Do you find there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done? Well, to help you squeeze the most out of your time, Regional Support Manager Emma Sillars shares her top time-management tips!
A common complaint that I hear when I am out and about visiting my customers is that they simply don’t have enough time in their days to get everything they need to done. I use my own experience of organising my time to help practices find effective solutions for managing their own. Here, I’ve compiled some of the best tried and tested methods to top-notch time management!
- Organise your work station. Make sure your work area is tidy and that you have everything you need to work effectively. Gather together any stationery you will need including your phone, diary, etc.
- Make a ‘to do’ list. Take the first 5-10 minutes of your day to make a plan. This takes the pressure off you to remember everything and having a plan of action makes you feel calmer and in control. Your list could be a fancy electronic spreadsheet or even a good old written pen and paper one – just be sure to pick whichever method works best for you.
- Prioritise. Once you have your list, prioritise the tasks. A popular system is to divide them into four categories which you tackle in order:
- Urgent and important
- Urgent and not important
- Not urgent and important
- Not urgent and not important.
This method is said to have been used by Dwight D. Eisenhower, so if it is good enough for an American President, it’s good enough for us!
- Concentrate on the job in hand. Don’t be afraid to protect your time by asking colleagues not to disturb you and keep distractions to a minimum. Remember, you don’t have to answer the phone every time it rings or respond instantaneously to every email that lands in your inbox.
- Categorise your emails using the 4 D’s. Set aside several chunks of time during the day to deal with emails. To help you decide which ones require your action, and when, categorise them into the 4 D’s:
Delete: anything straight away that does not need to be kept.
Do: action any emails that are urgent or quick to complete.
Delegate: pass on any emails that can be better handled by someone else.
Defer: add it to your ‘to do’ list in the appropriate category.
- Take a break. Having a lunch break when you are up to your eyeballs in work may seem counterproductive, but time away from your desk can help you to re-energise, re-focus and improve your overall productivity.
- Be aware of what effect your personality can have on your time management. Procrastination and perfectionism can both be time wasters. If you are a procrastinator, try and work out the times when you are most productive and tackle the most demanding jobs during these times. If you are a perfectionist, remember that the best is the enemy of the good – try and identify tasks where ‘good enough’ will do.
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