What separates a good tester from a great tester? Passion and skill, to be sure, but also effective time management. So to help you improve your time management skills and join the ranks of the truly great testers, I wanted to share these six tips courtesy of Entrepenuer.com:
- Think sprint, not marathon. We are not designed to “park it” at a desk for eight hours at a stretch and get all of our work done. Short, uninterrupted bursts of concentration are the key to knocking out good work. Get a kitchen timer, or stopwatch. Set it for 45 or 60 minutes, and don’t stop until you hear the buzzer. You’d be amazed at what you can accomplish in one good uninterrupted hour.
- Be selfish. Once you have prioritized your to-do list, you must put that ahead of all others’ lists. When you are able to get your own work done, you are in a much better position to support others with their projects. But your work comes first. Always.
- Date stamp your expectation. Whenever you request a deliverable from someone, do not simply ask for it, but also inquire when you can expect to receive it. Things tend to happen much faster when there is an explicit deadline. Similarly, if someone asks something from you, ask them when they need it by. Then write it in a calendar.
- Touch it once. With the never-ending onslaught of email, it’s crucial that you have a good filing system in place. My rule is “read it once” — then decide what to do with the information, then do it. Same thing with other incoming requests. Touch it once, do something with it, then let it go.
- Face time saves time. Don’t try to figure out what someone meant in a confusing email; go straight to the source and ask. This saves on time, energy and mistakes. Asking for, and giving, clear communication is key.
What tips do you have for improving time management skills? Share them in the comments section…then get back to work!