Soon it will be Halloween. Then it will be Bonfire Night. Then we are on the countdown to Christmas. There are costumes and candy to buy for Halloween, Fireworks to purchase, bonfire night parties to arrange, then the Christmas planning is upon us. The thoughtful gifts, the stocking fillers, and creating a cake early enough to allow it to be fed an entire bottle of brandy without it turning to mush. The latter is not only possible, but it is also delicious. The list goes on and on.
Time, always at a premium, doesn’t stretch to accommodate all the extra tasks you need to complete at home or in the business. We all sit down some nights and wish we had a magic wand that would allow us to stretch time so we could get more done in a day. Most of us don’t have a magic wand but these time management tips can help you to make the most of the time you do have available.
Multi-Tasking: Please Don’t.
Although it is tempting to tackle several things at once to get things done quicker, your brain is not set up to work that way. It works best if you allow it to concentrate on just one task or group of tasks. By minimising your brain’s need to keep switching tasks, you feel more in control and your brain works more efficiently, allowing you to get more done.
Interrupting your work to read notifications breaks your train of thought. Daniel Leviton, author of “The Organised Mind” calls the desire to read notifications and Emails “The Novelty Bias”. It can take several minutes to recover focus following trivial interruptions and over a whole day, those tiny interruptions can add up to quite a bit of lost time.
If you struggle to ignore notifications there are apps that will block access to Social Media for set periods of time so that you won’t be tempted. Or, do as I do, leave your phone downstairs when you are working upstairs.
Is it the right time?
If you set aside particular times of day to work on tasks this can really add to your productivity. Working on complicated or creative tasks when you are feeling fresh will ensure they get done more quickly. Most of us experience a post-lunch dip in energy and this can be a really good time to check Emails and do routine housekeeping tasks in the office. Knowing your optimum time for creativity and making the most of this time is a great way to make the most of your time.
Planning: It’s not just for Project Managers
Have a goal in mind for each week and create a plan for each day. If you plan out your week and list the key tasks you will complete each day in order to achieve your end goal, this is a great way to ensure you are making progress and stay on track. Each task on your list should move you nearer to the goal you have in mind, whether that is planning an office party or gaining more business.
Having an accountability partner can be helpful as well. They can ensure you stay on target by challenging you to complete the tasks you have set yourself that week or month. Choose someone who will have the confidence to give you a kick if you aren’t meeting the goals you set yourself.
Whilst some people undoubtedly work well in a messy environment, I’ve seldom met anyone who worked well in a disorganised one. Those who work with messy desks always have a hidden method of organisation that is not apparent to the casual observer. They can always lay hands on the thing they need, and that’s the key. Nothing wastes time like a fruitless search for the pen you had a minute ago, the stapler you know you had last week, or that critical document that you didn’t file away. The document is probably somewhere in the pile of documents in the corner of the office. Unless it is somewhere else of course. If this is something you struggle with, you can read tips on how to alter your environment to aid improve both time management and productivity here:
Finally, if you are struggling to cast these spells effectively, why not call in an expert?
If you need some heavy duty spells cast over your admin, working with a VA might be the answer.
If you would like me to fly to your rescue, then you can contact me here.