Organizing your time effectively enables you to achieve more. Start by working out where and how you waste time. Then de-clutter your work and home spaces. Clear your desk and file, throw away, pass on or act on papers. Make use of shelves and other storage containers to tidy your office.
Now work out what your most important goals are in all aspects of your life. Use lists or spider diagrams to organize your ideas. Once you know where you want to get in life and work, break down your goals into several objectives and then into smaller steps. Record the steps in your diary or personal organizer. Concentrate on your most important goals and make sure that you complete one step towards each of your goals every day.
You need to be organized. Use your phone effectively: make and receive calls at set times, have necessary information to hand and take notes. Where possible, delegate calls. Organize your computer files and only look at emails twice a day. Have an alphabetical filing system and make it easy to use by using nouns as file names. Label your storage systems alphabetically too. Prepare for meetings by reading the summaries and preparing questions beforehand. If you are chairing a meeting make sure it starts and ends on time.
A lot of life is filled up with transition time, that is, short periods of waiting or time between longer jobs. Use transition time to catch up on short-term jobs.
Learn to say no – a great time management tool. Use the word no before any polite excuse. For persistent callers use the ‘broken record’ trick and repeat your refusal in different ways.
Delegate tasks to free up your time for work you must do and to empower your staff. Ensure that your expectations are clear and staff are prepared, then allow them to do the work.
Prepare for conferences by reading the literature beforehand, taking notes, and writing details on the back of business cards. Record meetings as soon as possible.
If your company provides extra training in time management take advantage of it. You can also learn by reading books (like this one), listening to CDs or using a personal time management trainer.