By: Marsha Petrie Sue, MBA
- Ask yourself several times a day: Is this the best use of my time right now? If it isn’t, redirect what you are doing.
- When your ‘To Do’ list is overwhelming play a game with yourself. Pretend you are leaving for a long period of time (I use a week) and ask yourself: If I had time to do just one thing on my to do list, which one would I do? Give yourself 30 minutes of uninterrupted time to complete the task. Then read through your list again. An overwhelmed mind will not make a decision on what to do.
- Keep a time log for at least three days. You can’t manage your time if you don’t know how you are currently spending it. Include the activity and how long it took to complete. Separate the 24-hour periods. Determine how you could bundle or time block activities like phone calls, email, training, etc. Remember that every time you shift gears to a new activity, you loose approximately 6 – 8 minutes because it takes that long to get your concentration to a point of execution.
- Appointment books and/or calendars work. And don’t forget to block time for yourself. Use the ‘alert’ feature. Get training if you need it!
- It’s rude to be late. Period. Set ground rules for yourself and others about being on time.
- Leave 20% of your day for the unexpected. Your time log will allow you to customize this percentage. It may be 10% but it is probably 30% + of your day that is eaten up by the emergencies and putting out fires.
- Review emergencies and dissect them to see if more planning, communication, training, etc. will help prevent them, or at least reduce the time you spend on the crazy train for the future.
- Review your plan for tomorrow just prior to going to bed. Your brain is powerful and will begin to detail out your actions for the ‘To Do’s’ on your list. Then take 5 – 10 minutes at the beginning of your day to quickly review your list.
- Before you call or go to a meeting, take a few minutes to determine the results you want from the interaction. What do you want them to do, think or feel?
- Put up a “Do not disturb” sign when you absolutely have to get work done. But keep it up for no more that 30 minutes. Make a ground rule of what constitutes an interruption to that sign (i.e. Something is on fire or dying.) Put your phone, email, texting, etc. on silent or DND (do not disturb).
“I am definitely going to take a course on time management… just as soon as I can work it into my schedule.” Anonymous