Time waits for no man, woman or techie. This especially applies to technology workers who may be working with challenging clients, or on projects that seem to be never ending. But short of giving up sleep altogether, what can you do to make improve your efficiency?
We’ve put together a list of top tips to help you work smarter, not longer, so you can log-off, shut-down, go home and enjoy a relaxing evening, knowing you’re on the road to success.
It sounds obvious but you’d be surprised what a difference a to-do list can make to your day. It'll make you more productive and saves time trying to figure out what you need to do. Take time at the start of each day to write down tasks into three categories: essential, important and non-essential. Get the essential ones out the way and the important ones if you can. Don’t feel guilty about transferring any incomplete tasks to the next day.
A messy desk is not a great way to work. Just imagine how much time you’ll save by knowing where everything is and being able to find it? Keep only the things you’re working on your desk – the rest should be binned or filed away. You may even have a clear desk policy in place where you work to make this task easier.
Learn to say no.
By all means commit to projects you really enjoy but don’t be afraid to politely decline any others.
Add on time.
When it comes to tech things usually take longer so always add on time. For example, why not schedule approximate time for a service you are about to perform by adding an extra 1 hour as this will enable you have a free time after performing your task and plan for next. As a Techie you never want to be pressed with schedule after schedule.
Make post work plans.
Never leave your desk on time? Then make plans after work so you actually leave on time whether that is going to the gym, meeting a friend for a drink or a supermarket shop then put it in your diary. Make a reason to leave work.
Make the best use of quiet times.
It’s inevitable that there will be occasional quiet spells in your work. It could be that the work coming in has been easily covered already by your team, or by you if you work on your own. It might be a lull after a project is complete or you’re waiting for sign-off. Maybe it’s time for some annual leave you’ve got saved up, but if you would rather not take a break, how can you make the best use of this quiet time as it won’t last forever?
Take time to perform a basic self examination of:
- Business management
- Methods of doing paperwork
Is your CRM software doing everything you need it to or do you need to look for something else, exporting your database to another system? What about your toolkit? Are all your tools updated for 2018, or are you missing a couple? If you’re a web designer you could use this time to keep on top of the latest web development technology regarding the platforms or languages. Maybe you could spend some time improving your skills in that area.
As techies you need to stay on top of tech news and be able to comment on current events in the IT industry. If you don’t have a couple of tech feeds updating in your RSS reader, you may want to take some time to set that up for 2018. Are you an IT contractor or run your own business then consider if you could expand your offerings from web development to consulting work if you feel you are capable.
Plan home life.
It sounds stupid but it can actually make a real difference – schedule in time for you and your family. Plan meals and shop online for groceries.
Diarise time at the gym or working on a hobby.
Remember, you can’t shorten projects or contracts easily so think about how you can utilise your time during the day – work smarter not harder and make sure to take well-earned breaks. You deserve them!