Good Tips for Time Management
Time management isn't about doing even more in less time, but about doing the most important things in the right way, at the appropriate time by considering when you are at your best.
Attack One Type of Action at a Time: Flitting from making phone calls, to writing proposals, to answering emails is less than productive. Each type of action requires your brain to switch gears, stop, then start again on the new task. Try completing the same types of tasks before moving to the next. Make your phone calls, then answer emails, then write proposals. You'll likely save time and increase your productivity.
Eliminate Distractions: You probably won't be able to eliminate all interruptions. People still need your time and attention through the day and you have to respond to a crisis or unexpected need for an immediate decision. But you can "train" others to give you the time you need to get your work done. Don't hesitate to block out time not to be disturbed. Let your phone go to voice mail. Turn off your email notification and instant messaging. And unless you need to be on social media for your job, schedule a short block of time for social networks - and stay off them otherwise.
Plan For - and Take - Breaks: It's important to relax throughout your day. You'll actually return recharged and more productive. Why not let that block of social media time become one of the day's scheduled breaks? And be flexible: you don't need to handle each new task as it comes in. Save up several routine, non-deadline-driven items to tackle all at once and you'll have more time to accomplish the big things.
Communicate: It's easy to let communication slide when you're focusing on time management. But don't forget to check in with others. Get in the habit of asking yourself if whatever you're doing is the best use of your time. If not - shift to something else. Schedule time to communicate with others on high-priority tasks and projects.
To-Do List: Finally, schedule your tasks. Put important item on your calendar. Commit the right amount of time on a specific day to each task and you'll actually be able to check them off. Just make sure you're not making lists instead of tackling other responsibilities.
Andrzej Wojtas (Ph.D.), Chief Editor of MFN, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org