Here are five top time management tips that can really make a difference.
1. Stay focused without the stress
It is almost impossible to be 100 per cent focused and not have distractions jump into your mind. Fighting these thoughts is stressful so let them in and quickly write them down on a sheet of paper.
If you avoid the urge to 'do it now' or to change screens to record electronically, you will find it easier to remain focused on the current task. Then later you can group like items together so you can action or log more effectively.
2. Save draft emails to your Inbox
Have you ever neglected to send half-written emails due to interruptions? To avoid this happening change Outlook to Autosave Draft Emails to your Inbox and not to Draft.
(Outlook 2010 – Select File/Options, select Mail on left, scroll down to Save Messages section, 2nd item. Outlook 2003 – Select Tools/Options, Preferences tab, Click Email Options, Click Advanced Email Options, top item).
3. Exercise as you make phone calls
When needing a progress update from your staff, or a similar call, why not combine it with some exercise and fresh air? Take a walk out of the office to make the call.
Ask the person to summarise the conversation in an email as you talk and send it to you. This takes no more of their time, helps you to be clear and not ramble, keeps a record and will let you know if they have understood. This is valuable even with staff who sit next to you.
4. End the day with tomorrow's to-do list
Last thing in the day make a very simple list on a post-it note of what you want to achieve the next day. Add a 'phantom task' for the unexpected. Check it is realistic and that you will be content if just this is done. You will sleep better, your subconscious can mull over it, and you won't get that false feeling you have done something if you write it in the morning.
5. Hide away during your most productive time
Work out when your most productive time is and every day during this time 'hide away' for a couple of hours.
Turn the phone off, stop new email notifications and ask people not to interrupt you. If you are consistent and don't make it too long, people will respect and soon know they can't contact you.