Everybody wants to work more efficiently and manage what time they have more profitably, but where to begin? You don’t even have time to read one of those books that is all about management and making the most of your time. Read a book? Ha! But an article well, that’s different. Okay, quit wasting time and get to the meat of time management.
Make a Work Log
Keep notes of how much time is spent doing each major tasks as you are doing it and compile a chart at the end of the day or, better yet, the end of a week. You don’t have to break it down to specifics. Keep track of the time spent reading emails, trapped in meetings, engaged in phone conversations, writing correspondence, doing research, word processing, meeting with employees, meeting with suppliers, loafing during breaks and lunch, answering personal phone calls and, well, you get the idea. Once you compile the time, break it down into a chart that shows how much time you spend engage in each task. From there you can begin a long, complex process of finding ways to make time for the most important things of the day by cutting back on time spent doing lesser or, dare I suggest it, even completely unimportant things.
Fit Your Schedule to Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Your job may require that you have to do certain things in the morning and wait until the afternoon to do others. If this isn’t the case, then you can increase your efficiency by re-positioning the route you take from arriving for work to calling it a day. You know which parts of the day are best for your body and brain. Pay attention to your mental alertness and physical energy. Do those jobs that require your best thinking when you are most alert and focused. Do those jobs requiring the most physical activity when you reach peak energy levels. Leave the most stressful tasks of the day to when you are feeling the most relaxed.
An inefficient workday often is the result of not taking the time to consider what the next day is actually going to be like. You can either set aside time toward the end of the day, time spent away from work or get up early the next day. Look over your calendars, your to do list, your agenda, memos and phone records for anything coming up the next day that can’t be avoided or put off. Set aside that time to get those things done and then calculate how long they will take. Look at future projects that could be worked on ahead of time and try to work them into any down time you may have. Prepare yourself emotionally for any stressful situations that are definitely on tomorrow’s agenda or that have a history of turning into moments of anxiety.