Thought I would take the time to list what I think are important lessons that I have attained over the years, about methods to best manage my time - especially on the days where deadlines are piled high and your desk is littered with notes and reminders.
1/ I envy anyone who can multitask, however it is not for everyone and for me it can be distracting performing two tasks at once - I’m never sure if I am giving 100% to the task I am working on despite my best efforts. If you’re going to work on something then concentrate on one task in hand and do it well. Categorise your task list - what is the least favourite task? Complete that one first, get it out of the way and then work your way through the rest of your list.
2/ Work then take a short break. I concentrate on a task for around 45 minutes and then I undertake something different for 10 minutes. Whether it’s a walk around the office, making a couple of calls or speaking to a colleague, I’m breaking up my time. Just something that is different helps me to concentrate and focus on the job in-hand and I become reinvigorated and motivated to continue with whatever it is I am working on.
3/ Use the hours wisely, make them count. Working longer hours does not necessarily prove that you are busier than anyone else - make your time count. Look at how you divide your day, what you do to with those hours is what’s important. If you are distracted by less important work, other people’s tasks, or pointless calls and emails then you need to look at effectively managing your time.
4/ This brings me on to impact. Work on tasks that will make an impact, you are obviously a leader, your expertise is sought after hence the job you perform. The intention is that you are tasked with jobs that apply to you, the ones that will have significant impact. Avoid tasks that others are delegated with, obviously you can give your advice should it be required, however stick with the task in-hand, this is where your expertise is needed and your experience will be best served.
5/ Keep meetings to the point, time limit them and if possible conduct them early on in the day. Ask yourself how much time do your meetings take up? I find that I waste time preparing for a meeting and then when it does take place it overruns and is bogged down with inapplicable content. Meetings can easily wander away from the point - be strict and prevent idle chit-chat where possible. Send an agenda by email, explain the guidelines and make sure people know what is expected of them. Allow people the opportunity to talk however encourage direct, straight to the point comment and don’t let people move away from the point.
Hopefully my five points will help you better manage your time, reassess the tasks you are given and free up space in your daily agenda to ensure you perform your job to the best of your ability.