm. The first thing I do each morning when I get to work is to take my breakfast before the day’s work starts. After which, I write out what I have to do for the day. I often realise that I don’t get to meet up with all I set out to do for the day; this always puts me under pressure and makes me feel incompetent. Despite staying back late at work, 50% of my day’s work is still left undone.

One day when I got to work, I decided to put my sticky notes where I could always see them and on it was the set out time allocated for each task. I realized that often times i get distracted with the beep of my social media notifications, and when this happens I feel the urge to take a break from the task am working on and look up on my phone to respond to chats on my facebook and whatsapp accounts.

Oh yes, it got better, I could finish my task, but I am always about the last person to leave the office still. One day, my supervisor sent a mail advising that we should be timely in our deliveries so as to save the company’s resources. I muttered to myself and felt I was indirectly been talked about, I also wondered what could be wrong as I went about asking some of my colleagues how they meet up with their deliveries.

Each day comes with a new set of activities while I haven’t even delivered on the previous day’s job. This kept on happening on a daily basis that for most tasks assigned to me, I never met up with my deadlines.

One year was gone and it was time for appraisals. I was indifferent, I thought to myself ‘Amaka, you can’t be that bad after, all you deliver anyways’. Yes I was good on the job; I could relate with my client and deliver on my job ……well, even if it wasn’t timely, so I thought again. I was shocked to see the comment of my boss on my appraisal form. It read “You are poor at managing your time at work and this has affected you in meeting up deadlines to each task assigned to you “. On seeing this I was sober for the rest of the day, couldn’t he have found a more subtle way to say this?  Yeah, he is the boss and i am his subordinate.

Based on the comment on my appraisal form, when I got home i did a recap of how i spend my day at work starting from when i resume at 8.15 to 5pm when i close, and in all fairness I concluded that my boss was right and that I haven’t been managing my time properly at work
For organizations to thrive, every employee must possess good time management skills. As the saying goes, a stitch in time saves nine. Hence the following steps I took into consideration.

  • Each day you get to work, use a memo pad or sticky notes to create a to-do-list for the activities of the day and let it be pasted close to where your eyes can reach it. For example, a to-do-list can compromise of a budget presentation, a 30mins conference call meeting with a client at 2pm and many more. The to-do-list should be outlined in the order of importance. Also, put required timelines for each task because not every task carry equal amount of time. After you complete each task, mark it as done. The essence of a to-do-list is that, it helps you remember pending task that was carried over. It also guides employees and enhance them in delivering results promptly.

  • Shun distractions such as scrolling to view notifications and chatting on social media with your phone.  If your job doesn’t require you using social media as a tool for work, avoid using it. An ideal way is to check your phone before work starts in the morning. Afterwards, turn off your data during work hours and possibly turn it on during lunch to view notifications and reply chats. Avoid chatting with your colleagues when there are important tasks to be done.
  • Adhere to the time rule, if your boss gives you a task to deliver in the next 30mins, set a deadline of 25mins for yourself and see how smart you are able to deliver. Limit time wasters such as if you had a brief meeting earlier with your colleague and he/she promised to send a mail as a reminder on the task you ought to do as discussed in the meeting, ensure that once you receive the mail, and you see the subject, there is no need of paying detailed attention to the body of the mail because the mail is just a reminder to the discussion you had earlier in the meeting. So why spend minutes reading the mail when such time can be channelled into other tasks

  • Avoid procrastination and never believe there is still much time or the deadline is still far away. As the task comes in, as much as possible create a little time in your daily busy schedule to start working on it gradually. If you don’t do so, you will be surprised that it’s already less than 48hours to deliver on the project and you are just struggling to start. Remember that is not the only task you are handling so other tasks mustn’t suffer as a result of one’s procrastination.

Effective time management remains a significant ingredient for achieving the business goals of every organisation. Invest your time wisely.

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