Here are more time management tips that I have found useful.
1. Be your own Line Manager. This means that if you are still in front of the computer at 10.00 p.m. at night, ask yourself, “what you would say to yourself if you were your boss?”. After all, is your business the boss or are you? You would say “now look here – how effective do you think you are being? How long can you continue like this? What about balance?”. Similarly, if you find yourself typing away without a break. Or playing cards instead of making that call. You are paying for your time. So make it quality time with regular breaks. Quality and productivity not quantity.
2. Be productive, not busy. Do you really need to go to all those meetings? How can you plan the meetings so that they are time-efficient? Insist that meetings start and end on time.
3. Shorten deadlines. Both for yourself and your teams. This ensures time for last-minute changes/unforeseen events and, in the case of people supplying to you, will ensure you receive the goods stress-free. Everyone, including you, focuses on the end of the deadline. Leave a gap and this space will allow you to work efficiently.
4. Work smarter and outsource. Which of your tasks can only be completed by you? Prioritise by doing these first and any other remaining tasks if you have time. Better yet, find someone else who can do them.
5. Look at the tasks. Do you have to do all of the task or process yourself? Can it be broken into sections and outsourced to someone else? Chances are they could be quicker than you, or at least save you time by helping you multi-task.
6. Put a value on your time – what could you be earning by doing something else? Is the task you are completing worth the value you are spending on it? If not, what are the alternatives?
7. Learn the power of a polite “no”. This is difficult and sometimes it is easier to share information about your workload and ask the person requesting your time for their advice if they had your To Do list. Enlist their help and support. You will often find they furnish the “no” for you.
6. Make a To Do list and put the urgent priorities on it (home and work etc). Then make sure you have at least one “important” item. If you never address the important rather than the urgent, you will never get ahead of the curve. Important can mean something relating to you as in personal development or space to think longer-term strategy and planning – big picture.
9. Ensure you feature on your To Do list and book time in your diary for you. If you think you should be fitter, book time and use it to go for a brisk walk, visit the gym, take a class.
10. If you have heard any or all of the above before. Ask yourself – “am I following all of them? If not, why not?” We do not learn until we change and do something differently.
And for those who prefer video
The Week. Monday was spent following up on the contacts made at the HR Directors Summit. On Tuesday we had the Highflyingdivas Forum in Colchester. Attendees told me that I need to be more explicit about what they can expect at the events. For example, they were unaware and delighted to receive a practical insight into using LinkedIn for business, complete with handouts. So I am going to publish the topics I will be covering together with other attendance options. These will include, bring 2 guests and attend free. See www.highflyingdivas.com and http://hfdlon.eventbrite.com for the next event in London on the 22nd Feb. I have had to change the date of the next Leadership Forum to the 8th March in Chelmsford as I am now at a training workshop. I am keen to do the training as I will then be licensed by the International Coaching Federation to train leaders on how to coach. I will be giving a similar presentation on Using LinkedIn for business at the Leadership Forum. The last one received the praise “This is the most practical and useful explanation of LinkedIn I have ever received” (Glenys, Business Owner). See http://lfcm.eventbrite.com to register. On Thursday and Friday I went to London to meet up with people I have connected with through LinkedIn. We discussed potential joint opportunities, as both contacts have synergistic offerings. It also prompted me to introduce them to other contacts who could either provide a service or be a potential customer for them. Finally, I looked on the internet for more useful tools and came across www.iclipart.com. For a small 1$ registration, you have access to over 7,000,000 images you can use royalty free on your website, products and services. Each image has a small download price but then its yours to use.
Reading for the week: In view of the time management tips, I am recommending a good book on the subject. “Give me time” in the best-selling series from the Mindgym. You won’t miss it on the bookshelves as it is a fluorescent pink!
Lighter Reflections. As I look out of my window and watch the plastic bag that has escaped the litter bin, blow disconsolately across my barren garden, resembling tumbleweed across a desert, I remember my beautiful garden from 10 years ago when we first moved in. A formal walled garden in the front with laid-out paths. An apple orchard at the rear divided by rose-covered trellis. I remember the apple pies I could make from the orchard’s bounty, and later the blackberry crumbles from the ever-encroaching brambles. What has changed? Well, we “activated” the fire indoors. James lined the chimney, bought some coal and a chainsaw. Man with chainsaw equals man in charge of Bar-b-que. It reactivates something primitive from within. I caught glimpses of him marching menacingly towards the trees to lop off branches as they shivered in the wind. He prowled the garden in a re-enactment of World War II, disappearing behind bushes to launch himself at unsuspecting timber – the old garden seat and even the fence! He wore a blade out in a week as he decimated everything in sight, oblivious to the possibility that brambles and rose-bush could perhaps be dis-entangled. Peace has been shattered as the whine of the saw-blade cuts through the birds chatter. Guy came outside to admire his father’s prowess with the mechanical beast. During one pause, Guy said “Can you hear that?”. I thought he was referring to the alarmed hysterics from tree and bush as the birds called out in panic to grab their belongings and flee. And then he said “I can hear the ice cream van”. I am quite prepared for the local farmer to plough straight through our garden as it no longer differentiates itself from the landscape surrounding it. Will new shrubs ever be lovingly planted? I’m not holding my breath.
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