Is time on your side...



Do you never have enough of it?

Does it ‘stop’ you achieving your priorities?

Do you see it as your enemy?

You’re not alone but it’s time for YOU to take control of YOUR time. Yes, we all have to multitask these days but try not to be that person who flits from one job to another without any real plan and totally forgetting those priorities you know are urgent.  You start the top priority task, then stop to take a phone call, then hear that email ping and decide to see what it is, then you’ll move on to a very quick job that can be done in a couple of minutes, then a parcel arrives so you better see what it is, then there goes that phone again.  Half the morning can pass and that top priority task is not done, and neither are any of the other important tasks you know you need to do.

Result – tiredness, stress, feeling out of control, and repeating your daily refrain, ‘I’ve been so busy, I still haven’t been able to …………………..’

Here are some top tips.  See them through and you will be the one in control.  You will be working smarter, not harder.  You will gain a real sense of achievement by the end of a day.  

1. PRIORITISE.  Make a sensible list at the end of the working day in readiness for the following day.  Next morning – Complete your top 2-3 most important tasks AT THE START OF THE DAY without getting sidetracked by calls or emails.  (It can done, honestly.)  

2. DON’T PROCRASTINATE.  You know the score.  We’ve all been there, putting off that difficult job, that boring job, that long job and, instead, just getting on with the quick fixes even though they are less urgent.

3. DON’T BE A PERFECTIONIST.  Easier said than done for some people but, it’s vital that you keep an eye on the main task and its purpose rather than spending time on what are, in effect, unimportant details that you see as making the job ‘perfect’.  Get the job done.  Review it.  Make essential changes only.  Move on.

4. SCHEDULE EMAILS AND PHONE CALLS.  What??  Really??  Yes.  Decide on specific time slots and batch related jobs together – email reading, email responding, phone call time – and stick to them.  In reality, there is no need to respond immediately  to your emails.   You can let the phone go to voicemail.  Breaking off from tasks when the phone rings or that email pings, is seriously COUNTER PRODUCTIVE.  When you constantly break off in this way it affects your concentration and it takes time to get up to speed with the task again. It is also tempting to start dealing with whatever the phone call or email has thrown up even when it is not at all urgent.

5. ELIMINATE TIME WASTERS such as Facebook and Twitter. Once on, time can disappear, so set a time to follow social media.

6. SAY ‘NO’.   Go on.  Try it.  It’ll be OK.  Be polite of course!!  If you try and spread yourself too thinly you will SNAP!  However, if you do agree to something you wish you hadn’t then follow it through properly.  If you don’t it will prey on your mind and be a distraction.

7. BE ORGANIZED.   Create a system that works for you and stick to it.  Those few minutes it takes to put things away, file things away, clear the last job away, throw or shred what you no longer need.  Are you really going to read that trade magazine from 15 months ago?  Throw it out.   Do you spend ages looking through your email inbox for a particular email because you haven’t put it in an online file?  You’re letting time get the upper hand over you. Being organised helps you feel and be in control.

8. DELEGATE.  Trust people to do their jobs well, use their initiative, be responsible.  If they need to be trained to do the jobs you will need them to take off  you …..then train them.  That will be a valuable investment of your time which will bring huge time rewards.

9. TAKE BREAKS.  This will help your concentration, clear your head, safeguard your sanity.  It is not wasting time.  It is helping you be as productive as you can be.