Time poor is an expression that we seem to hear on a regular basis, and I suppose the question that must be asked is, are we time poor are we using the time available in the most productive way. I have looked at my own usage and how easy it is to slip into bad habits. When you take time to analyse your usage of this precious commodity it is easier to understand how, with a few small changes you can be more effective and more productive over the course of a day.
Many of my clients have discovered how quickly time can be recovered once you understand how you are using it. As you will see from the attached document it is broken down into various areas and moving from left to right you can see date, time, a brief description of the task, a box that has E M L V and I suggest you see the codes that go with that email, mobile, landline, verbal, and just put it in the letter for each of the tasks as they come onto your desk. There are a number of boxes marked ‘delegate to’ so for example if it was marketing you could put in mkt, or accounts you could enter a/c or if it’s an individual just put in their initials. I suggest that you assign column for each of the various departments or individuals so that you can glance down quickly and see how many tasks could have been designated to that department or individual. The last box is for time taken in minutes and I suggest that you calculate that daily.
I believe the best way to complete this document is to print it out and have it on your desk beside you so that you can fill it in immediately rather than spending time opening the Word document continually or filling it in retrospectively. What we are looking for here is a pattern of how your time has been used, who is using it and who would be best served in taking on these tasks and freeing you up to do the more important ones. I suggest you do it over the course of one week so you see a pattern and where to start making the changes.
What I have discovered and what those who complete this document discover is that they take on a lot of tasks that really have nothing to do with them. There is a perception that it is quicker to do it yourself rather than take the time to pass them on to others. This is a false economy because once you start identifying tasks you are a quickly able to forward them on, inform people that x is looking after that or get contacts to use the correct email addresses for certain enquiries. Look out for emails that you may have subscribed to and decide to unsubscribe or get someone else to look after them.
Why don’t you try this simple exercise and see how much of your time it’s been consumed by tasks that are of minor importance, tasks that could easily be delegated and tasks that could be removed all together.
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