Getting the most out of your day can be difficult with a busy schedule, but you can use these tips to help you maximize your time in order to be better available to employees.
Do your personal email first. Productivity experts will tell you this is wrong, but if you read family mail only after you have read all your office mail (including the interoffice memo about parking spaces) is simply bad for moral. This does not mean you encourage people to spend time on family mail, just get it out of the way. After that, everything else will be a breeze.
Do your least favorite tasks second. Get your most tedious and least desirable tasks out of the way earlier in the day. This will give you a more positive outlook on the rest of the day.
Focus your energy on things that matter. Don’t let trivial tasks take time away from things that are really important. After that least favorite tasks you follow a to-do list. Find a good to-do list to track your daily items, and stick to it.
Do not make a list of 4000 items that will be done in six years and call it a to-do list. The 4000 item list is called a master list and will include things like learn Latin and swim across the Chari River. It includes all your hopes, dreams, and will not get done today.
A to-do list is a list of things that you will do today or your day will be unproductive; meet with Bob, lunch with new client, interview one new sales manager, pick up laundry on the way home. Put you list in the order of priority and of time. You have an appointment with the interviewee and the new client, so set the meeting with Bob first thing or at the end of the day. Call Bob to confirm.
Do only what is necessary but plan more than you think you can do. Your to-do list has the great option of things that don’t have to be done today, but some things need to be done by the end of next week. Always include a little extra, it can actually be a great motivator. If you manage to get everything done, you’ll enjoy a great sense of achievement and if you don’t, the to-do list for tomorrow is ready for more. Get the key things done first, then see if you have time for additional things.
Be on time. In fact, be known for being on time. You don’t waste other people’s time and you do not expect your time to be wasted. This is actually a big deal. Never keep people waiting for appointments or meetings if you can help it. If you have this type reputation then on the rare occasion that you arrive late you simple say ‘excuse me, I was detained.’ No need for a story, people will trust that there was a valid reason.
Get to work early at least once a week. That uninterrupted time in an unoccupied office can help you get things done or allow you to organize your to-do list for the day. Line everything up before there are any distractions to slow you down.
If you are the boss, don’t stay late. People often feel they have to leave no earlier than their boss. If you are the boss and really have work to do, take it home and do it after the kids are in bed.
Identify things which waste your time. Do you take a long coffee break or have a colleague that talks just a bit too much? Figure these out and cut them out of your day. Everyone has little things that detract their attention and make them lose focus. If you can do this and save 30 minutes a day, pass the idea on in conversation (to that colleague that likes to talk) and your team will be 30 minutes more productive per person per day. For a 5 person team, 30 minutes per person adds up to over 3 extra months of work being accomplished in a given year.
Get the most out of meetings. This is like being on time. Be organized and prepared for each meeting to increase everyone’s productivity. Saving time was already mentioned. Is it possible to save an additional hour each week by effectiveness and proper time management?
Create a schedule for email and online time. Look at mail first thing each morning and again at 4 in the afternoon, or leave it opened all day. This comes down to the individual and you have to find out what system works best for you. If you decide to change, make sure that people are aware, You don’t want people to email you for a quick answer if you are only looking at mail once a day. No matter what your schedule, stick to it.
Stick to schedules and routines. They are not exciting, but schedules and routines can help streamline and improve your productivity. This will also help others be more productive because no stressed out time wasted looking for you when you are not there.
Not all stress is bad.
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