Time Management 101: doing what you need to do

Nov 18, 2015 10:24:05 AM

Effective time management isn't impossible. 

I am a big proponent of breaking big jobs down into manageable tasks so that they seem much more realistic and likely to get done, and spending a little time each day chipping away at the little tasks until the big job is done. This is not quite picking up good habits, but close.

I find that sometimes the biggest hindrance to doing something is getting started and then, if it is a big job, getting bored somewhere in the middle; generally where you feel there is no end.

Creating a time management schedule

Set up your calendar so that whatever you need to get done is entered and you know that you have enough time to get started, but not so much that you feel that it will get boring. Break tasks up across your day or week (depending on your timelines).

Always remember to be realistic and add break time into your schedule. If it doesn't reflect your normal daily flow, you will fail before you start.

Looking at your general schedule to see any patterns is a good place to start. What do you do every week at a certain time, what does your daily commute look like? Do you have to be in a certain place at a certain time? Make sure the skeleton of your week includes your regular commitments. One of those commitments should be lunch. Taking a break in the middle of the day is important for your brain to get a rest from all this stuff the world bombards at it.

Looking at those commitments, ask yourself what you can get done whilst you are on your way, travelling from or to. What fits nicely into the gaps of certain days? If you have a commute that entails long sections without connectivity of any sort, that would not be a good time to catch up on your internet research or phone calls. But if you can download certain content beforehand, you could do a lot of reading.

Are there particular times of day where you feel more or less able to deal with the email inbox? The first productivity hack I give to anyone is to only read and respond to email once or twice a day. This will be dependent on the job role that you have, but even if you are in customer support, it is still a good idea to disconnect your email service and respond to everything before you connect and get distracted by the new emails coming in. With this, I recommend that if an email takes less than 2 minutes, deal with it directly. If it takes longer, respond to the sender and tell them you have it, you will deal with it and when you will get back to them. Be realistic and put the action somewhere suitable in your calendar.

Finding patterns 

As you start to break down your jobs into tasks, you will start to see recurring themes in what you need to get done and what things pop up last minute. Once you start seeing patterns you can set your schedule to prepare for them and get a rhythm that you determine works for you. You can start grouping tasks together that fit a similar mindset which means your brain doesn't have to do massive switching, which takes away energy you could use elsewhere.

Then comes realistic expectation setting and before you know it, you are in control of your time, getting tasks done on time and within the time you have set for them.

This is called time management!

Find out more about our guest blogger Ghilaine Chan

Ghilaine is passionate about allowing people to do their best work and delight others

Ghilaine helps people to operate fast growing businesses in a productive and streamlined way, keeping an eye on time and money, whilst increasing motivation and improving customer relationships in a fast paced, changing environment. She brings order to chaos and creates scalable processes around the business, empowering them to delight their customers.

She works with tech based or enabled companies who are looking to disrupt their industries, but know that people are at the centre of their success and helping them manage their teams to: 

  • Do their best work and delighting others
  • Create some boundaries, but not cages
  • Know they are acting for a purpose
  • Determine which part they play, that what they receive enables them and what they produce is useful
  • Have autonomy over how and when they produce

She has over 15 years' experience in scaling international business functions for technology companies, within their support and consultancy organisations.

Ghilaine is a graduate of London College of Fashion (now part of University of the Arts: London) with a degree in Product Development. She is a Mentor with Microsoft Ventures,UpRising and Outbox Incubator as well as an Approved Business Coach with Growth Accelerator, now part of Business Growth Services. 

Want to know more? Connect with Ghilaine on LinkedIn, follow her on Twitter and visit her website, Ghilaine & Co

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