You’ve climbed the corporate ladder. Achieved success. And now the reality of missing your kid’s hockey games (or ballet or any other activities you have them in!) sets in. Where has the time gone? How did they grow so fast? Work doesn’t seem as important as it did… the importance of being with your family has taken priority in this moment. So now is the time to change that. Using these time tested techniques, you can recapture your time. So read on and make the time for your kid’s hockey games!
Tip #1: Do a calendar review every Friday afternoon or Monday morning
This is about putting structure in your day and week. Setting priorities and being clear on what is most important to work on right now. This strategy involves a 10-minute goal setting and review practice once a week, and a 5-minute check in daily. Your ROI on is exponential. Put the time into planning and save the time in execution. In setting objectives for your week, include meetings, projects and tasks that you would like to complete in the next week. You may include the other parts of your life in an all-encompassing schedule. This may include reminders for family time or obligations, health, exercise, time with friends, volunteer activities, sports and errands (dry cleaners, etc.). Some of my clients even schedule in a movie or TV night that includes family or friends!
Follow these easy steps:
Do a brain dump of everything you need to be doing. Just list everything either on a paper list or using your on line to-do list.
Once completed, identify your top priorities by marking them with a ‘1’. These are the tasks that if not done now will have consequences. Leave the rest for now.
Schedule these priority ‘1’s by putting them into your calendar. Allocate an appropriate amount of time for each.
As you wind down your workweek, review what you have accomplished during the week and set objectives for the following week. Reviewing your calendar can give you a sense of accomplishment and prepare you for even greater success and satisfaction the following week.
Use the following tips for greater time success:
Tip #2: Don’t be a slave to e-mail
Schedule in three blocks of time each day for email. Time-tested best: Three 30-minute chunks – one at the start of the workday, a second before or after lunch and a third mid-afternoon. Schedule whatever works for you based on your workload, customers and occupation. If your organization/team has a committed response time, break these into smaller chunks more often. You get the idea – allow yourself to be fully present in whatever you’re doing. That maximizes efficiency and decreases stress. Also, turn the email notifier bell off. It acts as a distraction and takes you out of what you are doing to respond to something that likely can be left until your next email check-in time.
Tip#3: Be reasonable in what can be accomplished in your workday
Don’t take on the world! Be reasonable about what can be done in any chunk of time. And always build in time for the unplanned. Give yourself breathing space. And then leave for home more relaxed.
Tip #4: Schedule your day
We all have interruptions and a degree of unexpected meetings and situations. Plan for them. Yes, plan for them. Start each morning with a schedule review.
Add in scheduled meetings
Add in time to view and respond to email
Schedule project/task times based on your weekly objectives
Leave some flextime for interruptions, impromptu meetings, etc.
Tip #5: Evaluate your attendance in any meeting before confirming
We are totally over-meetinged. In session after session I ask for a show of hands of who feel they go to too many meetings. Consistently it is between 90% and 100% of the people polled. Do you attend too many meetings?
When you receive a meeting invitation ask yourself:
Do I need to be there?
If so, do I need to attend the entire meeting? Could I attend the portion of the meeting that pertains to me/my team?
If it is for my information only, and there is no input required, can I just receive the minutes from the meeting?
If my presence is not required, can I send someone in my place?
Tip #6: Ask for help!
Why get stressed out and overloaded? When the stress and pressure increase, ask a colleague for help. And offer to reciprocate when they need help. If you question doing this, consider the opposite: a colleague approaches you to ask for help. How would you respond? If we know it works both ways, in most cases we are willing to help out. Remember though, it must be of benefit to both of you. He/she needs to know that they can come to you when in need of help too!
Tip #7: Know when to say ‘no’
Saying no can be ever so empowering. When someone makes a request for your time and effort, evaluate the request. Consider whether it is part of your job, how much time it will take, whether you have the skills to do it, if it utilizes your greatest strength areas and how necessary it is. You must choose in the moment whether to agree to do it or not. Your intuition and gut feelings will guide you in the right direction. Following this will usually give you the response that is best for both of you.
Tip #8: Take a time out before you need it
Being stressed has a huge negative impact on productivity. As you feel your stress level begin to increase, take time out. Unplug from your work for a moment or a few moments…until you are ready to plug back in. Being stressed impacts your interactions too. If engaging with people is the major component of your job, know your own stress signs and take time out before your stress becomes apparent to your customer. It will benefit you, your customer and your productivity.
Tip #9: Be fully present
Multi-tasking simply does not work. Our minds simply cannot focus on more than one thing at a time. To do something well, keep your attention on that until it is done, then move on to the next task. Your productivity will increase and you will feel more relaxed.
Tip #10: Focus on your top priorities
Once you have identified your goals for the week and scheduled them in, keep them as top priority. Make these items the last to get moved if other tasks come into play. If you don’t get a high priority item complete in a day, make that a top priority for the next day.
So there you have it. The top 10 things you can do to better manage workload and increase your success. Find the balance in your life. You can be successful at work and be an active partner and parent.
My encouragement to you is to print this off, and put check marks next to any of the 10 items that you are currently doing. Set an objective to make changes and implement some of the other items. As you successfully implement each of these for 21 days, put a check mark next to each. Remember to celebrate your accomplishments at the end of each week and as you add check marks to these pages.
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