It is possible to find extra time in your day simply by reorganizing the way in which you approach the tasks that fall within your responsibility. Take a look at each of the following areas of your working life and see where you can make improvements which will allow you to put more time into the things you really need to focus your attention on.
One of the most important skills in any business is effective communication. When you are communicating with staff and clients, make sure that all your instructions and information is understood the way you intend it to be. Simply repeating the same request in different words at the end of a conversation can mean the difference between getting the report you want and the one that your staff thought you wanted.
With communication, clarity is the number one objective. You may have a Masters degree in English, but the person you are communicating with may not. By keeping the language you use simple, you increase your chances of having your message understood.
Just by speaking clearly, concisely and checking that the person you are communicating with has understood what you have said, you can save precious time by getting what you need first time.
This is something that is needed for both repeat projects and larger projects.
Keep a yearly planner on your desk that you record repeat projects (annual/monthly/etc) on so that you can see at a glance when you need to start collecting information for them.
With larger projects, plan the entire project at the beginning. Break it down into smaller steps and assign a date by which each step should be completed. Delegate any of the project that can be done by someone else, but keep it closely supervised as to who is doing what and when you need it completed by. Once you have planned how you will do the project, you will find that you are less likely to put it off until the last minute.
Jumping around from one project to another, not feeling as if you have accomplished anything each day or constantly rushing to finish on deadlines is a sign that you need to reorganize how you approach your task scheduling and work prioritizing strategy.
Each morning go through your in box and prioritize its contents. Once you know what has to be done, how urgently it is needed, and how long it is likely to take to complete, add the tasks in order of importance to your work schedule for the day. When the mail comes in, prioritize any items that need attention, and then add these to your work schedule.
At the end of each month take a look at the projects that are known for the month ahead and start to provisionally schedule when you might start working on these so that you start the month already thinking about what needs to be done.
For many people, this is the biggest time thief of all! The most vital thing you need to do is to acknowledge that you are guilty of procrastination, and then identify the tasks you tend to put off as long as possible. Once you know which things you are likely to procrastinate about, consider why it is you don’t want to do them. Perhaps they are too large, too boring, or just seem like a waste of your time. By identifying the reasoning behind your procrastination issues, you can find solutions, such as breaking larger projects down into smaller pieces (see planning above), scheduling the boring tasks for first thing in the morning so they are done, and delegating (see delegation below) any tasks that are so routine they feel like a waste of your time. Eliminate procrastination from your working day and see how much more you can accomplish in your day.
If you have staff employed to help you, delegate some of your routine tasks which you can quickly instruct someone else to take responsibility of. Remember to communicate the instructions clearly and ensure they are understood before leaving the task in the employees care. Once you delegate something, just a quick review to ensure it’s done correctly and on time is all that you should need to do. Shuffling a few of these tasks to team members will free up your time for more specialized work.
Katie-Anne Gustafsson spent many years in business administration before becoming a WAHM where she learned many of the organisational skills and tools she needs to effectively balance the demands for her daily life.