Time Management Tips Part 2

March 20, 2003

Take Control Of Your Time

By: Gregory P. Smith

Here are a few more time management tips I've picked up over the years.

6. Toss it or file it. Follow the rule to touch paper only once. Know what is important and throw away every piece of paper you don't think you will need. If you want to keep it, spend 10 seconds filing that important paper now rather than 30 minutes searching for it later.

7. Use folders to prioritize your work; sub-divide files. If you are a paperless office, use your computer to sub-divide files. For example, I created electronic folders for my articles titled, "Articles for 2001," and "Articles for 2002." This way I can quickly find what I am looking for. If you have paper files use colors folders to see which jobs need your immediate attention. I use red folders for hot projects and client files. Yellow folders are for new ideas and projects. Blue folders tell me this is for research. Get the idea?

8. Be realistic and stay flexible. One way to set yourself up for a panic attack is to plan an unrealistic amount of work for one day/week/etc. Use your common sense to recognize when you have over-scheduled yourself. Don't get so organized you become unapproachable.

9. Schedule time for you. Schedule a "personal time" appointment on your calendar each day. If someone wants to see you at that time, just say, "I'm sorry, I have an appointment then." Whether you use this for personal reflection or as a few quiet minutes to catch your breath or simply time to think, it's a legitimate use of time. And you will still get as much, if not more, done.

10. Make sure your electronic planner does not cost you time. People who use electronics enjoy the orderly convenience of a digital assistant, but sometimes they take longer to enter and maintain information in a gadget than to jot it down with a pencil in an old-fashioned paper planner.

11. E-mail. Answer E-mail immediately. The same rule applies to e-mail as paper. Read it once and do something with it. Don't read it and then let it pile up in your in-box thinking you will get back to it. Keep your in-box clutter free. Create a "keeper" folder and transfer the mail you want to keep for later. Create another folder for "actions pending," and so on. Respect other people's time and avoid forwarding those stories/jokes people love to send unless they agree to get them first. Use the delete key aggressively and delete junk e-mail without reading it. Learn to use your filters to eliminate spammers.

Time is valuable, and time management can help you be more productive, successful and less stressed out so you have more time to enjoy your life more.

Gregory P. Smith shows businesses how to build productive and profitable work environments that attract, keep, and motivate their workforce. He is the author of the book, Here Today Here Tomorrow: Transforming Your Workforce from High Turnover to High-Retention. He speaks at conferences, conducts management training, and is the President of a management consulting firm called Chart Your Course International located in Conyers, Georgia. Phone him at 770-860-9464. More articles available:http://www.chartcourse.com

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