My last article set the framework for an effective time management process. Important points included planning, setting priorities, making use of time blocks and saying ‘no’. This article will build on the process and give you some specific techniques to help you get control of your time.
Schedule a quiet time. Get in the habit of taking a part of your day to think about what needs to be done and how you are going to do it. Even 10-15 minutes a day can be very effective at keeping you on point.
Keep records. Develop an awareness of how long it takes you to accomplish various tasks and keep a list. Knowing how long it actually takes for you to complete various activities will make your planning much more realistic and help to eliminate over-scheduling.
Connect your ‘to do’ list with your calendar. Block time in your daily calendar to accomplish items on your ‘to do’ list much like your would block time for a meeting or cook date. Having a specific time allotted for a specific task greatly increases the chance of actually completing the job.
If you often feel that you have little control over your schedule and the events of your day, you may want to consider the following suggestions to get control of your time.
Fight perfectionism. Not everything has to be done perfectly. Fight the urge to spend too much time on unnecessary tasks.
Save energy. Consider ways to accomplish tasks more efficiently. Become a master at multi-tasking. Group similar activities to make the most of your time.
Create a time awareness. Keep a time log for one day to keep track of everything that you do and how long it takes. You may be surprised by some of the items that are consuming a lot of your time.
Handle paper only once. You’ve probably heard this one before but it really does work. Don’t create stacks of paper to be looked at later. Act on paper immediately.
Keep your work area neat. A cluttered desk or work area is not conducive to productivity. Don’t fool yourself by saying you know exactly which pile something is buried in. It will take you a long time to locate things and that is valuable time wasted.
Implement some of these steps and you will be well on your way to effective time management. The next choice will be deciding what to do with the extra time you have left at the end of your day!