In the last issue we suggested that you keep a log of all your day’s activities. Have you done this?
The log that you kept during the last month will show you which problem needs to be solved. Now that you have pinpointed the correct problem, here are some initial tips to help you manage your time more effectively.
Not prioritising what is important:
The evening before or at the start of the day, pick the top three things you want to get done. Doing the most difficult or boring tasks first means you will look forward to the easier ones rather than dreading the difficult ones. If you get to lunchtime, and you have already done your top three, guess what that will do for your performance?
Procrastination: Identify the things you usually avoid and start them now. Give yourself a time limit and stick to it. Break the task down into smaller goals and reward yourself with a break or perhaps a snack so that you’re feeling positive before starting the next one.
Strive for accuracy instead of perfection, use realistic standards and forgive mistakes. You’re not been rewarded for your perfectionism you’re being rewarded for your expertise.
Slow decision making:
Start by defining the goal of a task, then gather the information and the facts. Next, see what other options there are and evaluate them. Select an option and implement your decision. By evaluating your decision you can learn and improve your decision-making process going forward.
Carry out easy jobs while on the phone. Return calls at specific times and be firm but polite with long-winded callers.
Don’t read your email every time your computer beeps to say you have new mail. If using Microsoft Outlook, go to Tools, then options, under the ‘preferences’ section, click on email options, then advanced email options, and un-tick all the boxes in the section headed ‘When new items arrive in my Inbox’, then click ‘ok’. Depending on how busy you are, set aside certain times to read your mail throughout the day and stick to them.
People Interruptions: Allow time to talk to colleagues and employees, stick to the point and wrap up the brief meeting by standing up and heading for the door. Postpone interruptions and say ‘no’ if you have to.
Not being able to say ‘no’:
Ask if you need to make the task a priority before saying ‘yes,’ to a colleague or employee. If it isn’t a priority, then offer to do it later. Before taking on a new commitment, ask yourself if the task or piece of work fits in with your objectives or goals. If it doesn’t, then justify why you’re saying ‘no.’
Organise your workspace and invest in a good filing system that includes document scanning. Keep your desk clear, read effectively and write efficiently. Consider investing in the latest technology to help organise your workflow.
Have an agenda. Appoint a timekeeper, and more importantly a leader who can ask people to get back to the point if it starts to meander. Remember to agree what the next action is, who is responsible for carrying it out and within what timeframe.
If you would like to receive a copy of our popular eBook ‘Top 100 Tips to Find More Time’, simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.