What are your best time management techniques?

In most careers, time management is of paramount importance. As your time is a finite resource, scheduling your work in order to stay within budget, within scope and within the deadline can be a gruesome process that often results in sleepless nights and long working hours. How do you do it?

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Always plan your day in advance. Ideally the night before, but if not then first thing in the morning. I always find that having a structured list of tasks I need to complete throughout the day helps me to get off to a good start. I don't always complete everything on my list of course, but having something to aim for certainly helps. With a list I can be proactive rather than simply reactive to how I feel and what pops up throughout the day.

For each task I estimate how much time it should take to complete. As I work through the tasks I keep a note of how much time the task actually took, along with a few brief notes explaining why. For example, did I simply underestimate the task, was I procrastinating, was I reliant on information from a third party that was delayed, etc. The next time I do the same or similar task I can use this information to better manage my time.

I have used a number of different apps to help with this. My favourite being Todoist. But for the past couple of months I have gone back to good old fashioned pen and paper. I now keep my daily task list, notes and daily and weekly reviews all in one place.

11

Here is what has brought me success:
1. Plan out the day in advance in the morning or the night before. List everything you hope to accomplish on paper.
2. Put an "A" next to everything that you MUST do that day.
3. Put a "B" next to everything that you SHOULD do that day.
4. Put a "C" next to everything else that would LIKE to do that day.
5. Now, start listing out just your "A" items on your daily schedule. Next, fill in additional space with your "B" items. Finally, your "C" items.
6. DO NOT begin a "B" item until all of your "A" items have been completed.
7. Hint: things like Facebook, email, etc. are almost NEVER "A" items. I usually do not open email until I have spent at least 90-120 minutes in the morning on my primary "A" item.

I encourage you to try this and let me know how it works for you!

In Success,
Dale Marcouillier
Integress Solutions

0

I'm a computer programmer and I work 8 hours a day on a computer, fixing stuff, coding, searching the web and listening to music. Because I'm a normal human being I get distracted and lose concentration from time to time. The best trick I've started using lately is turning off all notifications. Modern technology has evolved into something that distracts us constantly and distraction kills productivity. By turning off my smartphone, Messenger, Whatsapp notifications I get to stay focused for longer periods of time, which in result allows me to finish any task much faster.

9

Hi Kobus
Time management is all about being more productive.
To be great in time management you need to
1) Be proactive.
2) Be a good communicator.
3) If possible trust and delegate. (unless you are the person who is doing everything. Then the time management is slightly different.)
4) Use tools that will help you to be productive.

I would be looking at the things / processes that are draining your time.
And addressing them.
For instances. For meetings.
Circulate Minuit before hand. with feedback before the meeting. that way you only have to address outcomes and actions. and not spend time going over the notes again.
Request short progress reports based only on exemptions to progress.including recommended course of action or countermeasures.

Have small meeting standing up. they always reduce time.
Start and finish your day 1 hr earlier / later. It's amazing what you can do in that time frame.
Set aside a DND time for 1 hr 2 x each day.
Use your email tools to set flags, appointments, tasks and follow ups to your delegation. Let the tools remind you. That way you only have to focus on what is before you, not on what is coming up.

Look at how you can minimize the number of times a document is touched.
Be clear with your directions and expectations. Follow up based on your agenda. Once you have done this a few times, people will get to understand that if you say I want / need this done by Tuesday. Come Tuesday you are looking for it. They will very soon understand that it had better be there by Tuesday am. or even Monday. You should only have to ask Where is it. and why is it not ready. followed by when did you plan to tell me this..

To make time management to work, it must work on both sides. You do not want to be spending time chasing people, however in the first instance you will need to train people, in terms of you mean what you say. And you are expecting on time open communication if the time line can not be achieved. before time.

In short, with time management you get things to work for you. So that you are the master, If not they will become the master, and you will end up being the slave to time. And that will end up with you going faster and faster.

Hi George, Thanks for your comment on my (apparently) redundant question. :-) I like your point about being pro-active. Thanks!

8

Kobus, delegation is key as Dana said...and in order to determine what needs to be delegated, delayed deleted or done (The 4 D's of Sanity), as I put it... I coach my clients (and myself) to:
- list out ALL of the things that need to be done.
- Identify ONLY those that are tied directly to your goals, deadlines, etc... the remainder go in the delay bucket (meaning you don't need to focus on them). - Then determine those that can be delegated, deleted (not done at all - nice to do's)... and that leaves what you have to do.
- Prioritize those from 1 to.... and focus on the top 3 things that MUST be done to achieve your goal.
- Focus on each until they are 100% done.
This can increase your productivity by 250% or more...

8

I work seven days a week. I take off for my kids whenever I need to to keep a life/work balance. This way I am always sharp at the computer. I read the news in the morning (inndustry, general etc...) watching the news takes too long and is immaterial. My three hours or so a week of reading has kept me in front of everyone for years, everyone asks how do you know so much, coffee, linkedin, and your favorite news links. I never start a task I can't finish. So if I do linkedin maintenance I get it all done. If the task is too big, I create intermediate deliverables and send them out for review which buys me time and improves the quality of the project. This can be used to buy time as well for the overwhelming project. I make sure I visit everything once a week on all projects as this breaks up the monotony.

0

Dedication of work is a very important time management technique that can really help to increase their work performance and also save the time.

14

I live by one rue. DON"T SIT ON STUFF! When a project needs to be done. Don't wait for people that are slow movers get it done and do it right.

Get on it knowing that something else will most likely make you have to stop to concentrate on the new situation. Stuff always gets in the way and will. I always meet my timeline for projects. I am typically finished before most in my company to the point that I get calls with people snickering because I finished things faster than others.

There is nothing more valuable than your time.Once it is past you can't get time back. No amount of money in the world can get it back. If you really dig into your typical day, you will realize that there is a lot of down time. If you are having issues there is nothing wrong with taking a step back, or walking a way to think but get back on it.

Plan your day. I get up early, work out, reflect on priors days accomplishments, then plan my day. I only read emails 3 specific times per work schedule daily and I let people even above me know these times. I dont answer phone calls during my important times of the day. Yes I may miss something important, but very likely will that happen.

If something at night is bothering you that is keeping you up. Get up, think about it, write it down for the morning, There is nothing you can do when you are at home in bed.

If you plan to be successful then you should plan for success.

Thanks, Gil - DON'T SIT ON STUFF. ONe of my favourites (and also one of my flaws sometimes...).

Thank you Kobus. Years ago I used to sit on stuff until I was buried then one day I was let go. What a wake up call. That day forward I never sat on things. Keep up on projects because you never know what my also be thrown at you. Also you never know who is watching you for other opportunities. Great ones have happened to me because of this and many more are still to come.

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While many other experts here come from the perspective on prioritisation. I would like to add on from the perspective of distractions. Distractions in terms of constantly checking your phones, Facebook feeds and YouTube are the upcoming top productivity killer for start-ups and entrepreneurs in this generation. Entrepreneurs struggling in these areas can consider using tools like freedom.to to block off distractions and start working on things that matters for your business!

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