Season’s greetings from the Think Productive team,
It’s that time of year when things start to wind down and we all get those final preparations done for Christmas. Very quickly, we’ll all be thinking about New Year’s Resolutions, so below is a little New Year’s gift for you.
We understand it’s hard keeping a resolution throughout the whole year, so we have created this kit to help more people succeed in keeping their resolutions. The kit will help you select resolutions and how to plan ahead so you can achieve them.
Click Here to download your resolution kit.
We hope the kit is useful and feel free to share with your colleagues and friends.
Have a great break and we will see you in the new year!
In my previous post I spoke about how to plan your workload and stick to it (which can be found here)
So now we understand how to plan our work let’s look at how to avoid wasting time.
1- Use your time wisely
• Consider accessing your e-mail only at certain times of the day and let your voice mail pick up your calls to give you an uninterrupted hour or two.
• Do not open your mail unless you have time to read it and take action on it; that is, reply to it, delegate it, file it or discard it.
• When you do have the time to read emails, if possible, never touch the same email twice. Deal with each email as soon as you look at it, again this maybe to take action on it, reply to it, delegate it or discard it.
• Turn off your email notifications so you are not drawn to a new email every time the little box pops up.
2- Get organised
• Organise your desk, your hard-copy and computer files and your e-mail folders so you can find things easily. Far too much time is wasted searching for lost information. Benjamin Franklin said it best: “A place for everything, everything in its place.”
3- Stay on task
• Have a clearly designated “in” tray so people do not put things on your desk randomly. Have you ever returned from a meeting to find extra files, letters and documents all over your desk? Instead of following your own schedule, you probably became sidetracked by someone else’s priorities.
4- Avoid disruptions
• If you have a door, close it occasionally. Having an “open-door policy” for your staff is self-defeating if you don’t have the time to really listen to their questions and concerns. If a coworker comes to your desk when you’re too busy to chat, ask to set an alternate time to meet.
1- Maintain a to-do list and actions list
Create a to-do list and make it a habit to continually update it. Include urgent and non-urgent items so you’ll never forget or overlook anything again. Carry your list with you at all times, either in your iPhone or your daily agenda. This is practical for when your trains delayed – you can go through your list and pick out and do things while you wait for the train. Also, be sure to break down your projects and assignments into specific action points. For instance, instead of noting “Prepare Performance Reviews,” write:
• Research absenteeism records on employees
• Review personal files
• Read employee goals
• Assess performance
• Prepare “Performance Review” documentation
• Meet with employees to discuss reviews
2- Allocate your time
Include an estimated time frame for each action point and the date by which the task must be completed. If the order in which you perform the tasks doesn’t matter, you might be able to accomplish something during unexpected pockets of free time. For instance, you could research information on the internet while waiting in your office for a conference call to begin.
A great tip here is to do the your worst task first – more info on how to do this here: worst first
3- Set and respect deadlines
Be realistic about setting deadlines and strive to meet them. It’s true that any task takes the exact amount of time allotted to it. Have you ever noticed how quickly you can blitz through paperwork, delegate assignments and make decisions on the last day before you go on holiday? Although we tend to get a lot done when we’re under pressure, it is a lot less stressful and considerably more professional to establish and stick to an action plan.
However if you find you only work best in pressure then try the Pomodoro technique to get more done. Find out how to use this technique and download the pomodoro eBook here
1. Get organised:
Choosing which task need to be done and how long to spend on them can be a difficult obstacle on its own; we suggest using the points below to choose your task:
• Choosing your tasks based on a combination of how much energy you have and the task priority
• The next action you actually need to take in order for your tasks to move forward
• Where you need to be in order to proceed with these tasks
2. Use your time productively:
It may seem like you have to be connected to your emails every second of the day but this can in fact put you under unnecessary stress. Seeing messages in your inbox = more work, more work which you can’t do at present. If you can’t work on these tasks right now then why check your email?
It may be useful to give yourself 10minutes at the beginning of the hour to check your emails and organise them, for the rest of that hour concentrate on completing the task in hand and NOT checking your emails.
3. Don’t waste time in meetings:
If you receive a meeting request, ask yourself if you really need to be at that meeting, or if the meeting is absolutely necessary. If not then cancel!
Ever had the problem of not being able to find something you need, when every other day it was right in your face? How frustrating is that?
Organise your desk and computer files so you don’t waste time looking for files/notes/stationary when they are needed most.
5. Take a break:
Short breaks can help you to relax, feel energised and positive, so get away from you desk for a few minutes and have some “me” time.
You could use this time to take a walk, get a cup of tea or even watch a video of a cat getting to grips with an iPad!
Once the allocated break time is up get back to your task! (happy, energised and positive)
6. Get help:
If you need assistance in how to implement these tips and more get yourself booked onto a time management workshop!
Think Productive offering in-house and public workshops which help to implement time management systems through the use of “at-desk” coaching. Find out more here: Think Productive