If you can do ALL of these things well then you will be more productive, will FEEL more productive … and hence will be able to spend more of that time on leisure activities!
#1. PLAN your time and then WORK for plan … don’t just coast, letting time run you!
#2. Learn to determine those (very few) situations that are REALLY urgent and require immediate attention. Fit everything else into your plan!
#3. DON”T be driven by the phone … just because it rings doesn’t men you have to interrupt your current task and answer it!
#4. DON’T be driven by your technology (email, text message,instant message) … just like the phone, there is no rule says you have to stop what you are doing and read that email that just came in! (Tip: Plan time in your day for email … and stick to it!)
#5. Identify all of the “regular tasks” you perform in a month, quarter, year … and build them into your plan. eg. That monthly report for your boss. Perhaps you can plan to take a couple of minutes and make a few notes every evening and set aside the time to pull it together at the end of the month.
#6. Identify your most “productive” time (for sales people it would be the time they can be talking to clients) … and plan to handle administrivia at OTHER times.
#7. Create CLEAR rules about interruptions! Don’t allow people to just wander in and interrupt your thought processes. Have a sign that you have up when you are not to be interrupted or set aside time each day for “no interruption type work”, or plan time for meeting with those people who do habitually interrupt your day.
#8. Build in interaction time! You do need to interact with your colleagues and staff … if you are a manager this might be “walking around time”.
#9. Build in thinking time. Time to NOT work on the day to day stuff, and to not be interrupted … time when you can plan, strategise, think clearly.
#10. Build in time to review your time management plan:
- What is working and what isn’t;
- What can you do differently;
- Time to learn more and new time management techniques;
- Time to work on your personal “continual improvement plan”.
We are all different, our jobs have different demands … but ultimately we need to take charge of our time if we are going to be our most efficient.
I hope these tips are useful and maybe it will give you a little more time to sit on a patio and sip a cold one over the Summer!