25 Time Management Tips
Sometimes effective time management means getting organized and other times it means just saying “no.” Here are 25 tips to keep you focused and save you time.
1. Ask yourself if what you are doing is either urgent or important. If it’s neither, move on to something else.
2. Delegate! Good time management means using your time for activities that require your specific skills. Do not undertake tasks that can be done by your support staff.
3. Plan your workload. Make plans on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
4. Create a page in your planner or organizer for frequently called numbers and maintain an e-mail address book. These will save you the time of looking up each individually.
5. Highlight on your calendar when you will be away from the office. Plan your schedule around those times.
6. Use colored labels on file folders. You will locate files up to 50 percent faster.
7. Give each project its own file folder. Keep all pertinent paperwork together in this folder, along with a Project Control Sheet that indicates the status of the project at a glance.
8. Eliminate clutter in your life—on your desk, in your files and at home. This will make it easier to identify what’s really important. If you can’t eliminate the clutter yourself, hire someone who can.
9. Consolidate appointments whenever possible. Schedule them only in the morning or only in the afternoon, or only on certain days of the week. This will free up the rest of your time for productive work. The same goes for meetings.
10. Carry reading material with you, such as articles from magazines. Catch up while waiting for an appointment or eating lunch.
11. Listen to educational and motivational audiotapes or CDs while driving to appointments or waiting in traffic. It’s a great way to use this down time effectively.
12. Take 15 minutes at the end of each day to prepare a “To Do” list for tomorrow. Know your top three priorities for tomorrow before going home.
13. Avoid procrastination at all costs; it’s a huge time-waster. And procrastinating only adds unnecessary stress about starting a task that must be done anyway.
14. Learn to say no. If something you’ve been asked to do is not important to get you where you want to go, it’s not worth your time.
15. Identify the time of day when you work at peak performance. Schedule at least one hour during that time to tackle your most challenging work.
16. During peak-performance work periods, work uninterrupted for maximum productivity. Let phone calls go to voice mail and discourage visitors.
17. Focus on one task at a time. Give it your undivided attention until completed before going on to the next.
18. Set a specific time to do recurring, routine paperwork, whether weekly or monthly, and block out the time on your calendar. Allocating this time assures these tasks will be remembered and completed.
19. Schedule blocks of time in the morning and the afternoon to make phone calls. Make all call backs at one time. This cuts down on constant interruptions.
20. When leaving a phone message, advise the best time to call you. On your voice mail, ask callers to let you know the best time to call them.
21. Reply to faxes and e-mail all at one time rather than individually all day.
22. Make a list of errands and take care of as many as possible when going to lunch or an appointment.
23. Make computer templates of all documents you create regularly: letters, fax cover sheets, contracts, expense reports and proposals. Why start from scratch every time?
24. At home, keep a travel bag stocked with toothpaste, toiletries, soap and other items prepared in advance for trips.
25. Keep your briefcase, car keys (and purse) in the same place every night, to put an end to the morning scramble to find them.