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Is finishing your work at 5pm a distant dream?
September 15, 2008

Time management and work productivity


Is finishing work at 5pm simply a dream that is never fulfilled. If you are stressed at your desk with your Intray is overflowing while your colleagues have gone home, then it is time to work smarter.

Life is hectic, contacting clients, writing new proposals, and attending meetings. Do you feel like your responsibilities are pulling in you in different directions?

If you are feeling overwhelmed with work there are a few sure-fire strategies that you can use reduce stress and remain on top of your job.

Plan your work and then work your plan.

To manage overload it is important to have a plan. Many people say to me that their “life is too dynamic to have a plan”. My response is that having a plan does not mean you can't change it, but at least you start with a clear direction of what needs to be done.

When you have a plan it can be mapped out in your daily to-do list, which is something that I live and breathe. This list of prioritized tasks allows you to focus on results rather than on how busy you are, so you can reduce your feelings of being overwhelmed and increase your motivation to keep going.

Get off the treadmill of putting out fires

Your prioritized to-do list is just that, a list of things to do in order of priority. Try to avoid doing the easy things and focus on those things that give most value to you or your organization.

Identifying what is important rather than urgent is the first step in getting off the treadmill of crises management. By taking a proactive approach to time management you gain more control and reduce your stress.

Beat procrastination

We all procrastinate at some time or another, however procrastination becomes a problem when it increases your stress and stops you doing things that are important to you.

There are a number of strategies to get on top of the procrastination habit, but first it is important to identify some of the common reasons for procrastination.

Manage your distractions - ie. email

Recent studies show that people spend over two hours each day on email. Many email packages have the default setting of the email to notify you when mail arrives in your Inbox.

This is an interruption that takes you away from your priorities of the day. By taking the email notification off you respond to the email when you are ready. For other ways to manage distractions see some of our time management tips.

Delegate effectively

Many people recognize the importance of delegation. It can free up their time for more important things, however did you know that delegation is a great opportunity to train and empower your colleagues.

However, if I ask them about the benefits of delegation, the usual response is "Yes, but my case is different...". To put your "Yes Buts.." under the microscope and steps to delegate more effectively, click here.


There will be times when your To-Do list is a mile long and your Intray is overflowing. We have provided a number of strategies that you can use to work smarter, so that getting out of work at 5pm is not a dream but can become a reality.

There are many ways to become more effective at work by recognizing that time management and work productivity go hand in hand, and then putting into place daily habit of success. For more detailed strategies see Effective Time Management Strategies or contact us.

I am overseas at a conference for the next newsletter, so my coworker, who is an expert on goal setting will be giving us the essential steps to success in the next newsletter coming to you on October 1st.

All the best

Kell and the team at Effective Time Management Strategies

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