In my long years as an employee I have learned some Skills that I now use on a daily basis. The last couple of those years I had a very intensive job with a lot on my plate to deal with.
One as important as the other, so prioritizing was not that easy.
On Project Management skills I will write some blogs in the future, for now I would like to focus on the one thing that seems to be in permanent shortage: TIME.
Everybody has to deal with the fact that we only have 24 hours in a day. How we spend these hours is up to us. Although we sometimes feel as if time is controlling us, the truth is, that it is the other way around. We choose to let it control us.
These are the obvious Tips when Managing your Time. They truly work.
1. List all the “Projects” you need to get done with their time-line and deadlines and put them in one calender.
2. Per “Project” determine the actions to be taken and even more importantly, the sequence of the actions. Some tasks need to be in sequence (you can only clean the room, after it has been tidied up) others can be done simultaneously.
3. Make a daily list of 6 tasks to be accomplished that are the most important. Make this list the evening before or early in the morning. It simple and straightforward.
4. Determine realistically how long each of these tasks take. E.g. a meeting takes 45 min maximum, plan 15 min between meetings and plan preparation time for the meeting.
5. Divide working time and private time. Plan only 8 working hours a day. Of these working hours, you can only plan 6 hours with tasks. The other 2 hours you will need for unplanned activities. If the 6 working tasks take more than 6 hours, you know you are in trouble.
6. When in trouble, you will have to start thinking smart. What can I “outsource”? Who else could I ask to help? What task can I postpone? And the most difficult one, what should I let go of? Do you really have to check your emails every 3 minutes? Is being on the Social Media net part of the work, or rather a “nice to do”?
7. Plan the day per periods and put the 6 activities in. Always start with the most difficult task. When that one is done, you often feel less pressured afterwards and more up to facing the next activities.
8. Learn the “Touch it Once” rule. If you have determined what is most important to do and in what order, stick to the order. When that is clear, the “touch it once” rule is easier to apply. It simply means that what you pick up (whether it is now picking up a magazine, opening an email, picking up the phone etc) you will handle this item and finish immediately. So you better think twice before opening an email or picking up the phone while working on a task. This would mean that your dedicated time on that activity gets in the danger-zone if the new information is on something else.
Some people feel that not picking up the phone is impossible. At least in your professional life it should not a problem. With all the different ways of communication, the message that needed to reach you can be captured and received on a later moment.
By the way, how professional is it, if you can be reached all the time? How well are you performing the task at hand when you are dealing with other messages at the same time?
Our abilities for Multi-Tasking has been subject to many studies and the overall conclusion is that we always loose focus on both activities we try to do on the same time. If you need to be considered a professional, better start behaving as one….and dedicate your full talent to the task at hand.
There is much more to be said about Time Management and I will come back on the theme in future blogs.
What are your methods to manage your time? Share your experience and tips with the readers of the blog and myself. We are eager to learn more from you.
If you want to discuss how you can be helped to manage your time, you can always contact me directly.
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