Muffy Kaesberg & JoEllen Salkin of Organizing4U
We have recently been asked to give talks about time management - it is obvious to us that finding enough time in the day is a challenge for many people. Highlights from our talk follow and we hope at least one of these ideas will resonate with you.
1) Manage your time just the way you would your things. Time can be compared to money! Being inefficient with your time can be costly to you and/or your employer. Studies have shown that office employees waste up to 40% of their day. This puts a burden on other employees, can result in missed deadline, and create unnecessary stress. At home, if you spend 20 minutes a day looking for lost things, that amounts to 5 days a year!
2) Learn to plan your day. If you wake up each day and have your day planned out on your calendar, you know where you need to be and what you are going to accomplish. Don't do this yet? The best way to start is choose which kind of calendar you prefer to use - either paper or electronic will work. First, make a list of all of the tasks you need to do that day, and then prioritize those tasks in order of importance. By ranking the tasks, you will make sure to accomplish the most important items. Lastly, assign those tasks a time slot on your calendar. Take into consideration how long each task will take, what time of day makes the most sense for that task, and what time of the day you personally do your best work. Another suggestion we have is blocking some time for reviewing emails and another for returning phone calls. Remember to schedule lunch and break times which are important to your overall productivity.
3) Avoid interruptions. It is easy to be distracted, so make a point of trying to stay focused on your task at hand. Turn off the phone alerts, don't answer the phone and don't look at emails. Those can be attended to after your project is finished. If colleagues tend to interupt, ask them to come back at a later time. Stick to the blocks of time on your calendar, and you will find you are more productive.
4) Avoid procrastination. Do you have trouble with this some of the time or all of the time? Most of us tend to put off those tasks we really don't love to do...Try attacking those things during your most productive time of the day-perhaps that is first thing in the morning or at the end of the day. Whatever works for you is great...JUST DO IT!