Constantly interrupted by emails, phone calls and can't seem to get achieve your goals?
Spend all morning at your desk with nothing on paper to show for it?
A common denominator with my clients and connections is the challenge of managing time. Most of us simply have too much to do in the hours we have available. And a confession, time management is my biggest challenge and something I'm constantly working to improve on.
Here are some easy to follow time management tips:
- Spend time planning and organizing: Take the first 30 minutes of every day to plan your day. Don't start your day until you complete your time plan. The most important time of your day is the time you schedule to schedule time.
- Set goals: Goals give your life, and the way you spend your time, direction. Set realistic goals that will stretch you without being unachievable.
- Prioritize: Prioritize time to concentrate your work on those items with the greatest reward. Flagging items with a deadline is another way of helping you stick to your priorities.
- Use a TO DO list: While some like to construct a daily 'to do' list in the evening or early morning, others may prefer a running list that is constantly updated. Experiment with what works for you, co-ordinate your list with your calendar and cross off those tasks!
- Be flexible: Allow time for interruptions and distractions. Experts suggest that planning for 50% of your time gives you the flexibility to handle those unplanned emergencies and interruptions. When you expect to be interrupted, handle those routine tasks that can be dealt with quickly.
- Practice the Art of Intelligent Neglect: Eliminate from your life trivial tasks which do not have long term consequences for you. Can you delegate or eliminate any of your To Do list? Work on those tasks you alone can do, delegate where possible (and this is where a Virtual Assistant comes in handy!).
- Conquer procrastination - When you are avoiding tackling the big jobs, break them up into smaller, bite-sized tasks. If this doesn't work for you, try using a timer and working on your task for 15-30 minutes at a time.
- Schedule time for interruptions: Plan time to be pulled away from what you're doing which will reduce your frustration when your well-planned day turns to custard.
- Minimise distraction: Practice not answering the phone just because it's ringing and answering e-mails just because they show up. Disconnect instant messaging. Turn off push notifications on your phone and close social media browsers.
- Pay close attention to how you are spending your time: Write down every single thing you do for a week and record how long you spend on each of these tasks. Go back and analyse how you spent your week and make improvements based on this information.
- Embrace technology: There are many online and mobile applications available which can be invaluable with saving time, working smarter and increasing the effectiveness in how we work. I have listed some of these tools in my Toolbox.
For even more effective Time Management, outsource to your Virtual Assistant by contacting me today.
Your turn: What is your best time management tip, resource or application?
Your Virtual Assistant Ltd, Auckland