Time Management: 7 Tricks from the Pros

Time management professionals and gurus each have their own set of strategies and techniques that they recommend. We’ve found that some work better for us at WOW and we’re sharing them with you today.

1. Prioritize: A common problem people face is knowing what’s important and what’s not. When creating your to-do list utilize the time management matrix to the right to determine which items are urgent and important and which can be de-prioritized to the bottom of the list.

2. Do Quick Things Immediately: If you have several tasks on your to-do list that each take 5 minutes, get them all done immediately. You’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment getting them off of your plate and then you can move on to the larger items.

3. Dedicated Time: If you have a project that needs a significant amount of time and attention, dedicate a specific hour (or 3) to focus on it’s completion. Turn off distractions and commit to it’s completion during this time frame.

4. Time Inventory: If you find chunks of your day frequently going missing, take a few days to note and inventory where your time is being spent, down to the minute. Following the inventory process, evaluate what areas could be used more efficiently and make the necessary changes.

5. Calendar with Buffers: If you are often late, consider building in travel time to your calendar. For example, if an appointment is from 3-4pm and it takes 20 minutes to get there, schedule the appointment on your calendar from 2:40pm-4:20pm. This way you won’t over-extend yourself before or after the obligation.

5. Block-Off Email Time: Email is one of the biggest time-consumers of our day. Instead of checking emails as they come in, schedule specific times during the day to review and respond to emails. And remember, being the person who responds immediately to emails doesn’t always mean you are the most productive.

6. Eliminate the Unnecessary: Sometimes companies and individuals schedule meetings out of routine and not necessarily out of need. Review the meetings, calls, and regular appointments in your life and decide what is adding value. If the meeting is mandatory yet adds little value to your day, consider discussing how to improve or eliminate it with your management.

7. Focus, Focus, Focus: Many people have multiple roles (entrepreneur, employee, mother, wife, etc.) that each have different responsibilities. While multi-tasking can sometimes be effective, most of the time it hurts the overall output quality in one or more areas. Instead of juggling multiple roles, commit to focusing on just one role at a time, as much as possible.

What is your favorite time management trick?


Time Management: Working From Home

As the popularity of home-based jobs and telecommuting increases, many people find themselves struggling to maintain time management. The flexibility of working from home can have potential difficulties, but with a few basic strategies the arrangement can produce much success.

Establish a Schedule: Setting up time parameters for when you will work and when you be off will help you maintain the necessary mindset for professional activity. If you are able to set your own schedule, attempt to keep the same hours each workday to ensure optimum productivity. Whether you are a morning person or a night owl does not matter; what is important is that you commit to starting and stopping at the same time each day.

Minimize Distractions: Working from home can produce distractions that may otherwise be avoided in an office. Maintaining a space that is dedicated to work can help minimize the possibility of wasted time. If you have an office, excellent, but if not choose a location that is separate from obvious distractions such as t.v., household chores, or kids, etc. Your work area should also be well-stocked with all necessary supplies and electronics.

To Do List: At the beginning of each day, create or update your to do list with the tasks required of you. Tasks can be grouped together in blocks, including phone calls, emails, physical tasks, and needs from others. Grouping items can increase efficiency by having similar tasks completed while you are already in that mindset.

Breaks & Socializing: Working from home can at times be isolating. Scheduling plans for regular social interaction, be it happy hour or a quick lunch break with a friend, can help keep you from becoming too disconnected from the world. It will also ensure other forms of connection, such as social media or personal phone calls, are kept to a minimum during the week.

Timed Activities: Use a timer to ensure you focus on necessary tasks for specific amounts of time. For example, if you have a writing project to complete, set the timer for one hour and commit to dedicating your attention to that sole task. During the pre-set time, ignore emails, set your phone on silent, and let family members know you are off limits.

Everyone has personal tasks that come up during the week. In order to manage the draw to execute these immediately while at home, set aside a specific time each day to make your personal calls, get to an appointment, or handle other needs. If it is not your scheduled personal time, resist the urge to get off track.

By utilizing these strategies you will help to ensure your work-from-home arrangement is mutually beneficial for you and your employer.

Good Luck!

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