Aug 09 2012

7 Top Time Management Tips

1. Let other people know that you value your time. Don’t be afraid to turn down an invitation, reschedule or say no to an assigned task if you have already scheduled something at that time.

2. If it helps, set your watch alarm to go off at the time you’re supposed to finish a task or start on a new one. You can also set your stop watch on your phone or an alert on your computer to ring when your time is up.

3. At the end of each day, review your to-do list and cross off what you have accomplished. Then look it over and create a list of to-dos for the next day in order of urgency. Include any tasks from the current day that you were not able to finish and put them at the top of the list. Review this list the next morning.

4. Before heading to sleep, prepare your items for the morning. If you have taken work home, be sure it is all safely back in your briefcase. If you have been working on a great PowerPoint presentation, be sure you have the file safely on your thumb drive or email it to yourself. If you are going to be giving it on a different computer, save it to pack and go so that it can run on any machine.

Organize your packed lunch and that of your family and then put together two or three outfits to help you choose what to wear the next day depending on your mood and the weather. Doing as much as you can to prepare the night before will cut down on stress in the morning and eliminate time wasters.

5. Reply to emails promptly. If you don’t, you might forget about them.

6. Sync your office computer or your mobile PC to your home computer. That way, you can always check on important items of work easily wherever you are.

7. Keep calls, even business ones, brief. Get straight to the point, write down action items to follow up on, and conclude promptly. Confirm the action steps via email. Then add the items to-do list.

FURTHER READING:

How to Manage Your Time Each Day: Essential Time Management Skills

How to Create an Organized and Productive Home Office

Easy Brown Bag Lunches on a Budget: How to Pack Great Lunches Everyone in Your Family Will Eat and Still Save Money

Jul 15 2012

Personalize Your Time Management Techniques

A lot has been written and produced on the topic of time management techniques that are tried and tested, but every person is different in terms of lifestyle and character. A great book or video on time management can be a great starting point for giving you new ideas, but it will only be helpful if you try to implement the ones that work best for you personally.

There is really no one-size-fits all when it comes to time management. A busy businessperson in a Fortune 100 company will need certain time management and organization skills that will be different from those of a small business owner or a freelancer working at home. The time management techniques of a person who works in a service industry with shifts will be different from someone with a flexible timetable or who owns their own business.

Learn about the general principles of time management and scheduling, but adopt the strategies you learn so that you become more productive throughout your day no matter what your personal circumstances and responsibilities.

If you are willing to be flexible and creative, you can manage your time efficiently with tools and other items that you will enjoy working with. Some people love a paper day planner, for example, while others prefer to use their phone or Outlook. Some people love a whiteboard, while others are finding inspiration using Pinterest.

The most effective type of time management system is one that you will use, and enjoy using. It should not become a full time job itself. It should also not make you feel even more overwhelmed or depressed. As one executive said to us, “I loved entering all my tasks onto my digital to do list, but got depressed at the very thought of how much work I had to do, and how I would cross off one item and need to add five more.”

As you go about working out a time management plan and to-do lists, you need to consider what your own specific goals and objectives are when it comes to your career and your daily life. Are the things filling up your day essential, or just time fillers. Does the work only have to be done by you, or could you outsource some of it to another worker?

Asking these questions will help you pare down your schedule and to-do list to the essentials. It will also help you meet more deadlines and create a better working environment for yourself, which will lead to a less stressed personal life as well.

Further Reading:

How to Manage Your Time Each Day: Essential Time Management Skills

How to Create an Organized and Productive Home Office

Transforming Stress Into Success: How to Minimize Stress and Maximize Success in Today’s Economy”

Successful Outsourcing: A Step-by-Step Guide

Jul 03 2012

How to Reduce Stress through Effective Time Management

Talking about stress has become one of the new national pastimes. Even children are said to suffer from stress and the pressure to perform consistently well throughout a busy day. Everyone talks about multitasking as if it is some great virtue, when it often just means we are living in a perpetual state of distraction and anxiety as a result of so much to do, but little getting done because we lack focus.

Everyone seems to feel a day late and a dollar short, as the phrase goes, working as hard as s/he can just to try to keep up, but in many cases feeling like s/he is barely able to pay the bills due to the recession and increases in prices.

We work hard and still feel like we have not been able to give things our best. We also feel guilty about putting in longer and longer hours when we really just want to spend time with our families and have a day off to just relax.

The truth is, however, that a lot of this stress can be relieved though effective time management and learning how to work smarter, not harder. You may feel powerless in the face of a demanding boss, but are you really doing your best, or are you actually sabotaging yourself and thus triggering even more pressure and stress in your life?

There are a number of smart choices you can make to help get the vast number of things on your to-do list completed without driving yourself crazy in the process or getting even less sleep than you already are. Here are a few suggestions.

One of the simplest ways to reduce stress in your day is to prepare for each day the night before. This could be as basic as laying out your breakfast dishes before going to bed or as thorough as packing your briefcase, laying out your clothes, and showering before bedtime. Find out what works best for your schedule and then stick to it. You may be surprised at how smoothly your morning goes once you try this simple method.

If you then apply the time you save running around like a headless, stressed-out chicken each morning, you can then give yourself an easier commute.

Then you can get into the office earlier, and sit down at your desk in a less stressed and frazzled state of mind.

Once you get to your desk, you can read over the to-do list for the day that you prepared the day before, about 15 minutes before you left for the day. Check your list three times a day, morning, noon, and evening, about an hour before you plan to leave. Tea time can be a low-energy period of the day for many people, so wind down by looking over your list to make sure you have not missed anything important that needed to be done that day.

Then complete a few short tasks to end the day on a high note. Cross them off the list, and then create your prioritized to-do list for the next day. In this way, once you get into work the next morning, you can start tackling the list at once.

Getting in early might also mean more peace and quiet in order to get your tasks done more quickly without any distractions. It can also mean more preparation time for that big meeting or presentation.

Checking your list throughout the day, crossing off and adding new projects, can help keep the work flowing and lead to less stress and more productivity.

The habit of preparing in advance is also an excellent one to cultivate because it can carry over into the rest of your life as well. Taking the time to prepare for events in your children’s lives, such as a school play, parent-teacher meetings, holiday planning, and even family meals will pay off because you will find them all more simple, less stressful events.

Your final strategy is to eliminate time wasters. Sure, you got a good giggle watching that comedy show, but if there is no food in the fridge because you did not go shopping or you have no clean clothes because you forget to pick up the laundry, then that was a completely wasted half hour that you will not get back.

You will also want to avoid the little free time that you do have being eaten up in other ways. We have never figured out why families all decide to go grocery shopping together on a Saturday or Sunday when one parent could accomplish it in a fraction of the time on a Wednesday night after work. Having a household to-do list can also help you make the most of your time and live a better life that is more in balance.

Working to minimize wasted time can reap a host of benefits by finally freeing up time for rest and relaxation, and quality time with the people you care about.

FURTHER READING:

How to Manage Your Time Each Day: Essential Time Management Skills

How to Create an Organized and Productive Home Office

Transforming Stress Into Success: How to Minimize Stress and Maximize Success in Today’s Economy”

How to Get Started as a Do-It-Yourself Mom