Time management 101: tips to boost productivity

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A typical day in the life of a broker can feel like one long juggling act. Endless emails and phone calls to return, meetings to attend, customer service-related tasks to tackle – and the list goes on.

The solution? Time management. By planning and controlling how much time you spend on tasks, you’ll become more efficient and productive. Here are some tips for mastering the art of time management in 2020.

Avoid the inbox vortex

How much of your day do you spend going through your inbox? If the answer is “too much”, it’s time to make a change.

Emails are a massive time-waster. In fact, it’s estimated workers spend 28% of the workday reading and answering emails.

Instead of becoming a slave to your inbox, set aside a block of time each day to answering emails and try to stick to it. Also, come up with a strategy to manage your inbox – for example, you may like to group emails into certain folders or apply filters to your settings.

Use the tools at your disposal

There are loads of time management tools available to help make your life easier, so why not use them?

A simple example is Outlook’s calendar. It allows you to create events or meetings, colour-code items, request a reminder and create group schedules. You can block out time for important tasks and change the settings so that Outlook opens on the calendar, rather than your inbox.

For more inspiration, check out Lifehack's best time management tools and apps in 2020.

Get your ratios right

When planning your day, divide your time according to your role. Here’s an example. Say you’re a loan writer in a sales and meeting-driven role. You may choose to split your time 70:30 – 70% of your day with clients, and 30% on other important activities.

Working out the appropriate ratio for your particular role and using it as a rough guide each day will help keep you on track.

Create a to-do list in order of importance

Write down what you need to achieve in the day, starting with the most important or urgent tasks first.

If there are tasks you don’t want to do, it’s a good idea to get them out of the way sooner rather than later. That way, you won’t waste time during the day dreading what’s ahead.

Schedule your time carefully and create a sequence to execute what needs to be done.

If you’re working on complex tasks, block out time in your calendar so you can avoid interruptions.

Don’t forget the small stuff

When you have multiple deadlines to meet, it’s easy to overlook the smaller day-to-day tasks which still require your attention. Planning for everything in your day will help you avoid getting stressed.

Irrespective of how busy you are, schedule time for the small things, like returning phone calls and updating your calendar. Allow time for short breaks and remember to schedule in lunch – you need energy to perform at your best!

We hope you’ve found these time management tips handy! Remember, a little bit of planning goes a long way in terms of your productivity and ability to multi-task. May 2020 be your most productive year yet!