Here are a few time management tips from our "Time Genie" training. There are over 50 more tips in this training. However, the tips listed below are a fairly good foundation to get control of your work week.
Plan Your Week
At the end of each week, look at all your sources of work – calendar, tasks, projects, key responsibilities, bring forward system, speak to files.
Decide (with the end result in mind - Time Genie Training for how to use this process) what you want to achieve by the end of the week.
List Out What You Need To Achieve
Use a table like the one below, list the items you want to achieve this week. Then determine which quadrant each of your major pieces of work fall into, and allocate the amount of time needed.
Coaches Tip: When you allocate the amount of time you need to complete each of your objectives/projects, if you believe it will take an hour, then allocate two hours. Most people tend to under-estimate the amount of time it takes to complete something. This is why, so often, time management planning comes undone. If you finish earlier than the two hours, then you can go on to the next item on your list.
Put in the Number of Hours You Intend to Work
Once you've done that, you then need to put in the number of hours you intend to work (in the example below, that is 45 hours).
Allocate Your Committed Times
Then review your diary and add up the number of hours that have already been allocated for meetings etc – in this example, that is 15.
Allocate Time for Crises
You also need to think about how much time you need to leave available in your diary so that you can react to unexpected events. If your diary is filled with back-to-back meetings, you are planning to put yourself under huge stress. Some roles need more reactive time than others. So in the example below, we've allocated 10 hours.
Work Out What You Need To Cut/Keep
If you've got more work than time available, revisit your committed time first and reduce where possible. Do you have to go to every meeting? Otherwise:
1) Delegate - You can fine-tune your delegation skills here
3) Partially complete
4) Manage reactive time
5) Work longer hours ☹
Now that you’ve got this plan of work to do for the week, you can start to book meetings with self into your diary. This ensures you give time to both your Q2 and Q3 events, but most crucially, you are blocking into your diary your Q1 activities – not just leaving them to chance.
The key is to not to over-schedule yourself. If the time is not realistic look for items you can cut from the schedule and carry over to the next week. You need to ensure you have breathing time. You may find it useful at the start of each day to make up a plan that looks like this:
Time Management Tips For Your Diary
Here's how I recommend you schedule your diary each day (in priority order)
- 1Sleep and routine activities (e.g. shower, exercise, family etc)
- 2Time to connect with people in your business - training/coaching/mentoring them
- 3Objectives/projects you must achieve (taken from the list - mentioned above that you created at the start of the week)
- 4Time to make phone calls, answer emails etc. You'll be far more productive if you block out time to only check emails two or three times a day. Turn off notifications so you aren't replying every 5 minutes!
- 5Appointments, meetings, social activities etc.
- 6Free time each day for 'crisis' - the aim is to get this allocation smaller and smaller. However, you'll never get rid of crises completely. Even high performing people allocate 10-15% of their time for unanticipated events.
Blocking Leads To Improved Productivity
If your planner does not have it mark out blocks with headings like:
Then you can place in these blocks 'things to do' on that particular day. For example, if I have asked John for information on the 28th, I would a reminder set for this under the block "Work Information Due from others".
- 7At the end of each day review what you have achieved, what is carried over and what is coming up for the next day.
This is both an employee management tip and one of those time management tips that few people us. Yet it is one of the best. Because it not only saves you time ... it saves others time as well.
How often have you had someone come to you three or four times, in the space of a day, asking questions. And each interruption probably costs you about 10 or so minutes (allowing for the time it takes you to answer and then to get your head back around what it was you were doing?). These five little words, "Have you got a minute" are very, very dangerous!
It is way more efficient if you train them to store all their questions up and ask you them all at once! And get good at asking questions such as: "What have you done about it so far?" followed by, "What do you think you should do next?"
Avoid being a Serial Interrupter
Have you been guilty of bugging someone with multiple interruptions? Stop it! You'll get a reputation as being annoying.
An excellent way to avoid being a serial interrupter (or having someone serial interrupt you) is to keep notes of questions or topics you want to raise with each person you regularly meet/interact with. I like to use Evernote. (I especially like the search function in Evernote, makes it super fast to find people).
Whether you use a tool like Evernote or are still using pen and paper make notes of:
There are many more things you can do to get more out of your day. Access the Time Genie Training to improve your skillset.
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