Time management

One of the most challenging things to deal with in my work life is the number of things there are to do – from the mundane but important stuff to the meaty, interesting and fulfilling stuff. It can be a real challenge to make sure that I’m getting to do a bit of the interesting stuff regularly, and to not get swallowed up by the endless mundane but important stuff.

So, I’ve made myself a plan of how to manage my time each day and I thought I’d share it in case it’s useful, as I know loads of people have similar time management issues!

Here are the principles I’ve set out for how to manage my time in the new year:

1. Each year/month/week/day – stand back for a bit at the start/end of previous one and set out a few big things I want to achieve in each – and amid all the detailed cack do them.
2. Note these in diary. Note detailed action points as they come up on another piece of paper.
3. Allocate good chunks of time each day to do priority tasks – and focus on them properly (get immersed) when you do them. Enjoy and focus on this meaty stuff whilst acknowledging you have to do the other stuff.
4. Only 3 email review sessions a day (and tell others I’m doing this – if they need a quick reply, call me)
5. Only 3 web browses a day (really important) – and only in spare time.
6. Be disciplined (inc say no, don’t do things immediately to please people or because they’re easy – do them when they fit for you) and don’t get distracted. Then your priorities will be clearer, work will be more enjoyable and you’ll get more of the important stuff done. If a call comes in during your ‘priority’ time, answer it if you need to, but add more priority time at the end of the session to make it up. And allocate any action points to after your priority session if you can – only rarely will things be so urgent that they can’t wait.
7. Above all – stay calm and remember you’re in control of all of this – it doesn’t have to control you.

Two days into the year and this arrangement seems to be working – we’ll see how it’s going in another month’s time! Let me know how you get on with it if you try it!

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