You don’t need more time in your day, you simply need to organize your time better. You will be surprised at how much you can accomplish each day with a bit of structure, prioritizing and commitment in your personal life and your office. Below we look at 10 steps you can implement today.
Use the quadrant system popularized by Stephen Covey to identify tasks that are urgent and important, and not urgent but important. These are the tasks you should focus on first. If you have time available later you can start on tasks that are not important.
Goals are important not only because they provide a defined plan and direction to follow, but also because they allow you to measure and evaluate your progress. You are far more focused when you have goals in your life and workplace.
Use a To-Do List
All goals and projects are made up of smaller parts that need to be accomplished in order to achieve the goal, or complete the project. Create to-do lists for each goal and project, listing all the measurable steps that need to be accomplished. Aside from keeping you focused, this also motivates you as you are able to see what you have already achieved, and what remains.
Don’t Abandon Tasks
It is inevitable that some tasks will be interrupted or delayed half-way through. Make a point of always returning to and completing these tasks once you are able to. This may require you to set a limit on the number of tasks you are working on at any given time.
Identify Your Prime Time
Prime time is the time of day when you are most productive, and it varies from one person to the next. Identify when you are most productive and schedule all your complex tasks for this time. Avoid meetings and phone calls during this time to further maximize your results.
Banish Time Thieves
What steals the most time in your day? Is it jumping between tasks, a cluttered workspace where you are constantly looking for needed items, maybe its a habit of trying to perfect everything through multiple revisions. Change your habits, or tidy up your workspace – do whatever is required to eliminate these time thieves from your day.
Use Rules and Filters
Create rules and filters on your email client to effectively sort all incoming messages for you. Schedule different times, and days, for when you will attend to different folders. Important work related messages should be addressed once a day, while personal messages, advertising and newsletters can be scheduled for quieter times. Speak with your virtual assistant about helping you to create the rules and filters, and organizing your inbox.
Schedule Your Day
End each day by revising your schedule for the next day. Compile a to-do list for the day which must include specific projects, tasks and even meetings. Assign times to each item so that you start your day knowing exactly what needs to be accomplished, and when. This eliminates wasting time trying to decide what to do next.
Schedule Internet and Social Media Time
Ideally your virtual assistant should be managing your social networks for you, but if you like to still do some networking of your own, schedule certain times and days of each week when you will do this. Internet browsing and social networks are both huge time thieves if not managed properly.
If you have a task or project that you keep delaying take 10-minutes to at least get it started. Set a 10-minute countdown on your watch or cellphone and focus on nothing else but this project. This might provide the kick you need and even if you don’t continue with the task after your 10-minutes are up, you have at least made a start, and can return to it the next day for another 10-minutes.
About Out of the Office Virtual Assistance:
At Out of the Office, we offer ideas and ways to increase your productivity, decrease your workload, and work more efficiently. We nurture a successful business relationship, while continuing to grow as your business partner. We are focused on streamlining your administration, social media planning and execution, and offering creative solutions for your business success.
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