We all experience it on a daily basis. We are constantly flooded with a series of issues, activities, and problems that stop us from being the “productivity machines” we would like to be! Some times the solution to these “time wasters” is not that difficult; you just need some discipline and will power to organise your working day in more constructive way.
Try these simple tips to make more time for yourself. The first few deal with how to make the telephone your friend and not your enemy. The remainder offer guidance on improving office systems which in turn free up more of your time:
- Have someone field your calls – If you have a secretary, an assistant or even someone on a switchboard, you can train them to handle the telephone in such a way that you are not flooded with unnecessary and time wasting calls.
- Make your calls in blocks – Sometimes it’s not the inbound calls that are the problem; you are obviously going to have to make outgoing calls throughout your working day; a simple but effective trick is to set specific times throughout the day to do this. You could block off an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon and use this set time to make all necessary calls.
- Beware of time passing – Following on from the previous tip, it’s very easy to lose track of time and get carried away when you are talking on the phone; just because you have allocated time blocks for your calls doesn’t mean that you don’t have to keep an eye on the time. Make sure you stick to the allocated time blocks; if you don’t, the whole exercise is pointless.
- Prepare your calls – Ok, you don’t have to have a full script! However, you should try to jot down the main points you want to get across in your conversation; you will find it easier to stick to the point and stay focused on the main reason for your call.
- Finish one job before you start the next – Are you guilty of trying to complete 10 tasks at the same time? We all fall into this trap and end up getting swamped with unfinished jobs and tasks – not the most productive of situations to be in.
- Spend 5 minutes planning your day – You can do it at the start of your working day or just before you go home in the evening. The idea is that you will have a good outline of what you want to achieve throughout the day. Remember to set yourself realistic goals that can be completed.
- If you deal with a lot of mail, try to get it screened – This is obviously easier to do with regular mail that with email. Nonetheless, you should try and get someone to screen all your mail as much as possible.
- Make an effort to handle each piece of paper once – Read it and if you need to take action do so, if not put it in the corresponding tray so that it can be dealt with later or files as need be.
- Make full use of committed time – If you are going to allocate a certain amount of time to a task, for example, preparing a presentation, make sure you use that time wisely – no surfing on the internet please!
As usual, these tips are worthless if you don’t actually try and apply them to your everyday work life. You don’t have to follow all of them; however, if you get in to the habit of using them, you will notice a marked difference in your productivity; you will be making better use of your time and this efficiency can only be good for you.