Thursday, 27 August 2015

Where has all my good time gone?

If you do the Twitter thing, follow me at @hotpixUK
or LinkedIn here

I often wish I had a big box of time. On a rare trip to a local hostelry last week, conversation turned to everyone's lack of time and if anyone had any top tips to squeeze just a bit more out of the day. Some pretty sensible ideas came out of it. Worth sharing I thought. While I am sure many readers of this blog take advantage of many of these already, there might be a few useful gold nuggets here.

Feel free to share any new tips too.

1) Don't let the demands of others burn up your time. If someone asks for a meeting, offer them5 minutes (& keep to it), or a formal 30 minute meeting next week or booked in the diary.

2) Make sure all meetings result in actions to stem from decisions. Use a flip chart to record action points, who and when the target to complete is

3) Start & finish meetings on time. If the chair is late, start it on time and chair it yourself. Always ensure minutes are taken

4) Arrive at meetings 20 minutes early to sort out any issues. E.G. to curtail the current meeting on time or get the equipment connected & working.

5) Learn to delegate often and let people know how much freedom they will have in achieving the outcome, by a stated target date.

6) When delegating, keep control of the task, rather than leaving staff to sink or swim. Make sure when finished, they get a personal "ThankYou".

7) When working from home, keep a set routine to separate home & work. Start & finish at the same times, have lunch at a regular time, so colleagues know when you can be contacted or probably not.

8) When working from home, make a 'Do not disturb' sign to display when busy. Differentiate when working by closing your working room door (, or leaving it open when you are not).

9) When working from home, unless you expect work visitors, don't have a visitors chair, it will attract distractions from family etc

10) For amending documents, learn how to use Microsoft Word's mark-up feature properly, use it and read again in detail one more time afterwards.

11) Decide when to cherry pick from a document, skim read or plough through the whole document. Sometimes, diagrams & graphs will summarise the general meaning.

12) Relax with email, checking it possibly just twice daily, e.g. First thing in the morning and at lunchtime. Keep it closed otherwise, to reduce distractions.

13) Use your email program's address book. So many people I know rely on email address autofill, which can make it easy to send email to the wrong targets. Also, the address book will hold contact and address details, making CTI possible.

14) Set up and use email filters properly to segregate and auto-file common types of messages. For example I do this where subscribing to e-procurement websites. Opportunities can be reviewed together, rather than mixed up with all the other more important emails.

15) Always carry a good sized USB stick (32GB or larger) on your bunch of car keys, always available to move larger documents, images and files around.

16) Say 'No' more often. Particularly if saying 'Yes' is leading to work overload, poor productivity, you letting people down or working late too often. It's OK to say No, but tell people why and suggest an alternative work reason.

17) If you are easily distracted on to other tasks, as they pop into your head, record them in a personal notebook, or an app accessible from mobile tablets, phones & laptops, like Evernote. These can be returned to at a more convenient time.

18) Disconnect instant messaging. Don't instantly give others your attention unless it's crucial

19) Avoid wasting time on the internet. Block out other distractions like Facebook and other forms of social media unless you use these tools to generate business.

20) Finish your working day at a fixed time. Do not let work creep to fill your evening. Consider  two finishing times. One tuned for an ideal day, then one latest time that you won’t work past.

Related Post: Are you controlling the paper in your organisation?


I would be pleased to connect with you on LinkedIn - Message me with any issues or queries, you would like to be explored in this blog. We generally receive a couple of suggestions each month.

David Bowie - Where have all the good times goneDavid Bowie - Where have all the good times gone.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting 07854-655009

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