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How to Get Better at Time Management and Problem Solving

How to Get Better at Time Management and Problem Solving

 
Getting more from every day of your life
Want to boost your productivity and become more efficient at work? Follow these 9 time management and problem solving tips and you will see considerable improvement over time.
 
Article author: Ashley Andrews
      Written by Ashley Andrews
       (8-minute read)
Two of the most sought after skills in the workplace are time management and problem solving. Time management skills will improve your productivity and help you meet your targets and deadlines, while having problem solving skills will help you make better decisions when it comes to finding and applying the best solutions.

Of course, no-one will have these skills fully developed from the start, but there are ways you can improve them. And making the effort to improve these skills will make you a better employee and help improve your chances of success in your career.



How to Get Better at Time Management

Some people might think that time management skills are something you're simply born with: you either have them or you don't. You might find yourself feeling overwhelmed with your workload and think that you have too much work to do within the time you have.
Well, help is at hand: here we show you a few things you can do to improve your time management.

Start taking notes

If you're struggling to find areas of improvement when it comes to how you manage your time, you should start by taking note of every task you do and how much time it takes you to complete each one. Be honest with yourself and include any time that has been taken away from tasks due to disruptions, including distractions like going on the internet, stepping away from your desk and taking personal calls.

This is called an "audit" and most people will likely be surprised to learn how much of their time is actually wasted, not realizing the impact it has on their work. The good thing is that by making this realization, you can help pinpoint the problem areas and start making changes.

Want to Manage Your Time Better?


If you'd like to learn more about time management, why not take a look at how we can help?

Learn how to manage your time better with our online courses.
RRP from $89 – limited time offer just $12.99



Make use of technology

Nowadays there are all sorts of apps and programs to help you get better at time management, so you should take full advantage of them and incorporate them into your work routine. You can use programs that will help you make to-do lists, manage a more efficient work schedule, and create contact lists and much, much more. There are many free ones out there, but even if your preferred app comes at a price, think of the value of the time (and stress...) it will save you!

People can waste so much time trying to sort through their paperwork to find important documents or information that has become lost in the clutter. It's also easy to forget about tasks and deadlines when there is so much work to do and you are continuously given more jobs to do on top of that.

This is where technology can be a huge help, You can set yourself reminders and organize your workload – apps like Wunderlist or Asana are great tools for helping you minimize paperwork.

Multitask where possible

While some tasks require all your focus and attention, there are some that you can combine with others to make the best use of your time. Many people face a long trip into work, and while it may not be safe to multitask while driving, if you take public transport you can always use your commute time to do other things.



This can include routine tasks like checking your emails if you have access to the internet, thinking about what needs to be done in the day ahead or listening to podcasts or audio books that can be of benefit in your job. What's even better is that you'll find your commute goes by much more quickly, too.

Look at areas in your life where you waste time on menial tasks that require little concentration and think about how you can make better use of that time by combining these tasks with something else.

Look at the bigger picture

Every day you'll be faced with new distractions, questions, problems and even more tasks to do. While some of these may be important and become a high priority on your to-do list, some of them can be delegated to other members of staff or set aside to complete at a future date.

The main thing is not to get too engrossed in every new issue that comes your way and instead try and look at the bigger picture. Ask yourself if this really needs to be dealt with at this precise moment in time or if it's something you can take a look at when you're finished with your current task. You can always set yourself reminders to come back to that at a later stage to avoid forgetting about it all together - and this can then help to minimize distractions.


How to Get Better At Problem Solving

You may not immediately think of yourself as a problem solver, but in truth you will face problems every day of your life! From small things such as what to have for dinner that night, to bigger issues such as how to fix a problem that has come up at work.
What you need to remember is that there are always ways to confront problems and come up with solutions. The important thing is not to panic and address the problem head on.

Identify the root cause

Some people try to solve problems quickly by jumping to the quickest fix or just using solutions that have worked in the past. But although this may have been OK before, it may not be the most effective way of solving the problem.

Improving your problem solving skills is not just about cutting down the time it takes to make a decision, but it is also about finding a solution that will get you the best result. Rather than just throwing money at the problem -- or ignoring the root cause -- you should take a closer look at what has caused the problem in the first place.

Want to Manage Your Time Better?


If you'd like to learn more about time management, why not take a look at how we can help?

Learn how to manage your time better with our online courses.
RRP from $89 – limited time offer just $12.99



It could be that the problem has arisen due to an employee's lack of training, using the wrong suppliers, missing out on essential tasks ... or a variety of other things. While some problems will be one-time occurrences, others should be nipped in the bud before they come up again.

Work towards a solution

Sometimes a problem will crop up and you'll be so focused on what caused it that you waste valuable time before actually coming up with a solution. While it's important to take a closer look at what has created the problem, you don't want to end up forgetting about actually fixing it.

This is especially true when you're faced with a tight deadline that doesn't allow you the opportunity to take a deeper look at the source of the problem right away. In these circumstances, it may be better to address the real issues at a later stage and just focus on the solution for now.

If you fixate too much on the negative issues surrounding the problem, then it can become much more difficult to think of an appropriate solution. Why, you may even give up altogether! So always think positively and look at problem solving as a choice; what can I do to solve this? What are my choices?

Consider all the options

Sometimes you might delay solving a problem by being afraid to speak your mind and offer up solutions. While some ideas may not work, it is worth mentioning anything that comes to mind: that's because it could always spark a more realistic fix. Take some time to brainstorm and think out loud, as this will help to keep the ball rolling until you have reached a positive resolution.

As we've already said, don't be afraid to consider alternative solutions to dilemmas that have come up in the past. There may be issues that frequently crop up due to problems in the process and this should be addressed immediately to stop reoccurrence.

Speak up before it happens!

If you notice that there's something that could potentially lead to a problem, then speak up and let others know about it. It could be a backlog of work that needs to be addressed before deadlines are missed, or mistakes that are being made due to a lack of understanding of the process.



When you think about it, you should aim to find solutions to potential problems before they actually become significant. So keep a look out for anything that you think might be going wrong and be quick to point this out. Don't worry about how others will respond: they will be grateful that a bigger crisis has been averted!

Seek Areas for Continuous Improvement

Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, but there are always ways in which you can improve your skills. So don't let your pride get in your way! Identify areas of weakness and work towards bettering yourself to help improve the way you work. For example,  we have our own set of Development Tests that allow you to assess your skills - and create an action plans - in different areas.

But don't let it stop there! We are passionate believers in continuous improvement in every area of life, as a means to achieve more success and happiness. A particularly interesting tool we have found is the online IQ test provided by brainmanager that provides an evaluation in five areas of ability (or "domains" as they call them) and gives you a score at the end.  You may think it's worth a try!

If you notice that somebody else is especially good at time management or problem solving, then take a closer look at what makes them better and what techniques you can use to improve yourself. Don't be afraid to ask them questions. People learn from each other, and you might be able to offer them tips in return in areas where you are particularly strong.

Want to Manage Your Time Better?


If you'd like to learn more about time management, why not take a look at how we can help?

Learn how to manage your time better with our online courses.
RRP from $89 – limited time offer just $12.99

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