The Smart Way to Manage Time

The Smart Way to Manage Time

April 15, 2015 | 2 min to read

"Never seems to be enough time to do everything we would like to accomplish."

"Time. Don't have enough of it."

These are the voices of WPN retailers describing their biggest challenge, and they probably sound familiar.

Unfortunately, there's no perfect answer to the question of time management. There are only twenty-four hours in a day, only seven days in a week. These facts are unlikely to change.

With no perfect answer, time management becomes about maximizing what time you do have, and experts fall into two camps: those that recommend focus (keep moving until it's done) and those that recommend variety (move the needle, then move on).

Which camp is correct?

Neither.

The Smart Way to Manage Your Time

A recent study from Harvard shows that multitasking reduces productivity in the short term, but raises it in the long term.

In other words, variety is good for days and weeks, but focus is good for minutes and hours.

For example, say your work week includes: a handful of orders, some inventories, 2-3 hours on the phone with reps. And in between there are emails to return.

Harvard's recommendation, in a nutshell:

Don't spend a day doing just one thing, and don't spend an hour doing too many things.

Set a specific time of day to return emails.

Set appointments to speak with reps, rather than take unpredictable calls.

And, perhaps most importantly, delegate tasks correctly.

The Smart Way to Delegate

Let's say you've got two employees.

One is a whiz at running events. The other is a singles guru.

It's tempting to let the first juggle events all day, while the second trades and sorts.

Harvard's research says that's wrong. Monotony will gobble up motivation, making your employees less likely to do a good job.

But, on the other hand, switching quickly between tasks gobbles up memory, making your employees less productive.

The trick is to do both.

Over the course of an hour or an afternoon, delegate a specialized task to your employees, to keep them productive.

Over the course of a day or a week, ask them to do a variety of kinds of tasks, to keep them engaged and help build their skills.

The Smart Way to Accomplish Your Goals

You'll always be adding items to your list of goals, and you'll never add an eighth day to your week. So how are you making the most of the seven you have?

Try working on all goals at once, one goal at a time, and see how quickly you accomplish them.

By Matt Neubert

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