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10 time management tips for IT professionals

Rich Hein | Sept. 18, 2012
Time-management skills for most people are learned along the way, a necessary part of getting the job done.

2. Multi-tasking Doesn't Work

In a recent article from the Huffington Post, Zheng Wangs, a researcher and assistant professor of communication at Ohio State University, offered his thoughts on multi-tasking:

"There's this myth among some people that multitasking makes them more productive. But they seem to be misperceiving the positive feelings they get from multitasking. They are not being more productive -- they just feel more emotionally satisfied from their work."

People are most effective when they concentrate on one thing at a time. It's often said that it's better to finish one job then to start five.

3. Prioritize, Prioritize and Prioritize

Look at your lists and identify your top priorities. Tackle your most important or thought-heavy tasks at the point of your day where you are most mentally engaged and alert.

For many, that time is first thing in the morning, but for others it could be when everyone leaves the office at 5:30.

4. Set Goals and Deadlines

Tasks and projects need deadlines and goals--these are the way for you to measure your forward progress and success.

Deadlines are critical to the outcome of any project or task. If not set in a realistic timeframe and managed well they will become a major source of stress. Not giving you or your team enough time can result in extreme pressure on all parties involved.

Always give yourself a little more time than you think you may need in order to avoid unnecessary setbacks. Sticking to your deadlines will help you get more done faster.

Set SMART Goals or goals that are the following:

Specific

Measurable

Action-focused

Realistic

Time-Specific

Set both long- and short-term goals. It's easy to get lost in the microcosm of the daily--goals help keep things in context and help illustrate the bigger picture. Consider them the roadmap of your career and a necessary part of your day to day work. If you want to be successful you need to set and then strive to reach your goals. It gives you both direction and a focus on what's important.

The bottom line: always have clearly defined goals, objectives and deadlines.

5. Make the Most of the Time You Have

All of us have some time in the day that can be better used--for example, commuting, exercising or showering. Take this time to visualize your day, think about upcoming goals or projects. This is also a great time to prioritize some of the items on your list.

6. Monitor How Your Time is Spent

A big step towards great time management is to know how your time is spent. Take a day or two from your work week and document each activity and task you do. This sounds more difficult than it is. There are many productivity apps out there that will do the trick for pretty much every platform. We've listed a few for you below to get you started:

 

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