Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
Time Management in the Workplace
Learning Time Management Skills is partly about time management techniques, and partly about your discipline to stick to it. For effective time management, it is best to know how to leverage both.
The 12 Time Management Tips:
- Schedule time in your planner to plan.
- Schedule time in your planner to purge. *
- Schedule time in your planner for personal productivity. (see Morning Kickstart below)
- If you have an assistant: jot down all the attributes of a terrific assistant, then use that as a conversation piece for using her more effectively.
- Know the difference between important and urgent. Be willing to get interrupted for urgent and important but not for urgent and unimportant.
- Use time management tools because they work for you, not because they look like cool gadgets.
- Know what works for you.
- Define 3 zones in your workplace. (see The 3 Workplace Zones below)
- Use a method for keeping others out of your office (red flag or “in conference”)
- Remember that the key to your personal time management is discipline and how you schedule.
- Know how to protect your plan by saying “no” when appropriate.
- Acccept that your plan will be upheaved occasionally.
* Purging is how you maintain and organize what you have. Example: throw away any reading that is more than 6 months old. Just do it.
The Expert’s Trick: Morning Kickstart
The importance of time management shows most in your personal stress level. When you can get just a few critical items accomplished, you can focus more clearly the rest of the day. For that reason, dedicate a small chunk of time to getting something of importance out of the way early or balancing your work-life.
List 3 priority items that you would like to get accomplished on the following day.
7:30 am – 8:30 am
Spend one hour syncing with officemates, employees, administrative assistant, etc. This time is dedicated to being available, attentive, responsive to what is needed of you by others. Accomplish some lighter tasks such as returning calls. In short, this time slot lets others know you are here and ready so that they are not as anxious when you become reclusive for the short period following.
8:30 am – 10:30 am
As if you were unavailable in an important meeting, you dedicate this slot of time to focused accomplishment of critical tasks. Disappear to the conference room or a library, or post a note on your door “on a telecon” so that you are not interrupted.
Key: this is your time, and if you dedicate a simple 2 hours to your productivity 2-5 times a week, you will be more efficient the remainder of the time. You would protect time like this for an important customer. Why not yourself!
The 3 Workplace Zones – Organizing the workspace
Zone 1 – within your reach
Items such as active files, computer keyboard, phone, planner, one pad of post-its, pens, checkbook, desk lamp, stapler & scotch tape.
Zone 2 – reachable in a couple of steps
Items such as the printer, historical but still used files, 3-hole punch, spare note pads or post-its.
Zone 3 – away and out of sight
Items you would need only rarely such as spare copy paper, archived files.
Key: reserve your Zone 1 workspace for everyday stuff