We often feel there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done and our diaries are often overloaded. Get back some control with these 10 top tips for managing your time and diary effectively:
COMPLEX TASKS – are you a morning or evening person? Block out time in your diary during the day to deal with complex tasks when you know that this is the time of day you when are at your peak for performance and have full concentration.
MEETINGS – as a rule, you should have no more than 3 meetings per day in your diary with gaps in between. This will give you time to prepare before the meeting and also make notes of any actions you need to take after the meeting. Having gaps between your meetings also gives you the chance to keep on top of emails, correspondence and phone calls.
AGENDAS – all meetings should have a clear agenda so that you can achieve the outcomes you want. Allocate time to each point on the agenda so that you keep to time and don’t overrun.
TRAVEL TIME – minimise travel time between meetings. Ask yourself if the meeting really needs to be done face to face or could you have a conference call, Skype call or Google hangout instead, especially if it is with colleagues/clients who you have a good relationship with. Having a walking meeting is a different style which actually reduces meeting time by 34%.
DEADLINES – note all deadlines in your diary as reminders and set them well in advance if you have reports/proposals to write.
EVENTS – limit how many evening work events you attend every week to 3. Avoid early starts after any late events. For busy weeks when your energy levels will start to dip, schedule in at least one hour of personal time for yourself whether it is a gym session, a walk, meditate or read to recharge.
DISTRACTIONS – working in a noisy office environment reduces productivity by 66%. If you need to concentrate on a task or write a report, work from home or take yourself off to a quiet space. Working in different surroundings also gets your creative juices flowing.
NOTES TO YOURSELF – if you are travelling between meeting and don’t get chance to write your actions or thoughts, dictate them onto your phone.
TAKE A BREAK – ensure you eat a proper lunch to fuel your body. Also take a short walk out of the office to refresh, re-energise, clear your mind, increase your productivity and also reduce any headaches, eyestrain and lower back pain through sitting down all day.
FRIDAY BRAIN DUMP – on a Friday afternoon, review your diary for the week ahead and get prepared with any relevant documentation you may require. Also update your things to do list so you have cleared your mind ready to enjoy your weekend!