Good time management skills are what set workplace safety pros apart. When you’re not able to adequately handle the ordinary tasks that are a part of your job, it can harm your ability to focus, handle stress, and meet deadlines.
You may become stressed and find yourself procrastinating because you’re so overwhelmed you don’t know where to start. These problems can result in poor efficiency at best and genuine danger at worst.
With effective time management, you have a system of prioritizing tasks for best performance even when you’re under pressure from external forces like time and limited resources. Tackle your to-do list with these tips for better time management.
Strategies for Improved Time Management
- Set your work priorities in consideration of what your supervisor requires, what your team needs, and any regulatory deadlines that apply. It can be hard to see what’s most important when you have many tasks piling up so consider prioritizing tasks visually. Good examples include writing each task on an index card or whiteboard. Mark tasks red, yellow, and green to note which ones are most urgent. When you complete one task, you’ll quickly see what needs to be done next.
- Use the 1-2-3 method. Make a list of one big task, two medium tasks, and three small tasks. This drives you to get the priority task completed first and use the momentum to drive your motivation in completing subsequent tasks.
- Be organized. Avoid using scraps of paper to take notes; get a notebook so all of your lists, notes, and data are in one place. Or find an app where you can record information, notes, and data for easy access anywhere. Whatever organization method fits your working style best, use it; what’s important is to be consistent.
- Delegate. No one knows everything and the sign of a good safety leader is understanding when you need to bring others in on a project for their expertise. Use the time that delegating offers you to carry out higher priority tasks. Schedule secondary meetings with those you’ve delegated tasks to; this will ensure follow-through so nothing gets overlooked.
- Approach your tasks strategically. Consider your work in the context of company values, goals, and objectives. You may be spending time on things not directly relevant to those principles. Use planning to align your work with the company’s.
- Troubleshoot issues as they come up instead of putting them off. It’s the difference between spending 15 minutes to make a decision now or 10 extra minutes getting up to speed on this same problem it’s still going to take you 15 minutes to solve next week because you don’t remember the crux of the issue.
When workplace safety professionals have good time management skills, they’re better able to handle multiple priorities without letting anything slip through the cracks. Good time management also means less stress and confusion at work. These skills come through practice, and what works for one person might not work for another; what’s most important is finding the habits that serve you and your work best and sticking to them.