You’re swimming in emails, phone calls, interruptions…. and it’s only 10 a.m. How are you ever going to finish your day’s work?
Few workers have great systems to deal with the speed and variety of the information they handle daily. Some people use to-do lists. But a to-do list doesn’t help if you have dozens of things listed on it. Other people multitask, but studies have shown that you can actually lose time working that way.
Time management = Calendar management – Learn How….
Here are a few ideas that can help you finish work.
1. Beat clutter with the “D” system. Every document and email you receive should be discarded, deleted, done, dated (as in, when you’ll do it), drawer (filed) or deterred (forwarded to someone else). The goal – Handle each piece of paper or email once.
Email Tip: Organize files using colors, categories, alerts, and flags
2. Figure out where your time is going. For one week, record what you do. Then create a time budget for yourself by mapping out what tasks you do daily, weekly and monthly, and how long they take to complete.
Email Tip: Create yourself a Task, put a start date, end date, status and assign a follow up reminder for yourself. In Task Details track total hours worked vs. actual hours worked, and what your billing is.
3. Manage interruptions. You can’t stop people from dropping by or calling. But you can determine how you’ll react to their requests. Here’s a great habit to get into: Decide within the first minute or two whether to deal with the issue on the spot or whether you need to schedule time for a longer conversation.
Tip: Immediately open your Calendar and schedule a time to have that conversation with the person, than, categorize it and schedule yourself a reminder.
4. Make a daily plan. Block out time for what you want to accomplish in a day. Schedule high-focus tasks for the time of day when you’re most alert.
Tip: Switch your calendar view to ‘day’ and block out time slots for your high-focused tasks. Then using the Task function create yourself a task for the other items on your to-do list; put a start date, end date, status and assign a follow up reminder for yourself.
Extra tip: With email you can forward, assign and track tasks that you divert to your staff whether they are internal or external.
Final tip: Make technology your slave, not the other way around.