Being in Control of Your Day
How often do you end the day by saying “where’s the day gone?” By creating techniques to manage your working day, you can achieve more and make sure you are on top of the important tasks.
The working day is full of demands on our time so mastering how to get the best out of the hours we work is essential. These tips and techniques will make life easier and help you stay in control, ensuring the important objectives of the day don’t get hidden amongst the trivia.
CREATE A DAILY, REALISTIC ‘TO DO’ LIST
Prioritise each task ensuring that the most important ones are at the top. Tick through completed items and add comments next to half-finished ones. Carry forward anything left over to the next day.
Are all the meetings necessary and who needs to be there – and for which items? Set and stick to a realistic agenda and prioritise the items. Ensure action points are set, and all attending are aware of them – otherwise what was the purpose of the meeting? Most meetings are scheduled for an hour: try making them 45 minutes instead. This could save hours a week.
Have you scheduled in time to receive calls or could they be re-directed if not urgent? Sometimes ‘speaking’ avoids the need for copious emails and can add variety to your work pattern. Plan with bullet points the calls you need to make to ensure you keep to the purpose of the call.
Adopt a ‘touch once’ policy if possible. If you still receive a substantial amount of paperwork (that hasn’t been replaced by emails!), sort into five piles of Urgent, Important, Unimportant, Reading and Junk. Shred anything confidential.
Only use email when a face-to-face meeting or verbal conversation is not possible, or you want to record actions. Only BCC/CC if necessary. Only check your emails at three set times throughout the day – turn off pop-ups or sound alerts to distract you! Delete and unsubscribe to any that are irrelevant, create a file for non-urgent emails to look at later and action the urgent ones – which in reality will be a small percentage.
‘Tidy desk, tidy mind.’ All equipment should be readily available and accessible. Invest time to keep organised.
Master the systems and software you frequently use, ensuring you know the shortcuts. Use pre-set templates to save time. Don’t waste work time ‘surfing the net’ or catching up on social media – save those for as a reward later on when all your ‘To Do’ list is ticked off!