What are your best time management techniques?

In most careers, time management is of paramount importance. As your time is a finite resource, scheduling your work in order to stay within budget, within scope and within the deadline can be a gruesome process that often results in sleepless nights and long working hours. How do you do it?

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13

I live by one rue. DON"T SIT ON STUFF! When a project needs to be done. Don't wait for people that are slow movers get it done and do it right.

Get on it knowing that something else will most likely make you have to stop to concentrate on the new situation. Stuff always gets in the way and will. I always meet my timeline for projects. I am typically finished before most in my company to the point that I get calls with people snickering because I finished things faster than others.

There is nothing more valuable than your time.Once it is past you can't get time back. No amount of money in the world can get it back. If you really dig into your typical day, you will realize that there is a lot of down time. If you are having issues there is nothing wrong with taking a step back, or walking a way to think but get back on it.

Plan your day. I get up early, work out, reflect on priors days accomplishments, then plan my day. I only read emails 3 specific times per work schedule daily and I let people even above me know these times. I dont answer phone calls during my important times of the day. Yes I may miss something important, but very likely will that happen.

If something at night is bothering you that is keeping you up. Get up, think about it, write it down for the morning, There is nothing you can do when you are at home in bed.

If you plan to be successful then you should plan for success.

Thanks, Gil - DON'T SIT ON STUFF. ONe of my favourites (and also one of my flaws sometimes...).

Thank you Kobus. Years ago I used to sit on stuff until I was buried then one day I was let go. What a wake up call. That day forward I never sat on things. Keep up on projects because you never know what my also be thrown at you. Also you never know who is watching you for other opportunities. Great ones have happened to me because of this and many more are still to come.

10

Here is what has brought me success:
1. Plan out the day in advance in the morning or the night before. List everything you hope to accomplish on paper.
2. Put an "A" next to everything that you MUST do that day.
3. Put a "B" next to everything that you SHOULD do that day.
4. Put a "C" next to everything else that would LIKE to do that day.
5. Now, start listing out just your "A" items on your daily schedule. Next, fill in additional space with your "B" items. Finally, your "C" items.
6. DO NOT begin a "B" item until all of your "A" items have been completed.
7. Hint: things like Facebook, email, etc. are almost NEVER "A" items. I usually do not open email until I have spent at least 90-120 minutes in the morning on my primary "A" item.

I encourage you to try this and let me know how it works for you!

In Success,
Dale Marcouillier
Integress Solutions

10

I don't believe you can manage time. I only believe you can manage people. So, instead I look at my Return on Time Invested. Each day I do these three things:

1. Only have 3 priority items to get done that will ring my cash register
2. Work on the things that take my true energy and focus first thing in the am
3. Make sure I work in 90 minute blocks completely interruption free - no phones, no email, no distractions
4. Then I take 15-20 minute physical breaks from work
5. Pre-schedule everything on my calendar
6. Ask myself: is this really important to help me/my company reach our financial goals? And if not, don't do it
7. Ask myself: Does this task take me or my brilliance or can it be dumped or delegated?
8. And never ever touch the same paper or email more than once

Hope this helps.

9

1. Clarify your business "promise" (the unique value you're marketing and selling to your audience).
2. List the business activitie that support this.
3. Figure out which activities ONLY YOU can do.
4. These are the only things that should be in your calendar. The rest should be delegated.
5. When you delegate, consider not only the usual: e.g. bookkeeping and graphic design. Are you a doer who doesn't like to plan? Hire strategic thinking help.

Thanks, Lois. In conjunction with Dana's comment, your #3 and #4 is what I need to work on most.

8

To successfully implement the theories others have suggested, it's important to have good boundaries about how you will or will not spend your time. It helps to be deliberately inflexible in certain situations. Set reasonable expectations with yourself and your clients, and then hold yourself to them. Have clear, up front conversations about timelines. I find this to be especially important with turnaround times. I always ask what timeline my client wants, and I offer something that I know I can give. I do not offer next day turnaround on anything, no matter how small. I also make it clear that if I need something from someone else by a certain time and don't get it, there will be a delay. And check in when that item isn't forthcoming. By doing these things, I am then able to maintain a reasonable set of deadlines for multiple projects and continually make progress on each of them, and I am also able to be more flexible in the moment if something comes up that demands my immediate attention.

8

What I recommend is as under:

Make a list of your to dos and then prioritize them as

1. Can do
2. Should do
3. Must do

Now invert the list and make it happen

1. Take up MUST do first
2. Should do next if TIME permits
3. These two would have taken care of can do!

Try it out and internalize for sustained results.

Shiv

8

Hi Kobus
Time management is all about being more productive.
To be great in time management you need to
1) Be proactive.
2) Be a good communicator.
3) If possible trust and delegate. (unless you are the person who is doing everything. Then the time management is slightly different.)
4) Use tools that will help you to be productive.

I would be looking at the things / processes that are draining your time.
And addressing them.
For instances. For meetings.
Circulate Minuit before hand. with feedback before the meeting. that way you only have to address outcomes and actions. and not spend time going over the notes again.
Request short progress reports based only on exemptions to progress.including recommended course of action or countermeasures.

Have small meeting standing up. they always reduce time.
Start and finish your day 1 hr earlier / later. It's amazing what you can do in that time frame.
Set aside a DND time for 1 hr 2 x each day.
Use your email tools to set flags, appointments, tasks and follow ups to your delegation. Let the tools remind you. That way you only have to focus on what is before you, not on what is coming up.

Look at how you can minimize the number of times a document is touched.
Be clear with your directions and expectations. Follow up based on your agenda. Once you have done this a few times, people will get to understand that if you say I want / need this done by Tuesday. Come Tuesday you are looking for it. They will very soon understand that it had better be there by Tuesday am. or even Monday. You should only have to ask Where is it. and why is it not ready. followed by when did you plan to tell me this..

To make time management to work, it must work on both sides. You do not want to be spending time chasing people, however in the first instance you will need to train people, in terms of you mean what you say. And you are expecting on time open communication if the time line can not be achieved. before time.

In short, with time management you get things to work for you. So that you are the master, If not they will become the master, and you will end up being the slave to time. And that will end up with you going faster and faster.

Hi George, Thanks for your comment on my (apparently) redundant question. :-) I like your point about being pro-active. Thanks!

7

Kobus, delegation is key as Dana said...and in order to determine what needs to be delegated, delayed deleted or done (The 4 D's of Sanity), as I put it... I coach my clients (and myself) to:
- list out ALL of the things that need to be done.
- Identify ONLY those that are tied directly to your goals, deadlines, etc... the remainder go in the delay bucket (meaning you don't need to focus on them). - Then determine those that can be delegated, deleted (not done at all - nice to do's)... and that leaves what you have to do.
- Prioritize those from 1 to.... and focus on the top 3 things that MUST be done to achieve your goal.
- Focus on each until they are 100% done.
This can increase your productivity by 250% or more...

7

I work seven days a week. I take off for my kids whenever I need to to keep a life/work balance. This way I am always sharp at the computer. I read the news in the morning (inndustry, general etc...) watching the news takes too long and is immaterial. My three hours or so a week of reading has kept me in front of everyone for years, everyone asks how do you know so much, coffee, linkedin, and your favorite news links. I never start a task I can't finish. So if I do linkedin maintenance I get it all done. If the task is too big, I create intermediate deliverables and send them out for review which buys me time and improves the quality of the project. This can be used to buy time as well for the overwhelming project. I make sure I visit everything once a week on all projects as this breaks up the monotony.

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