1- Keep busy
Keep your skills sharp by working on only ONE project at a time. working on multiple tasks at the same time can cause you to lose concentration on one or the other, it also takes the brain a while to get into gear and really get to work, so by changing your tasks every minute your brain doesn’t get the chance get into the task and complete it.
2- Stop procrastinating
It’s human nature to postpone unpleasant tasks. Schedule some of the more fun aspects of the project to follow the negative ones. If you dislike working with figures, plan to do the accounting tasks first thing in the morning when you’re fresh and there are fewer opportunities for distraction. If you continually put things off and miss deadlines, perhaps you should look carefully at your current job, your career goals, your strengths, and your interests. Habitual procrastination is often a sign of dissatisfaction.
3- Reward yourself
Time management is not entirely about work; it also involves scheduling some downtime to relax and recharge your batteries. Plan rewards once your tasks are completed. This could mean taking a coffee break as soon as you’ve finished reading the engineering specifications report or planning a vacation once the new product has been launched.
1- Collaborate and cooperate
Colleagues will expect your work to be done on time, so be sure to avoid any delays. You’ll have the same expectations of them. To be safe, build extra time into the project time line to counteract unexpected snags, miscommunications or missed deadlines. If your presentation date is the 25th of the month, make sure you have everything scheduled for completion by the 23rd.
2- Avoid unnecessary follow-ups
If you pass the buck or delegate work to someone else, let it go unless it is your specific responsibility to oversee it. Too many people waste valuable time listening to or reading reports about someone else’s project. If your colleagues’ research or business responsibilities do not impact your day-to-day work, job performance or career goals, you should only express an interest by way of supportive conversation.
3- Cancel routine meetings
Determine if meetings are absolutely necessary. If they are, establish an agenda and stay on track — start and end on time. If your presence is not essential for the entire weekly operations review meeting, ask your boss privately if it might be appropriate for you to excuse yourself early.
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.