Let's look at your time management skills. Most of us have to work, and the more you can do in the least amount of time, the better. Working smarter frees you up so that not only do you have a job, but you have a life too!
Getting Back To Basics
The most useful "little helper" for business people must surely be the daily To Do list.
You have a couple of choices:
Write your list in the morning, as the first task at the commencement of your working day.
Step back a bit and take the time to do it before you finish up the night before - as your final flourish for the day. This helps to free your mind so that you don't take your work home with you. Instead, you just leave it there to stew, all by itself, until you arrive next morning to take up the reins.
Write It Down
Effective time management means writing things down so you don't waste your time worrying about what you've forgotten.
Avoid trying to create a To Do list in your head. It must, must, must be written down. And then left somewhere highly visible, such as your desk top. That's why I suggest writing it in your diary, so you can juggle it with your other commitments.
An effective To Do list will almost always be updated during the day. It is not a static document. As your priorities alter with each crisis, your list will be a work in progress.
First of all, don't be unrealistic. Steel yourself to list only the achievable projects and activities. If you are unable to complete a task on the designated day, simply transfer it to the next day or another suitable time in your diary. Look at the daily To Do list as the map that keeps you on track.
When you have written your list in the diary, go back and number each item in order of importance. Then, you can simply start with No. One and work your way through.
Your Work Book
In our busy working lives today, we are bombarded with so many different distractions that it is sometimes difficult to keep track of everything that's going on, particularly if you work in an open-plan office.
Instead of recording on scraps of paper or sticky notes all the zillion thoughts that pass through your mind during these stressful periods, use an inexpensive spiral note book. Anything of importance that you write down can then be found again at a later date. Use it as an adjunct, or a companion, to your diary and as a great memory jogger.
You'll find using a Work Book will help you focus your thoughts, remind yourself of past conversations and save time as you'll no longer have to search for all those "back of envelope" notations.
Taming the Telephone
Murphy's Law of Telephones and Deadlines means that when you are really pressed trying to complete a project on time, the telephone will take off, with a mind of its own.
The pro-active person will rejig their answering message to say something like this: "Hi, it's Joe Bloggs. I'm unavailable right now however if you leave a message stating what your call is about, and the best time to phone you back, I'll get in touch later in the day."
On the other hand, if you have someone working with you who can screen your calls (lucky you) word them up to give a similar message. Asking what the call is about will help you assemble any relevant information before you call back. This will enable you to better plan your day, to return all calls sooner and more effectively.
The Final Word
Keep your time management systems simple because the simpler they are the more likely you will use them. Doing the basics will help you work smarter, not harder.
Have a great week!
Lorraine Pirihi is Australia's Personal Productivity Specialist and Leading Life Coach. Her business The Office Organiser specialises in showing small business owners and managers, how to get organised at work so they can have a life! Lorraine is also a dynamic speaker and has produced many products including "How to Survive and Thrive at Work!"
To subscribe to her free ezine visit http://www.office-organiser.com.au
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