You hold a clerical or an administrative position—and chances are that you're good at what you do. Maybe you work electronically; perhaps you handle paper files. Either way, your day spins around an organizational axis. To be successful, you need to complete tasks quickly and thoroughly. Thankfully, time management systems can help you with this, but you may be left wondering about which are most effective.
There are several ways to find and adopt time management tools. You could purchase every available book on organization and read each one with the diligence and dedication of an Ivy League scholar. That, however, would take years. Alternatively, you could implement the very first time management system you came across—regardless of its success rate.
The third, and perhaps most effective, option is to take the elements inherent in almost every task management system and tailor them to your administrative needs. After all, there are many commonalities in time management tools. The "take what you like and leave the rest" approach caters to your unique nature. Rather than pigeonholing yourself, you can apply and integrate the techniques that suit you best.
With all that in mind, here are some of the most effective time management systems arranged in order of popularity:
- Lists are at the core of almost every time management system out there. Maybe you enjoy using your Android or OSX device to create lists; if so, apps like Errands, Google Keep, and Any.Do have you covered. If you prefer crumply, tangible paper, try a Filofax system or similar organizational planner.
- Divide your time into blocks. If you organize your time in advance, you'll get more done. Some people arrange time slots months or years in advance. If that's too long term for you, don't worry, as blocking your time even a few days ahead can make a positive difference.
- Make the most of time snippets—the time you spend waiting for your train home, riding the bus, or sitting in departure lounges. Combine bodily relaxation with mental growth by listening to an audiobook about administrative tips or watching a video about business growth. If you spend these time snippets hurriedly returning calls or answering emails, chances are you won't retain the information you should, so block those important tasks into your calendar instead.
There are additional ways to ensure your priorities remain in line. Set your task lists in order of priority, for example, and never shirk a "top task" or bend the rules. Do the tasks you dread before any others to get them out of the way, and don't let them drag your mindset down. In addition, consider outsourcing or delegating less important tasks so that you can concentrate on vital endeavors. For example, consider ordering provisions online instead of running to the office supply store.
In the end, the best time management systems are undoubtedly the ones that allow you the freedom to work in a productive manner. The most effective regime for one person may not be the most effective for you. Finally, remember to relax. If you don't leave yourself time to unwind, the best time management system on the planet won't help. Your brain needs to rest in order to work properly, so if you take care of yourself, you'll find it easier to stay on top of your game.
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