Only you can take charge of what you do with your time. If you don’t, all those emails, text messages, “quick meetings” and phone calls can derail your day.
1.Plan your day. Take the first 20-30 minutes each morning to set goals for the top items you need to address that day and try your best to stick to them. Remember the old adage “Fail to prepare = prepare to fail”. It’s also very satisfying to mark items “Done!”
2.Set specific check-messages times during the day (9:00, 11:00, 13:00, 15:00) and let others in your organization know what they are. If there is a TRUE emergency, tell them to call you or come see you directly. It takes several seconds to stop working mid-stream to check that little “ding” telling you that you have a new email and then switch back to the work at hand.
3.Use your Out-of-Office notification in your email to let others know you’re at a client site, in training or in a meeting. Whenever possible, provide an alternate email or phone number for those experiencing a crisis and give a specific time when you’ll be able to respond.
4.When you absolutely need to concentrate on a task, use your Do-not-Disturb on your phone. If there is an emergency, people will find you. Otherwise, you’ll be able to check voice mail and determine the priority of the call response on your next check-in time.
5.You’ve been on vacation for a week, deliberately ignoring all your business email. The calm you recaptured is threatened by the thought of the hundreds of emails awaiting you on your return. Take an hour the night before and wade through them. Knowing exactly what your pressing needs are will take away some of the stress of the unknown.
6.Make meetings meaningful. Only include those people that are specifically needed rather than inviting everyone. Build an agenda, publish it with the meeting and keep to it. Think of it like a grocery shopping list – if you’re prepared, you get in and out and don’t get side-tracked by other non-essential items.
7.Realize you’re not super-human. In most organizations, there will always be more work than hours in the day. Scheduling time on your calendar for each project or task in their proper priority, based on your day planning, will create a daily flow. Before leaving for the day, move any items you did not get to and re-prioritize. Then, go home and relax – play outside with the kids, walk the dog. Turn off the computer…and the phone…they’ll still be there in the morning.
(Taken from several different source articles on Time Management tips from Entrepreneur Magazine, Psychology Today, Dartmouth College and many others).
Lisa is a Sage HRMS consultant on the CS3 team. She has years of experience in project work, managing complex calendars for herself and her team members.