This month’s guest blogger is time management and organization expert Andrea Osborne of www.cushiontheimpact.co.uk. As head of an award winning lifestyle management service, Andrea often solves, manages, organizes, and ultimately simplifies her clients’ personal, domestic and business lives. Her post on time management ties in nicely with our recent one on perfectionism, given that procrastination and difficulties with prioritization and time management are common pitfalls for the perfectionist!
How many times have you heard people say that there aren’t enough hours in the day?
How many times have you said it?
We all know the benefits of improved time management:
- Less stress
- Increased productivity
- Increased business profitability or career progression
- More time to spend on what you value most – your family, your business, your job…your life…
But what actions can you take to really make a difference in your career or business? Here are Andrea’s top five:
1. Assess exactly how you spend your time
You may think you know how to spend your time during the day but most of us get a (sometimes unpleasant) surprise when we monitor where time actually goes during the day. Keep a time log and enter everything you do, including every time you change task or are interrupted whether by your boss, bestie or bladder. At the end of the day (and I recommend doing it for more than one day), review your log, you may be shocked by how little you do on the important or high priority work.
Assess the following:
- How much time do you spend on planning, marketing or project work?
- Do the activities done reflect your priorities?
- What takes up your time but contributes little to the furthering of your goals?
- How many times are you disrupted or interrupted?
- Could any of the tasks be simplified or done by someone else?
2. Make long and short term goals
Knowing what you want to do will help you move forward. As a quick exercise this evening, if you don’t have any written goals already, write down up to five things you would like the extra time for, if you’re tempted to have all five as work or business related, think about including at least one personal goal. Many of us, especially those of us who run our own businesses, love what we do but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do something else with our time on occasion!
3. Plan your day in advance
Either the night before or first thing in the morning, make a list of what you want to achieve that day. Do this before you check the black hole that emails can be as your day, however carefully planned, can be railroaded by one email. Do not overload yourself, be realistic using the information collated from the time log. Stick to your plan as much as you can. Use a timer; I use the alarm on my phone to stop me getting sucked into replying to emails for example.
4. Stop multitasking
Multitasking leads to as much as a 40% drop in productivity. (Bergman, P., May 20, How (and why) to stop multitasking. Harvard Business Review.)
Multitasking causes a 10% drop in IQ. (as above, Bergman, P. 2010)
Multitaskers make up to 50% more errors. (John Medina, Brain Rules)
Focus on one task at a time; you’ll produce higher quality work and waste less time doing it.
5. The quickest, easiest and often most effective time saving tip
It’s often the strategy that people are most resistance to…turn off your email notification. There are very few jobs where the business will collapse if you stop checking your emails the second they arrive. Every client, no matter how unwilling at the start, notices a big increase in productivity.
Adopting these good habits and practices will continue to help you throughout your life/career/business as it grows.
For more tips and strategies or individual / group time tuition, contact Andrea Osborne on 020 3218 0053 or www.cushiontheimpact.co.uk. Mention this blog for a 10% discount on a personal strategy session.