Tag Archives: time management
If you are a committed worker, you certainly have your little tricks to maximize efficiency and increase productivity. Also, you should be aware that saving time is quite important. Let’s go through some productivity tips that might be helpful.
Organize Your Real Time
Remember that the time marked by the clock and real time don’t always match. Basically, it is important to remember that real time is the time devoted to work, which should always be your point of reference. If, for instance, you have 8 or 9 hours, you will probably be able to use 6 of them to complete your job, considering breaks, loss of attention, phone calls and distractions. “6 hours” is your real time. Be realistic with respect to the time available and you’ll be able to offer realistic deadlines.
Organize Your Effort and Your Calendar
Small sprints are very efficient. When you have a big project, break it up into a series of smaller goals. This will ease the pressure and it will also allow you to be more efficient, as Gantt demonstrated. Furthermore, use your calendar in an intelligent way, so that it will contain all the relevant data without requiring excessive attention. There are many programs that can save you time, energy and stress, you should learn how to use them. If you use Google Mail, for instance, you can opt for Google Calendar. You can also try Streak, it is very easy to use and extremely helpful. Plus, there are all kinds of applications that help you synchronize the calendar with your smartphone.
Organize Your Working Life
Productivity is measured not only in terms of operational skills, which constitute only a small part of your working life. Brainstorming, meetings and research sessions are, in fact, extremely important too. You have to make sure you leave enough time for these activities, because creativity and knowledge are essential if you want to maximize your productivity. Although it might seem counter-intuitive, if you spend enough time thinking you will do things faster.
Also, close anxiety and worries out of the office. Among the many distractions that characterize a working day, there are many small things that are related to your personal life and that can deeply affect your productivity. Finding a good school for your children, knowing they are safe, hiring a trustworthy person to take care of the house and finding a reliable company to look after your yard (here is an example, if you are looking for a good one), are all ways to increase your inner peace and your productivity.
Knowing that you will return to a clean, welcoming house with a garden full of flowers and colors, and having the certainty that your children are happy and safe, will free your mind and will save you a lot of precious time that you would otherwise spend preoccupying for everything and everyone. Your productivity and your efficiency are truly the consequence of your skills but never forget to take care of your emotions. We are, and we will always be, much more than workers: we are human beings.
Are you a Professional Waster? Do you waste minutes and even hours each week in frustration as you search for things you know that you own but can’t find when you need them?
We all have the same amount of hours in the day and when we spend a great amount of our time LOOKING for things instead of DOING things it can become a real drain on our emotions and our energy. Buying things you already own but can’t find and have to buy again is also a big drain on your finances.
As a Professional Organizer, I watch many of my clients experience guilt because they just can’t seem to get a handle on their clutter. Some are even embarrassed to have guests over in fear that they might peek into their overstuffed closets and cabinets.
Have you ever noticed how clutter creates more clutter? Piles create more piles. Things pile up, on, and around your piles to create more piles. Then your piles fall over, and there are things in front of the things you need to get to, so on and so forth and then you simply give up. I see this happen every day.
Too much clutter results in feelings of anxiety and stress. Clutter also drains your energy and can make you feel restricted in your own home.
When you can’t find things when you need them, whether it’s tools, cleaning products, or your favorite baking dish you begin to feel that the rest of your life is also out of control. This feeling spirals inward and outward from there. I know how you feel.
As a Board Certified Professional Organizer I know that creating order can be overwhelming and frustrating. I know that clutter is a big mental and physical drain. It can cause illness, depression and fatigue. I also know that it can be extremely difficult to even get started.
I understand completely how overwhelmed you must feel because I have been there in the trenches helping clients with these same challenges for over ten years.
You don’t need another book to clutter up your bookcase or more words to clutter up your brain. What you need is a weekly “here’s what you do next” action step to complete. What you need is someone to show you how to quickly get started and then keep training and motivating you week after week so you don’t get stalled along the way.
This is the reason why I created my new online get your home organized course!
Instead of simply publishing this information in some ebook or offering a quick coaching program, I’m making it available to you week after week in action-sized portions so you’ll actually get results.
Clutter can take the form of too many things to do with too little time. Clear your schedule by removing the things that are not your biggest priority. Focus on the 3 things that will really move you toward your BIG goals. Try it – you will feel a huge sense of satisfaction and much less frustration!
Time is our most precious resource. We all have the same amount and although it can never be replaced, it can be optimized. During this busy holiday season it is especially important that you prioritize your list of tasks at the beginning of each week and also each day.
Begin by recognizing your daily energy peaks and surges. Use your biological rhythms to your advantage. Identify the times of day when your energy levels are high and schedule your most important tasks at those times. For example, if you don’t function well in the morning, plan your brain-intensive activities for late afternoon and use the morning for errands or follow-up phone calls. After you determine your most productive hours, you can begin to tackle your scheduling issues.
To accomplish more each day, never do errands on impulse. Plan your routes carefully, handling as many errands as possible each time. The sequence in which you perform tasks on an everyday basis has a profound effect on how much you accomplish in life.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, every minute that you spend planning your day will save you three – five minutes later. I Minute Planning = 3-5 Minutes Extra! Abraham Lincoln stated that every one hour of preparation saved him three hours of perspiration. Are you ready to change your habits to have more free time?
The very act of taking a moment to think about your time before you begin your day will improve your time management skills dramatically. Take for instance, you need to run several errands and make several stops today. If you think before you drive and consolidate your trip into zones, you will save gas, time and money. You can cross off each errand on a well-thought out route planned to avoid traffic and back-tracking.
Chunking tasks into similar activities will also help you optimize your schedule. Double up on certain tasks. Do small tasks simultaneously, such as sorting through mail while you are talking on the phone or answering emails while eating lunch.
Sometimes there just isn’t enough time to do everything on your list. As you go about your day, you might decide to push a low priority item onto a future day’s schedule. Timelines will also reposition activities of lower priority to activities of higher priority as you near deadlines.
Diligence and flexibility will help you reshuffle your priorities as necessary. The best schedule is one that is fluid and able to seize the golden opportunities as they present themselves.
These tips will help cross off everything on your list quickly and still give you time to relax and enjoy the holidays! Kathi is a Professional Organizer, image Consultant based in San Diego California.
Please submit your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
San Diego Professional Organizer
Take time to schedule and manage your emails and phone calls
a. Never check email or voice mail first thing in the morning
b. Schedule regular times to check emails and stick to it
c. Read recent emails first
d. Allocate the amount of time you will spend and stop promptly
e. Create email signatures to sign off with one click
f. Read it, delete or move it
Pre-plan and then plan again – keep your eye on your large goals
a. Plan next week either on Friday afternoon (business) or Sunday evening (mom)
b. Plan your day before it plans you!
Set your intentions and goals for the day in advance of that day
The day before, the night before or in the morning before you begin your tasks for that day
c. Allocate specific time slots for recurring tasks, do them over and over at the same time each week
Gasoline, banking, grocery shopping
Calls, reports, marketing
Arrive early for appointments
Spend the time you wait for others to plan what you want to accomplish in the meeting
a. This will decrease your stress level
b. You will appear poised, professional & in control of your schedule instead of harried and disorganized
Umbrella Your Day
(create chunks of time for related activities)
a. Divide your main responsibilities into 5 days, for example:
1. Planning Day – (Friday or Monday)
2. Current Large Project
3. Outside Appointments, Errands
4. Bills / Paperwork
Create an exit area in your office for all items that need to leave your space.
a. Place things there as you find them.
b. Choose an area on your desk or credenza that is positioned towards the door
Create ‘To Do’ Lists
a. Complete the three most important tasks each day before you move onto anything else
Take Control Your Papers
a. Check it, move it into a predetermined place off the counter until you are ready to take action
b. Handle it only once before you work on it
Learn to say NO
a. Don’t volunteer until you take a moment to determine whether you have the time to fulfill the commitment
b. Give yourself permission to reconsider commitments
Delete unnecessary tasks from your schedule that detract from your BIG picture goals
c. Don’t automatically respond to another person’s problem / fire before you determine whether it is going to foul up your agenda
Time is a finite resource. Everyone has the same amount of hours in the day and the same amount of days in the week. When your schedule is overbooked, the result is often subtle. Minutes and hours evaporate each day from your life. (more…)
My office just cut back on staff. Now I’m temporarily handling my normal workload along with two other missing team members. How can I work more efficiently? I’m tired of having dinner with the night janitor.
Ben, San Marcos
Double up on certain tasks. Do small tasks simultaneously, such as sorting through mail while you are talking on the phone, or purging files while eating lunch.
And, my usual advice, take many short breaks throughout your day to stretch and refresh. You will inevitably accomplish more with less effort using this method.
1. Learn to say NO
“Life is a journey, but it is not a race. Do yourself a favor and slow down.” Richard Swenson, MD
Take Control and Create More Time
Arrive early for appointments
* Relieve unnecessary stress
When you regularly arrive early for appointments, you appear more organized and professional and also automatically become more organized and professional. The time you spend waiting before a meeting begins can be very valuable. Use this time to determine in advance, what you wish to accomplish during that meeting. Jot a few notes with questions to ask and outcomes to aspire towards. Your meetings will then become shorter, more effective and require less energy for all parties concerned.
Create ‘To Do’ Lists
* Palm /Blackberry
Complete the 3 most important tasks first each day and you will be on your way to fulfilling your dreams and reaching your goals!
Control Your Email
* Avoid the time vortex
Manage Your Voice Mail
* Do not check voicemail before you plan your day
Learn to say NO
* Pause before you make a new commitment
Manage Your Paper Flow
* Develop a system for paper flowing
* Check it to determine action needed
Create an Exit Strategy
* Create a consistent holding area for all things that need to leave your office
Keys To Mastering Your Time
* Knowing what you want to accomplish and why
* Set your intention for each week before you begin that week
Abe Lincoln’s Philosophy:
• Preparation involves Planning – short and long term
Being prepared means that you have spare tools on hand and quickly accessible. To be prepared, store frequently used back-up supplies in your office and close to your desk. Take a look around your work area. Do you have these items available without having to get up from your desk to retrieve them?
• Extra paper
The average person that leaves their workspace in a corporate work environment is gone 8 1/2 minutes. In a home-based office, that number can easily triple to over 20 minutes. After all, you might have to pet Fido, check the mailbox or make a pit stop at the coffee pot!
Plan your schedule before it plans you! Preplan & then plan again. Use Friday afternoon and/or Monday morning to decide what you will accomplish that week. In order to keep your eye on the big picture, it is critical to block time in advance of your workweek for setting your intentions. The most influential business people take time every week to plan their agenda. Most do this as a wrap at the end of the week and again before they begin work on Monday.
On Friday, before you end the day, make notes about what you were not able to finish on your tasks/goals list and move those items forward onto the next week’s schedule.
On Monday, before the day begins, which means literally before checking emails, voice mails and attending meetings, take the time to schedule your unfinished tasks. Compile your new list of tasks to accomplish that week. Set your schedule as much as possible during this critical planning time. Create umbrellas or intentions of activities planned for each day that week.
Time Management – Umbrella Your Day
You save countless hours by grouping related tasks together in to the same time frame. For instance, making all of your follow up calls together, researching in long uninterrupted blocks of time. To umbrella your tasks, you first need to list the tasks that you need to perform every week onto a sheet of paper. Then you can begin to allocate time in your schedule for these recurring tasks. Block tasks into similar types of activities, for instance, phone calls, paperwork, outside meetings. • Divide your main job activities into 5 days
* Planning Day (Friday or Monday)
• Create chunks of time for related activities, if possible by day. Inotherwords, if you need to research client files every week, schedule your research for the same day each week. The benefit of this is that when a client calls for information, you can safely tell them tat you will be working on it on a specific day. I know what you are thinking at this point, “but they want it now!”Trust me when I say this, clients care more about the quality of your work and whether you meet your promised delivery date more than they care about instant gratification. Good things take time. As an entrepreneur for the past twenty years, my clients have taught me this over and over again. You can offer price, service or quality – choose two of these because you can never offer all three consistently. I have always chosen service and quality. Lower pricing always involves speed because of low margins, which, in turn, sacrifices quality and service. Okay, enough Sales 101 training… The same rule applies for outside meetings, filing, phone calls and whatever else you need to do to be successful in your career. If you know when you will be able to make phone calls, you can easily tell your clients when you will be getting back to them. Filing on a regular basis will relieve you of paper maladies that also block your productivity.
This tactic not only helps you increase productivity, it also gives you a solid structure to provide amazing service to your clients. This method allows you to tell your clients exactly when you will work on their project and helps you set future appointments with ease. For instance, if you know that you are on outside appointments every Thursday, you know that this is the time to book the appointment time when a client requests a meeting.
Granted, things happen and there is never a perfect and consistent schedule. Some clients might insist that you see them on a different day than your designated “client meeting day”. The upside to umbrella planning is that if you decide to honor their request, you are fully aware of what will get bumped in order to accommodate them. Knowing this, you can make a very informed decision about whether to bend to their scheduling needs. Sometimes it is advantageous, sometimes not. More often then not, clients are more flexible than they acknowledge, especially if they know that you are organized and professional with your schedule.
Check back for the continuation of this article…