Has this ever happened to you? At the last minute, a client cancels or a conference call is delayed — you were prepared for the meeting that now is not taking place. What do you do with the “extra” time on your hands?
View this as an unexpected bonus … a golden opportunity that has come your way out of the blue … and make the most of it. While many may see this time as the possibility of doing something less important such as: a phone call to a friend or a chance to try a new restaurant, this may be a chance to get a meaningful task completed that will bring you closer to your goals.
Aha! This is where your daily to-do list comes in handy. You have already decided the 3 tasks that must be done for the day. (That was done the night before or at the start of the day.) Choose the task that you can accomplish during this period of time and get it done in this block of newly found time. Stay focused throughout the period of time that would have been spent in a different way, if things had gone as planned.
How have you used time that was freed up unexpectedly?
Last week I was invited to speak to Georgia State legislatures about how to use their time most effectively. Their days are packed — several showed me their planners which they carry with them at all times so they know where they are meeting and with whom. Their planners are filled with activities and appointments from early morning until late in the evening.
We talked about making a powerful to-do list and how that will help them accomplish their projects and goals. And, the best news is that it reduces your stress levels.
Some of the tips I recommended too the Georgia State legislatures are:
Does your to-do list ramble on and on for pages? If so, try cutting it down so that you can accomplish everything on it. Think how great it will feel when you walk out at the end of the day with it all completed!
Time is finite and a limited resource so we want to make good use of it. We can spend it as we choose. Over the next month and a half we are providing training to a financial management firm on how we can help them become more productive and use their time as productively as possible.
Think of time as an investment. We all want the best possible return on our investments — strong time management skills directly contribute to maximizing our time and accomplishing our goals.
Think of time as a rate of return. When we spend our time in areas where there is a high rate of return, we are managing it well. For example, if you are spending time with clients or taking a class that will improve your productivity skills, that’s a good ROI. If a skill took four hours and now takes 1 hour, that’s an excellent payout. Even if you are currently productive, there are always ways to improve it.
However, what if you are spending time on work that you can delegate or reading a publication that is interesting but perhaps not educational? These might be a low or negative rate of return.
Here’s a suggestion to amp up your productivity:
1) Revisit your activities, daily tasks and how you handle large projects to make sure that you are maximizing your time.
2) List what you need to do to change this situation including the sstart and due date, and the specific activity.
3) Then add it to your planner. The chances that you will implement the change are much greater if the task is written down on a specific date.
4) Assess the outcome. Is it making a difference in how you are using your time? If so, continue to improve upon this new habit. If not, evaluate what you did and how you can make it work.
It’s worth it, we promise.
If you are like the rest of us, there are projects that don’t fit into our current priorities. You want to do them but can not get to them right away. One of our clients recently told us that she would like to write a newsletter but other goals are more pressing at the moment. Still, she does not want to forget about the idea.
If not all of the projects you want to accomplish in 2012 fit into your goals, here’s good news. They do not need to be abandoned. Instead, create a someday/maybe list where you can review and reassess their viability often.
Below are some suggestions for how and where to save your someday/maybe projects for a later time:
1) Write them down. List them on paper or electronic folder.
2) Label the folder “someday/maybe” or any name, for that matter, that speaks to you.
3) Check the folder every week to two weeks to make sure you still want to do the projects.
Consider storing the list in One Note, Evernote, Outlook’s notes section or in a file folder in your inbox. If it’s a paper folder, place the file folder in a location where you will see it often.
Once the information is stored electronically or in a paper file:
For more on this subject, check out David Allen’s website http://gtd.marvelz.com/blog/2007/08/14/somedaymaybe-unlikelynever-3-tips-to-fix-and-avoid-this/
Do you have a someday/maybe list and, if so, what’s on it?
Most everyone finds it challenging to keep track of the sheer bulk of paper even in this electronic age. If you are not happy with the mess of paper on your desk or if you can’t find what you need quickly, you may be delaying making decisions. These tips will help guide you through the maze.
First, schedule several hours of non-work time to organize papers in your office.
Follow the F.A.T. System for sorting paper, notebooks, files, and binders.
Imagine doing this same process daily except, of course, on a much smaller scale.
As efficiency gurus, we’re all about saving time. One way is by being more efficient with your email.
Email is the #1 problem almost every business person deals with daily. It’s too easy to become so engrossed in email that you ignore today’s must-do list. We recommend using a timer or your phone to keep track of time. How do you manage the time you spend on email? Let us know.
Read tips on planning ahead and making your next business trip a success. Although business trips can be exciting, the logistics of traveling can be stressful. By planning before, during and after the trip, you can lessen this stress.
Before you leave …
On the plane …
At your meetings …
When you return …
Make your next trip smooth-sailing and a first-class business experience.
Leslie Walden is quoted in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on November 28, 2010, about how to manage e-mail efficiently. She provides tips on how to reduce the number of e-mails in your inbox, how to write an effective e-mail, and how often to check e-mail.
Liz White, the publisher of Atlanta Parent Magazine and Leslie Walden’s client, was interviewed for the article. She spoke about how Leslie helped her make decisions about e-mail and the ways to reduce the number of e-mails in her in-box. To learn more about how It’s Time To Get Organized can help you be more productive, go to http://www.itstimetogetorganized.com/be-more-productive-at-your-desk/.
On November 11, 2010, Barbara Skutch Mays conducted an interactive seminar for the engineers at Cobb County — Marietta Water Authority on how to prepare for a successful and stress-free move to a new location. The emphasis was on how to decide which papers should be saved and which can be thrown or shred, what documents and items to keep on the top of your desk and how to set up an efficient system for finding documents quickly.
Leslie Walden from It’s Time To Get Organized spoke at the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers (GAWL) mid-year meeting November 5, 2010. The interactive workshop provided practical ways to manage time more effectively, handle work load more efficiently, streamline office procedures, and maintain and build stronger client relationships. Attendees received CLE (Continuing Legal Education) credit. For information on how you can book It’s Time To Get Organized as a speaker, go to: http://www.itstimetogetorganized.com/services/seminars-workshops/