Time Management

I think I speak for many when I say I have never worked so hard to keep still! There is no doubt that the current recession in which we find ourselves, requires us to be more resilient, more determined and more resourceful than ever. As a result, the ability to manage our own time is becoming even more crucial.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I fell into some of the time management traps I tell my clients to avoid! As a result my working day had been getting longer and longer.

Realising that this is something that can not continue, I took a step back and thought about the key time management techniques that I regularly speak to my clients about. I thought you might like to know which ones have worked for me:

1) I looked at my Outlook calendar over the last few weeks and analysed the time I had spent on meetings, travel, client work, follow up work etc. I asked myself what inefficiencies I had unwittingly allowed to creep into my scheduling and then set out what I needed to do to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
2) How often do you find you are rushing from one meeting to another and you don’t have time to do the actions? One way of overcoming this is to schedule specific times when you will do this work. I have resumed my habit of booking and keeping appointments with myself.
3) I looked at the type of work I was doing and applied the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule). Since 80% of my paid work is likely to be coming from 20% of my activities, my job was to work out which 80% of activities were not delivering a good level of income. Once identified, I knew what I needed to do.
4) I now keep a separate, easily accessible ‘to do’ list. For some this might be your Outlook Task Bar or something similar, but for me a good old-fashioned list in a book works brilliantly. At the start of every day, I identify the big project(s) I am going to do that day and, where possible, I do this task in 45 minute chunks of time. At the end of the first 45 minutes, I look at my ‘to do’ list, and find some quick tasks which I can do. After 10-15 minutes I resume the original ‘big project’. This has worked wonders and I am even finding ways of applying it when I have meetings for most of the day.

I now feel I am back in control of my diary – well, almost!

What time management techniques work for you?