The new year is bound to bring many changes, but one thing will remain the same: a day will have 24 hours, and it’ll be up to you to decide how to use them. Time management isn’t easy, and when it comes to work, today’s myriad distractions — smartphones, Internet, office gossip — can make it especially difficult to buckle down and get things done. Fortunately, Kandia Johnson of Black Enterprise has combed CareerBuilder for advice and penned a great piece titled “New Year, New You: 6 Tips to Work Smarter, Not Harder.” Read on to see how she suggests altering your work habits in 2015.
1. Get Organized — On Monday morning, Johnson advises, start off by clearing the clutter from your desk and making a plan for the week ahead. Identify your highest priority projects and estimate how long it will take you to finish them. Don’t just dive into a stack of work willy-nilly.
2. Avoid Distractions — Many workplaces have conference rooms or other quiet spaces, so if you’re working on something that demands your full attention, find a secluded place to work. You should also designate certain times to read emails, Johnson says, so you’re not trying to keep up as they come in. Working from home on some days might also help.
3. Skip Unnecessary Meetings — As you know, not all meetings wind up being productive, and if there’s one on the calendar you figure you can miss, send a polite decline to the invitation and check back later to see what went down. Why waste your time somewhere you’re not needed?
4. Keep It Professional — There are lots of personal things you could be doing at work, but emailing your friends and updating your social media accounts aren’t the best uses of your time. Save that stuff for lunch or free time.
5. Be Efficient with Communications — Need to send a message to someone in your row? Don’t burn a bunch of time composing an email. Pick up the phone or pop on over and actually talk to the person. It’ll save you some time.
6. Stop Procrastinating — We all have those projects we dread starting, but the longer you wait, the worse it will be, and the longer it will take. Bite the bullet and get moving on the thing!