- Does this sound familiar? “I’ve been busy all day, but I’ve not managed to complete anything that I’d planned !” This means that you are not in control of your agenda. Depending on your role, you will have to leave time aside to deal with unexpected tasks, but you must carve out time to complete at least one key objective each day.
2. Book an appointment with yourself
•Instead of compiling and adding to your “to do” list, write your task into your schedule. Make an appointment with yourself to complete this task. You know the urgency and time required to finish it – so make a date and get it done!
3. Go Faster !
- Why allocate time in blocks of 30 minutes or one hour? Many of us this take this option- since it’s the easiest way to book time in Outlook. When you’re allocating time for your tasks or meetings – think again before you go for the easy option. As a start, lob 50% off what you would normally allocate and see what happens. There’s no reason why you can’t complete some simple tasks in 7 minutes.
4. Conquer your e-mail
• Read my Top Ten tips for e-mail !
5. Think like a Gantt Chart
• If you’re writing a proposal or planning a reasonably complex project, you can greatly reduce your planning time by creating a Gantt Chart. You break down a project into each distinctive step and allocate timings and dependencies. You quickly create a picture of the project which you can never achieve by a list of bullet points or PowerPoint slides. You can create these in Excel, there’s no need to buy specialist software. Google “Gantt Chart” and you’ll quickly find some inspiration and further top tips.
6. Say NO !
• If you are a “willing horse”, your boss and colleagues will always be asking you to take on more stuff. Often these “favours” have nothing to do with your primary job responsibilities. The increased workload often hampers your ability to excel or even to succeed in your role. Once somebody has “thrown you a monkey”, it’s on your back. Say NO. Explain that your current list of priorities does not leave any spare capacity. The monkey stays with them !
7. Ask for help
- When was the last time you asked a colleague for some help ? A quick chat by the coffee machine can give you a new perspective on a problem. Don’t just talk about the weather or sport. Ask if you can bounce something off them. If you then this follow-up over lunch, you’ve suddenly gained an hour’s input and assistance. Just ask !
8. Sleep on it
- This is a well-known expression, and it’s great advice. You should use you brain’s ability to work away at a problem in your subconscious. If you’ve spent time pouring over the pieces of the problem, don’t even try to come up with a solution. Just hand it over to your subconscious mind and hey presto, a new insight, even a solution will pop into your mind when brushing your teeth or buttering your toast. You’ll have experienced this before –so why not make this phenomenon happen more often. Delegate to your subconscious mind !
9. Mind Map
- You sketch a diagram of a business problem or written project by drawing branches arranged around a central key word or idea. It’s liberating, rather than thinking in a bullet point lists – you just draw, in a non-linear fashion, branches for each idea, task or item. Dependent items can then be “grown” from the main branches. It’s great for brainstorming and helps you make connections that you would never otherwise have made. There are many useful software packages that will quickly get you up and running – creating your own Mind Maps.
10. Master Meetings
- Never attend a meeting unless there is a clear objective and a well considered agenda. If one does not exist, encourage the person who is convening the meeting to sort this quickly. Don’t suffer in silence and find that you have to work overtime to make up for the time which has been devoured by an ill-disciplined meeting earlier that day. Of course, you must find a diplomatic way of doing this. See my top tips for building rapport!