1. Right Tools for the Job: Let’s say that you have a recurring monthly project that requires input or information from various sources. It would be beneficial if you could meet with those providers to discuss your requirements. You may be able to have the information reformatted and all you need to do is compile it. That could be the right tool for the job.
2. Factor in Interruptions: Allow a buffer for the a few crisis, unexpected meetings and other unplanned events or interruptions. There is no magic recommendation. However, you know the kinds of interruptions that have occurred in the past and they can be used as a template for the future. It would be with the time to analyze the last month to determine that number, nature and time required to cope with the interruptions. After the analysis, insert the average time into your future plans.
3. Ditch Work that has No Outcome: To use a well-worn cliché, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Depending on your situation, this tip may need to be discussed with your team leader. But, to the extent possible, if you can’t figure out why you are performing a task or function, discuss it with your team leader to determine if you should continue or if the task can be assigned to someone else. Ask, “Why am I doing this task? Is it important? Will it achieve a positive outcome for you? Or is it just ‘busy-work’? If there’s no clear outcome stop wasting time on it. Stop. It. Now.
4. Ignore Certain Things: I am not suggesting dereliction of duty. On the contrary, if you can be removed from certain distribution lists, you can save time by not even seeing certain emails. Email is a very valuable tool if used properly. At the very minimum, if you can’t be removed from certain distribution lists, create a folder for them and a rule to send certain emails there automatically and will be there if needed.
5. Minimize Distractions: So who on earth can concentrate with email pop-ups, noisy text alerts, Messenger pings, app updates, and 23 browser tabs open simultaneously? You might think you’re a master of multi-tasking, but Myth busters busted that AGES ago (spoiler alert – we’re all really bad a multi-tasking, it’s just not possible). So shut your office door, tell your cubical buddy to keep it down, turn off all your whirl/ping/beeps and just focus. You will achieve a much better result and feel a lot calmer for it.
6. Important Tasks First: For many of us, our energy and focus is at the highest level early in our work day. You need a system that denotes “Important and Urgent.” These are the tasks or responsibilities that must be done to achieve your professional results, sales goals or operate a profitable business. This is also one aspect of prioritization. Stick to the big-ticket items and you will make the highest and best use of your time.
7. Learn to say NO: The problem is that all of us have the same amount of time in a day. But the difference between success and failure is how we use that time. The absolute best time saver that I know is to avoid a task that does not contribute to the achievement of your goals. In other words, finding a way to efficiently completing an unnecessary task is still a waste of valuable time. In some situations, we may not be in a position to say no, but you should at least discuss the particular issue with your team leader as to why you plan to say NO.
Let your team leader know you’d love to help out and you want to be a team player, but you just don’t have the capacity right now unless something can be transferred off your plate. Doing a bit less means you will have time to complete tasks you have to the best of your ability.
8. Prioritization: At the very minimum you should group your tasks as follows: Urgent and Important; Important but not Urgent; Urgent but Not Important; and Not Important and Not Urgent.
Within this grouping, you can specifically prioritize how you are going to spend your time. Good prioritization is the ticket to freedom. While everything is ‘important’ that importance has a sliding scale and if you look at your ‘to do’ list and really challenge yourself, I’m confident you can re-prioritize your workload to become more manageable.
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