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Effective Time Management

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 Good Time Management Supports An Effective Work/Life Balance:


To Be Productive You Need To Divide Your Day Into 3 Different Zones:


The Go Zone
This is the time of the day with no interruptions where you focus on one important task. You focus intently and work hard so this needs to be limited to 2 hours. This is done is the morning after breakfast.

The Slow Zone
This is the rest of the working day where you multi-task, attend meetings and deal with the business of your job.

The No Zone
This is the specific times where for an hour or two you focus on a hobby, family or anything but work. By completely switching off from the problems at work you allow your subconscious the freedom to work on difficult issues, so keep a notepad handy to write down any insights that emerge so you can get back into ‘No Zone’ having saved the ideas for later.


Avoid Distractions to be in the Right State of Mind 

  1. Switch phone off
  2. Put landline on answering machine/voicemail
  3. Close emails
  4. Write down tasks that need to be done for the day together with other projects that you’re working on.

Tips to Combat Procrastination:

  1. Write down specific goals
  2. Apply the Rule of Five – take 5 action steps on your priority list each day (baby steps are fine)
  3. Start each day with a minor achievement – get one task done before sitting at desk each day.


Solution to the Never Ending Stream of Email

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In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was imprisoned in the ancient Greek underworld as punishment for his crimes. He was famously tortured by a never-ending task and was condemned to roll a huge rock up a hill – only to watch it roll back down and have to start all over again.

Sisyphus Effect – is the never-ending tasks which give a feeling of hopelessness.

Solution to the Sisyphus Effect:

E-mails

  1. Only deal with yesterday’s emails.
  2. Weed out spam emails then create a folder marked ‘action’. Move all emails that are going to be dealt for the day to the action folder.
  3. Answer them all in one batch or anytime as long at the end of the day it gets done.
  4. Any new emails that arrive in your inbox are collecting there for tomorrow – whatever you do, don’t get caught up in responding to them, or you will find yourself back in Sisyphus’ shoes, facing an endless task.

Exceptions:

Emails that need to be answered today


Doing it Tomorrow has Several Benefits:

  1. Dealing with emails in one batch is more efficient. You can get into ’email mode’ and zip through them in one go.
  2. It is more motivating to deal with a finite number of emails than an ever-expanding inbox. It presents you with a manageable task
  3. Today’s emails can’t interrupt you. Don’t respond to them today.
  4. You answer emails in a better state of mind. You’re less likely to agree and make unnecessary commitments by agreeing to something in order to get rid of the email. You’re more likely to make a more thoughtful and helpful response.
  5. It doesn’t really matter how often you check your email. There are benefits of only checking your email once a day but if you can’t resist, don’t get caught up in responding to it.
  6. You deal with the difficult emails. Most of us have  ‘tricky’ emails that we put off answering for various reasons. But this system means you answer all the emails that came in yesterday –  so you end up clearing out the difficult ones and getting them off your mind.
  7. You know when you’re finished for the day! Once you’ve answered yesterday’s emails, you’re finished with all emails today. And just think how good that feels.

The Same Principles apply to Other Communication Channels:

    1. Blog Posts
    2. Phone calls
    3. Text messages
    4. Commitments you take on at meetings

They all go into the in-tray for tomorrow. So at the start of every day, you know exactly how much you have to do to keep abreast of your commitments.

Get things done by putting them off till tomorrow. Once you’ve dealt with a day’s worth of emails, posts, phone messages and verbal requests, you’re free to get on with more interesting things; like the painting that you’ve been wanting to get back to.

Be More Effective:

  1. Start the Night Before
    Your success tomorrow starts with proper planning tonight. Create an action plan on how you want the day to go. What are the major objectives/goals  you want to accomplish. When will you do them during the day? The key is to be proactive, not reactive.
  2. Start on Time
    The earlier you rise, the more time you have to accomplish  all your goals for the day. Have a proper breakfast. And keeping to a regular start time ensures that the day runs according to your schedule and that you aren’t in a frazzled state of mind. This means leaving ample time for your commute, coffee and anything else.
  3. Set a time to end your business
  4. Take a break in the middle of your workday.
  5. When you start work, start with the biggest or toughest assignments first. Leave the less stressful at the end of the day.
  6. Create the ending you want to have. Once important tasks are done, deal with tasks based on urgency. If you deal with crises, pressing problems and deadline-driven projects first, your life will be a lot easier.
  7. Always have a plan B when things go awry.

 

Reference:

“Introduction to Time Management.” https://alison.com/…introduction-to-time-management/introduction-to-time-management-learning-outcomes, Sept. 26, 2016

 

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