2 Jan 2015. A new work year. New goals, objectives, and resolutions set.13 Jan 2015. Quality over quantity – New Year’s resolution still on track. Tick.
After years of embarking on multiple new year work resolutions and not really ever achieving any, I’m taking a different approach in 2015. This year is quality over quantity. I’m determined to perfect the act of managing my time at work to achieve more than ever before, without working longer (I’ve tried the ‘work longer hours’ approach and while it brings short term results, it is not a long term solution).
In my quest to achieve this goal I’ve searched high and low for inspiration. I’ve combined some personal experience, research and advice from CEO’s and business leaders (because who knows how to manage time better than the boss?) and formed four key strategies for effective time management in 2015…
- Structure calendar meeting invitations
Always include an agenda and a project briefing when setting up calendar meeting invitations. A project briefing explains the meeting, helps people decide if they need to attend and removes the need for a long introduction on the day, allowing more time to be spent moving the project forward.
- Internal communication is just as important as external communicationTreat your colleagues as you would treat your most valued clients. Engage in regular communication. If project priorities change, keep people informed. People are not (generally) unreasonable and will appreciate the update. ‘Radio silence’ can cause panic which will then make your life more difficult.
- Simply saying ‘No’ is not helpful
Personally, I don’t believe in saying no to project requests, except of course the ridiculously unreasonable. Instead I endeavour to respond with something like… “Sure, I can help you with that but not until….” and offer a timeline and reasoning. Saying ‘no’ without an explanation will only require more energy repairing damaged internal relationships and you will eventually have to explain yourself, so doing it straight up saves time.
- Get more from othersThis links closely with my previous point. Humans are predisposed to want to help others, so harness this characteristic and collaborate with colleagues on projects which may originally have been intended solely for you. Providing a timeline and reasoning for why you can’t complete a project request immediately will enable others to help you get things done, giving you back some time...
"It would really help me if you did [X] & then we'd be able to deliver [Y] sooner.”
…And, when people help you, don’t forget to say thank you. Something so simple but too often overlooked.
- Stop, breathe, think... then decide if you need to typeDo you really need to send that email? Can you find the answer to what you’re about to ask another way? A walk by? A phone call?
Email has positively changed the way we work but with the ability to seek instant responses, I often wonder whether it is making us lazy and less inclined to seek out answers ourselves. Something to ponder! And, whilst on email, my final tip…
- Email discipline – only check your email at set times during the day. You might find that by the time you get to some problems they've already been solved!
Help me to keep my time management resolution on track – share your top tips with me by leaving a response below, tweet @CISI or email firstname.lastname@example.org