Time management isn’t something that we learn at school but inevitably we all have to master at some point in our lives. It really doesn’t matter how clever you are if you’re unable to organize information well enough to absorb it. Let’s face facts, if you’re a procrastinator it doesn’t matter how much skill you have, it’ll keep you from getting your work done.
Younger people seem to have a greater grasp of the power of time management, and it certainly seems to be the ‘hip’ thing to learn in today’s busy world. You can certainly stand out from the crowed by your ability to process information and manage your time. Careers can be won or lost by your ability to process information and how efficiently you handle your workload.
Right, here’s my ten top tips to enable your greater understanding of time management.
1.Don’t just leave email in your in box.
Being able to have a quick turnaround and processing that into productive actions is where professionals need to aim. Do use file folders, they’re not there to sit idle. If a communication needs a little more thought, just move it to your to-do folder. Move meetings to an online calendar. Don’t be afraid to print out urgent reference mail, but be sure to re-cycle. Don’t fall into the trap of scrolling the email up and down trying to make out your working! Remember, take some action on an email just as soon as you’ve read it.
2.Avoid multitasking, it’s naughty!
For those that were lucky enough not watching dvd’s, banging out endless instant messages, all whilst doing homework, multitasking is fatal. However it really does reduce productivity, no matter their age. A 20 something may feel less put out by peer pressure to multitask, but they’ll still have a reduction in productivity from multitasking. So where possible, limit this for maximum performance.
3.If it’s important, do it first.
The night before work, work out a priority list and write it down. Then, when you’ve arrived at work, spend the first hour working on the most important task. This really is an awesome idea because even if you don’t complete this task, you’ve really made a good impact on it therefore you’re much more likely to return to it later.
4.Check email at set times.
It’s plain silly to answer every email the moment it lands in your inbox! Just because someone has decided to send you one, doesn’t mean you’re compelled to answer them straight away. Sure if it’s an emergency then respond there and then. But, if it’s not important at that time, leave it until you’re able to fully answer them. People understand your time is important and don’t expect miracles if it’s something complex.
5.Organise web site addresses.
Google a book marking service to keep your favorite web sites stored efficiently. Don’t use endless packs of ‘Post-it’ notes, you can save them all in one place and share this with ease.
6.Understand when you’re at your optimum working level
I’m totally at my best and more productive first thing in the morning, but everyone has their own ‘best time to work’. Over a period of time, monitor your working habits then fit this into your working schedule to keep important work flowing when you’re at your most productive state of mind.
7.Use keystroke shortcuts.
Why use more keys than you need to? Take time to learn say one keystroke a day. You might only save 10 seconds, but hey, over the course of a week that’d add up nicely!
8.Make it easy to kick off.
We don’t have issues finishing what we’ve started, we do however seem to have issues actually starting things in the first place. Do as I do, break projects down to little bite sized pieces so you’re not going to be put off from starting. Maybe treat yourself to a nice coffee after you’ve got to a certain stage and then charge full steam to complete and feel good that you’ve achieved what you set out doing.
9.Produce a to-do list every day.
Hopefully you can see the benefits to having a to-do list, otherwise if you don’t know what you’re supposed to be doing, how could you begin to think you’ll manage your time in the best fashion. Some people like to jot down a list by hand, others prefer having more structure and using a mindmap (Google that for some free tools).
10.Don’t be too slow.
Clearly someone that is adept at time management will act on some things slower than someone who’s inept. Say for instance, John Doe, who’s tackling the task with the highest priority and not being sidetracked responding to email,whilst their head is down working on the task. John intuitively knows by processing his workload (summing up what’s in, and how to achieve the best results) and planning are also business critical tasks.
Alan Torr is a hardworking father based in the UK. He is a passionate home worker after spending many years on the corporate rat race, slogging away for hours for someone else’s gain! To find out more about what Alan does, feel free to visit [http://www.GetMaverickMoney.com]