On most days, I feel as the day has flown by. One minute you’re settling in to answer a few emails and boom, it’s lunchtime. Before no time, it’s a wrap for the day.
I have tried planning my day in advance, which works well early on in the day, but realistically speaking , a few hours in, I still find myself stretching my day long to meet my deadlines.
My broader question of the day is that, in the quest to be more productive, are we perhaps losing on the creativity and the retrospect we need for each project we undertake?
Here are a few tips that I have incorporated into my daily routine. Not everyday is the same but a lot of my tips are more about awareness rather than action.
Be Aware of Your Time
Do a time audit to see which projects are taking most of your time. Understanding the time involved in your tasks, will help you understand the discrepancy between your subjective time and actual time.
Try to identify the distractions or interruptions, which could affect your delay and account for them in your day’s plan.
Reducing or eliminating little disturbances, such as unscheduled breaks or browsing, are a big source of help.
Goal Setting Strategy
When I feel overwhelmed, the best thing I do for myself is put pen to paper or open a meeting notice and itemize things to do. The mere feeling of crossing off tasks, as I complete them is just so satisfying. Here are some other methods that help plan your week:
Jot down important tasks for the following week, before heading out for the weekend.
Most folks begin to reflect on the week ahead on a Sunday evening. At that time, send your self an email or meeting notice, open a task or pen to paper, for Monday morning with your action plan. This activity will help shape the start of your week and focus on the needful activities.
A popular method is also separating your tasks according to Eisenhower Matrix. This involves you actively grouping your tasks into the following categories:
Important and Urgent – Do these right away
Important and non-urgent – Set a schedule
Not important but urgent – Delegate or reschedule them
Non-important and non-urgent – Delete them
Write the task as though it’s completed rather than a To-Do.
For example, try – ‘Marketing Report Submitted’
(instead of ‘ submit marketing report’)
Protect Your Priorities
Practice words…”NO!” “Not Now!”
Or better yet, “Let’s schedule another time for this specific task or discussion”.
The ability to quickly assess the task or inquiry and learning when to say no, is one of the most critical time management skills you can develop. It isn’t always easy as it could be part of a greater urgency, coming from your boss etc.
Be transparent with your workload and if it is coming from someone your senior, request the priority level, compared to other tasks. It may not always work, but being vocal does help both parties understand and appreciate time limitations.
Finally, where possible, delegate.
As John C. Maxwell, New York Times bestselling author, coach and speaker, says “If something can be done 80% as well by someone else, delegate!”
Build An Efficient Daily Schedule
Energy over speed. Build a routine that gives you momentum and not just speed. Quality work takes attention and time. For example, my important tasks are completed first thing in the morning, as my afternoons tend to have more distractions or impromptu conversations.
Learn how not to multitask. Researchers have disproven the multitasking myth. If you believe you can do many things at once and maintain your quality standards, you may be quite wrong.
Batch your communication (replying to emails & phone call) time and you will find those are are much controlled. And oh yes, don’t forget to keep time for breaks.
Optimize Your Work Environment
Here are some quick tips:
Declutter your workspace, including digital. People with cluttered inboxes spend so much time on email than others.
The right music can set a great tone for the start of the day.
Bring nature close by keeping a plant or two in your workspace.
How can Greater Toronto Executive Centre (GTEC) Help You with Time Management?
GTEC is committed to helping you save time and money Whether you are scaling up or down, we provide cost-effective workspace solutions you need for your business.
- Separate your home from your business – Let our reception handle your mail, important client drop offs, couriers, and/or unexpected visitors. Come in only when you need to use our meeting room, book the day office for dedicated work time and let us handle the rest.
- All the tools you need for a perfect meeting – A meeting room conducive to an effective meeting saves you a lot of time by giving you the space and technological tools. Whether you need larger space, a stable Wi-Fi connection, teleconferencing tools or a presentation screen, GTEC has it all covered.
- Our Business Identity Plan takes the stress away of managing the business’s day-to-day mundane activities such as phone answering, voice mail to email, mail handling and more, so you can focus on actual work. Read about the plan here.
In an effort to manage your time better, remember not everything can or should be managed. We need to acknowledge that time management isn’t just about work, but also a balance between our personal enjoyment and development as well as self-care.
We must disconnect from our work to recharge and recover properly.
About the Author
Ritu has over two decades of experience in operations, marketing, and business development. Married and a proud mama of two, Ritu enjoys writing about her professional and personal life experiences.
“Forget race, forget gender, forget religion, and become a human, my friend. Become a human above everything else, and all great things shall follow.”