How often and true become the words, “If there were only a few more hours in the day…” As with any other form of management, time management involves a series of processes depending upon it goals. Whereas the trend is to consider time management as a balance between the things we want to do professionally and the things we want to do personally, our experts point out that time management is more about effectively merging the two. Put into practice, time management allows people more time to do the things they need to do, as well as those things they want to do.
As people become inundated with demands and requests for their time, they feel overwhelmed: that feeling of no longer being in control over one’s life. These feelings and/or anxieties are not only unhealthy, but can decrease productivity in a way that translates into real dollars and cents. In order to regain the sense of command of the day in our lives, our experts suggest trying the following:
- Reduce the amount of activity and increase the amount of productivity. Ask yourself if what you are currently doing is actually moving you closer towards your goals, or is it just “busy work”? You may need to re-evaluate the situation and ask yourself “do I need to be doing this at all?” Evaluate not only if the work needs to be done by you, but if it can be done better by technology or by someone that is better positioned to do the work. Show upper management how you can more productively use your time, and you will gain respect and support towards taking the right corrective action.
- Regularly survey your environment. Take a pro-active approach towards daily events, rather than being compliant and re-active. At least three times per day stop to evaluate what has happened and what you still need to do in the time remaining. DEnter three daily notes into your electronic calendar to remind you, so the day doesn’t simply slip by. uring the morning evaluation decide what is and isn’t going to get done, based upon what you know of the day. At noon, contrast and compare actual accomplishments to goals, and evaluate why things did or did not get done. During your end-of-day evaluation, see what became left over. Evaluate its priority for tomorrow. Search for patterns of non-productivity. Such things may include extra out-of-office coffee breaks, doing low priority things when high-priority work could be accomplished, and periods when time was wasted. Understanding these will give you better command of your time and allow for increased productivity.
- Create a designated workspace. Clear your desk of clutter; keep only the essentials that are work related. Then, pick a designated area to put your current work and allow nothing else to occupy that space. With nothing on your desk but your current task, you have eliminated those distractions created by peripheral vision and increased your ability to give dedicated focus to your work.
Our experts suggest the three following elements to measure your time management success:
- Think in terms of increasing your productivity by a percent of an hour per day, i.e. 1/10th or 6 minutes of an hour per day, each day. Aggregated out over a 12-month period, this equates to 24-hours of increased productivity per year, or three 8-hour shifts of work per year. This can be easily translated into money terms, and the savings become instantly recognizable.
- Personal productivity: by being in command of yourself and your work every day, you will be more responsive, more effective, and more efficient – – the outcomes of which can all be measured daily.
- Self-perception and value: If you are getting more real work done, without expending additional effort, a rise in self-appreciation and value occurs.
Don’t become victim to the ASAP-syndrome. ASAP, which literally means “as soon as possible”, almost always represents a fictitious deadline. It should be remembered that labels such as “ASAP”, “right now”, “urgent” and their likes have zero specificity to them. You are on the path to better results and a better life through clearer ideas of time management and deadlines. Insist that your colleagues be equally specific and clear. Everyone will benefit as a result.
Tip of the Month: Don’t broadcast you new found available time. Doing so will allow others to believe that you can take on the additional work that they don’t want to do and you will once again become overwhelmed in work.
Additional Tip: Think in terms of increasing your productivity by a fraction of an hour, i.e. 1/10th or 6 minutes of an hour each day. This equates to 24-hours of increased productivity per year, and can be easily translated into money terms.
This CallTalk Caramel was compiled and edited by Bruce Belfiore and Kamál Webb. It was drawn from a CallTalk episode with Paul H. Burton, entitled “Time Management: Getting More Done with Less Stress – Time Management Tips You Can Use”. To listen to the entire episode click play below:
Getting More Done With Less Stress, Time Management Tips You Can Live By
CallTalk is a monthly internet radio program featuring the most innovative managers and thought leaders in the customer contact field, interviewed by BenchmarkPortal CEO, Bruce Belfiore. “Caramels” distills “Aha!” moments from these interviews into practical, bite-sized nuggets to inform and assist you as a contact center professional.