I am often asked to speak to companies or groups of employees about how to organize their workday in order to increase productivity and time management skills. I have spoken at corporations, schools, even hair salons and what I have learned is this: effective time management does not come easily to everyone, and each business runs differently and has different expectations for its employees. This insight has convinced me that time management training should be mandatory for each new employee. I believe many employers take these skills for granted.
There are a few keys to having a productive workday. Start by prioritizing tasks each day. Establish routines and schedules to efficiently complete reoccurring tasks. Be strategic about meetings, and have an agenda to keep make the best use of time and keep everyone on the same page. Have a plan for managing phone calls and e-mails. The average person wastes 30 minutes per day searching through e-mails. The goals and tips for this week will help you keep your workday manageable and productive.
3 Goals for This Week:
1. Make the first hour of your day really count. What is the one thing that you never have enough time for? Start a new habit of doing this task when you first arrive at work. If you find you spend much of the first hour at the office chatting and gossiping with co-workers set a break time for later in the morning to catch up, or eat lunch together.
2. Batch like activities and tasks together. Visit the mail room only once per day. Try to make all of your photo copies at the same time. Try to make most of your outgoing calls one right after the other. A dedicated phone time (be it ten minutes or an hour) will leave your phone line open for the remainder of the day so people can contact you if needed. You’ll also be available when people stop by your desk.
3. Use the last twenty to thirty minutes of your day to organize and prepare for the following day. Identify your priorities for the next day, then check your calendar for meeting and schedule your work around them. It’s a good way to wind down the workday, when you may be mentally tired. It will also let you jump right into work when you arrive the next morning.
* When trying to decide which task to tackle next ask yourself these questions: how much time do I have available right now? What is the highest prioritized task I can fit into this time frame
I can honestly say that my work gets me excited to get out of bed each morning. This is truly a blessing and also the result of a lot of hard work! The amount of responsibility I have for all of my work and businesses can be overwhelming at times so I could not survive with out prioritizing my To Do Lists and avoiding procrastination. If you only take away those two tips after reading this post you will start to feel like you are getting more done than ever before. Good luck!
*For more tips on how to Organize Your Work Day:
Declutter Your Business (online challenge I teach)
Organize Now! your money, business and career (hard cover book)