Manage the Clock! The essence of having a prosperous and fulfilling life relies on effective time management skills. It drives all successful individuals and organizations. With today’s demanding and hectic schedules, both at work and home, organizations need to assist staff in managing their time more effectively. Explore these practical tips and techniques that will repeatedly help you manage your time more efficiently at the office . . . And at home.
6 Ways to Manage the Clock
1. Time Logs
A time log is an effective way to see where your time actually goes to during the day. Spend 1 to 2 weeks recording where you spend your time. Log all activities (big and small) and the time it takes to complete them. The time-log provides useful information to establish where your time is going and what you need to adjust. Make sure you record your interruptions, which we will discuss below. Don’t overcomplicate this assignment. Keep it simple. There are a lot of great examples on the Internet, one of my favorites is at http://www.rightattitudes.com/2008/10/21/log-where-time-actually-goes/ where you can scroll to the bottom and actually print off a PDF copy.
2. Quality Time
This is where you plan a block of time to do your most important high priority tasks. You can either schedule them around times of the day you feel your best (for some it’s early in the morning, for others it’s late at night). Many people find Dan Sullivan’s Entrepreneurial Time System to be beneficial. Instead of scheduling blocks of time, you schedule out your days as either focus, buffer, or free days. Whatever works for you, the most important decision is planning for the most important people and projects.
3. Dealing with Documents
Document handling can steal a vast quantity of time from your day. Handle documents only once and improve the paper dilemma by:
- Act on what is required
- File the document for reference later
- Keep a simple file system. You could even have a 3 ring binder versus a traditional file
- The secret to a file system is maintenance. Schedule time for any “to-do” file
- Trash documents immediately
4. Managing Interruptions
In any given day, we are all interrupted. Whether by a phone call or a colleague, they all can impact the time you have allocated to a particular task. An employee spends 28% of their time dealing with unnecessary interruptions and costs the US economy $588 billion per year (2009, Basex). Remember it takes 10 to 15 minutes to get back on track after each interruption. Your objective should be to try to reduce the number of unwanted interruptions by applying the following practical techniques:
- Create a visual barrier at your workspace to reduce the incidence of ‘drop-in’ visits
- Don’t have extra chairs in your workspace – people do not hang around as long if they must stand
- For important work – move to another space so the potential interrupters can’t find you
- Tell people that you are busy, explain why and arrange to contact them at a more suitable time.
- Close the door . . . If there is a fire, they will open it
5. Managing Your Workspace
How your workspace is organized impacts how efficient you are at managing your time. The following will help you improve your efficiency:
- De-clutter your desk by clearing it at the end of each working day
- File immediately
- Purge files regularly. What is your office policy for keeping files? 80% of what gets filed, never gets looked at again.
- Organize a workflow system in your space. Items you use often should be in your million-dollar space (at arm’s length). If you don’t use it, loose it.
6. Managing Your Phone
The telephone can be responsible for eating vast quantities of your time. Although many of these calls are a necessary part of your everyday work it is important that you manage the phone by using the following simple rules:
- Batch your outward calls
- Delegate calls that you don’t have to make personally to a member of your team
- Terminate calls once you finish business. Statistics tells us that if you stand versus sitting at your desk, your calls will be quicker
- Set up a rotation in your team for handling incoming calls
- Time management is a skill you can learn. Be open and committed to learning.
Author, Trainer, Life Organizer®
Melinda Smith, CPO® organizes and executes action plans, training, and consulting. Great referrals are business owners, executives, and companies looking for sustainable change. Above all, she can help create a more productive work, a happy home, and a prosperous you.
Especially relevant is the fact that Melinda has worked with companies and individuals for over 20 years. Conducting workshops across the East Coast, they include over 60 cities in 19 states. Equally important focus topics include Strategic Thinking, Teambuilding, and Organization. As well as Balance Strategies, Stress Management, and Embracing Change.
After all, Melinda was one of the first 200 in the nation to achieve a Certified Professional Organizer status. In addition, she is also a graduate of the Western School of Feng Shui (pronounced feng shway).
Melinda has owned Balance & Harmony 360², Inc., since 2003. She is also the author of The Complete Guide for Balance & Harmony OWL Kit. In addition, this kit consists of a book, workbook, and F.O.C.U.S. Journal as well as five products to help organize Work, Home, and You.
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