by Lisa Fraser
The holidays are over, we have returned to our regular schedules and it is back to business as usual. Now is the time to focus and get some real work done. You may feel like you are continually busy, but at the end of the day, have you accomplished as much as you could have? If you find that you are constantly overwhelmed with busy-ness, perhaps it is time for some time management tips.
Declutter. Organize your desk space, filing system and office clutter. You will find yourself getting less distracted and will appreciate the breathing space. Make your office a sanctuary for your creativity to blossom.
Set Priorities. Commit to making a list of all the things that you need to accomplish. Break this list down into items that are urgent, those that are important and finally, those that would be nice to complete (but can wait). If you are having difficulty deciding what is most urgent, consider the items that affect your business income the most or that come up most often to be top priority. You will feel more relaxed knowing you are not missing completion of a task and the simple act of crossing completed items off your list is very satisfying.
Delegate. The less urgent tasks can be passed to your assistant, if you have one. If you do not have one, and find that you just do not have enough time in your business, now may be a good time to consider hiring one. This will allow you to be fully focused on the important business at hand and ensure your unique personal touch.
Make a Plan. Use your online calendar to organize your day and ensure you are always prepared for meetings. In terms of scheduling, plan your day so that you are completing your most important tasks when you are most energized. If you are a morning person, get through the most important tasks at the beginning of your day.
Block Time for Distractors. Turn off the visual and/or auditory alert that indicates you have a new e-mail message, put your devices on silent and schedule your online activities. Block off time chunks each day to review your inbox/reply as appropriate, check messages and post to your sites. It is too easy to get sucked into a distractor time vortex!
Multitasking is a Myth. Since reading, The Myth of Multitasking by Dave Crenshaw, I no longer use the term “multitasking”. It is impossible to give your full, undivided attention to more than one thing at a time. Think about typing a message while talking to your assistant. Are you truly focused on both the entire time, or are you listening to your assistant and then re-reading the last few words of your message to regain your thoughts, or asking your assistant to repeat what was said when you finish typing the message? When you switch your focus back and forth, what Dave Crenshaw refers to as “switchtasking”, you are actually losing time as you refocus when returning to each task.
Prepare for Delays. We generally tend to think that things do not take as long as they actually do. Getting to a meeting or event requires preparation. Work backwards from the time you want to arrive and subtract out the time it takes to put yourself together mentally and physically, as well as to get there. Build a little extra buffer time into your calendar so you will arrive relaxed and prepared.
Guard Your Time. Throughout the day, there will be people that want time with you and that can drain your energy. Guard your time and respect those that have scheduled time with you. While it can be uncomfortable, saying “no” can be very liberating.
Remember to reward yourself for being so organized and accomplishing so much during your work time. You deserve it!