Here are two time management techniques that are essential if you want to get organised with your time.
Lots of people keep daily To Do Lists of tasks they have to complete. But do they work? Here are some rules to make your To Do Lists really effective.
Allow a half hour each morning to examine the list of tasks you have to complete. Research has shown that one minute spent planning saves ten minutes of your time!
Are your tasks manageable in the day, or do you need to break them down into smaller tasks over a longer period?
Classify them as follows:
To Do lists become ineffective when people class all their tasks as 'A'. They often become disillusioned at the end of the day, when their list is often longer than when they started!
To make better use of your To Do list, transfer your tasks into the following time management quadrant. Classify the tasks according to their degree of urgency and importance.
Do you feel you spend your time going from one crisis to another? it may be that you are not including enough of the important but less urgent tasks in your daily to do list.
Time spent planning ahead or building relationships can often reduce the amount of firefighting you end up doing - and the number of tasks that end up in the urgent/important quadrant.
Scheduling is one of the best time management techniques you can use. Get yourself a good diary (online or offline) and schedule your day into half hour blocks.
You can classify most of your tasks into two types:
Maintenance tasks (such as weekly departmental meetings, end of month reports) or
Progress tasks which allow you to change or improve (such as goal setting, attending training courses)
Schedule both of these into your diary along with time for thinking about your To Do list, checking emails and so on.
See the example below:
To make your schedule work, don't plan more than 50% of your time. Allow flexibility for those unexpected emergencies, and then you won't get disillusioned with your time management plan.
So, your schedule tells you what you should be doing at any particular time..
and your daily To Do list sets your priorities.
Read our latest newsletter - 3 Pitfalls To Avoid When Making New Year Resolutions - And Why Cabbage Diets Don't Work or view our back issues for more concise tips on practical management skills.