Manage time by controlling your emails and phone calls – don’t let them control you.
Ideally check at planned times, and avoid continuous notification of incoming emails. The more senior you are, the more selective you need to be about when to be available to receive phone calls.
You should minimise the time that you are available to take unplanned phone calls, unless you are in a customer-facing role. Even then you must plan time-slots when you are not available. If you don’t, you’ll never get anything important and proactive done.
Ask yourself what’s involved, find out the real needs and expectations. Really think about how you currently spend your time. Keep a time log for a few days: this will help you see exactly what’s wrong. Challenge anything that might be wasting time and effort, don’t be a slave to a daft system or process. Review and prioritise your activities, plan preparation and creative thinking time for long-term jobs. Urgent short-term tasks will use up too much precious time unless you plan ahead.
Manage your environment as a whole
New systems, tools, technology, people or processes could threaten to generate demands on your time. The expectations of others may need redefining, or reconditioning – this is a critical aspect of time management.
Question proposed or actual changes and consider new technology from the point of view of your time and efficiency. After all, it may help others but not you. Ask yourself – is this going to save me time or will it add to my burden?
Manage time with unplanned activities
You must manage time slots for these by planning. If you do this then other important things will not get pushed to one side when the demand arises.
When you are faced with an extensive workload, quickly go through the pile and make a list of what needs doing and when. Do not under any circumstances pick up a job, do a bit of it, then put it back on the pile.
Always use a diary to schedule and plan when to do things, assess activities and decide priorities. Do not let others make claims on your time; well not too often!
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