Imagine this: You walk into a work meeting ten minutes late. Your skin is flushed, your clothes are wrinkled and your skin is sweating from rushing. Instead of silently slipping in like you would’ve liked, everybody stops and turns to look at you. This awkward moment is one you can’t take back.
Time management is one skill that is essential to master in order to become successful. In college, being late to a lecture class wasn’t a big deal, but being late getting to work, finalizing a project or attending an important meeting can not only cost you your reputation and likeability, but money in your (or your company’s) pocket as well. Here are a few productivity leeches that can hinder your success and how to break the habits at the onset:
Last-minute prep… or not being prepared at all: It’s a good idea to get in the habit of preparing for the next day at the end of every day. Knowing what you need to do for the next day can relieve some of the stress that can keep you awake at night. Make a to-do list, map out projects, how they’ll be executed, and deadlines for execution. (Even picking out your outfit the night before can help you better manage your time, and be prepared, with confidence, for anything that may come.)
Procrastinating, not prioritizing: Putting tasks off until the last minute can cause major stress in your work day. Make a mental list of your duties and decide which ones are the most important and need to get done first. You can even go old school and write out a to-do list or post sticky notes around your monitor screen if need be.
Being second behind the early bird: It’s a good idea not to show up when it’s time to clock in, but at least 10 to 20 minutes earlier. When you strive to arrive at work early, you give yourself enough time to get a head start on things. You have time to decompress from your commute and mentally prepare for the day. When you submit your assignments ahead of time, you can avoid the headache of trying to beat a deadline and can get started on the next project. As an added bonus, if you show up early to important business meetings, it can give you a chance to network with the big wigs at your company.
Clueless about your prime time: Experts say your internal prime time is the time of day when your workflow is at its best. At this time, your body is alert and your mind is sharp and the creative juices are never-ending. Knowing whether you are a morning person, a night owl or something in between will allow you to prioritize and increase productivity in your workday.