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63 Ideas For Improving Time Management

  1. Start the day with unpleasant tasks you have been putting off. (Start the day by eating a Frog!)
  2. Cut out activities that would not be missed.
  3. Build into your plans an allowance for unplanned time.
  4. Let people know if they waste your time.
  5. Have stand-up meetings.
  6. Don’t answer personal calls on your mobile.
  7. Plan when you are going to check email – say every hour, rather than stopping every time you hear the ‘ping’.
  8. Shorten communication routes, improve information systems.
  9. Identify recurrent crises and make them routine.
  10. Find somewhere inaccessible to work on important things.
  11. Before interrupting someone, think whether it is really necessary.
  12. Learn to say NO or at the very least “Not Now”.
  13. Consolidate frequent short contacts with an individual into a regular meeting.
  14. Avoid distractions - do not sit where you can gaze out of the window.
  15. Tidy your desk.
  16. Improve storage and filing systems.
  17. Accept that few tasks can be done to perfection.
  18. Change the office layout, turn your desk round, so that you are not inviting interruptions.
  19. Identify time wasters and root them out.
  20. Learn rapid reading techniques.
  21. Cut down on reading.
  22. Consolidate your time into worthwhile chunks.
  23. Link everything you do to the job’s results. Use a prioritising tool linked to generating revenue, margin and customer satisfaction.
  24. Stop analysing, do something to improve.
  25. Handle each piece of paper only once. If you pick it up – action it.
  26. Make more use of standard letters and memos.
  27. Accept uncertainty, take a few risks.
  28. Do not get obsessed with details.
  29. Finish what you start.
  30. Keep a time log regularly to monitor improvement.
  31. Carry with you a notebook, including a list of things to do.
  32. Delegate some reading - trust people to tell you if there is something you should see. Share the task of keeping up to date.
  33. Keep physically fit to be alert and make the best use of your time.
  34. Get all socialising done in coffee/lunch/tea breaks.
  35. Live nearer the job.
  36. Rank your tasks for the day or week as high, medium or low priority.
  37. Share your problems and ideas with a colleague.
  38. Identify tasks that are related, especially those concerning the same people, and tackle them together.
  39. To improve self-discipline, commit yourself by voluntarily making promises to other people.
  40. Negotiate time/quality bargains with people who want your services.
  41. Make greater use of informal communication channels.
  42. Use a wall-chart to plan the quarter.
  43. Practice being more assertive, to answer back people who take advantage of your good nature.
  44. At the start of a meeting, always ask what time it is expected to finish.
  45. Before starting a new task, remind yourself you have options: what other task could you do instead?
  46. Set yourself deadlines and treat them as unbreakable.
  47. For a big job, set intermediate deadlines.
  48. Plan time for domestic, social and personal needs.
  49. Stop solving all your subordinates’ problems for them: encourage them to solve their own.
  50. Book appointments for meetings with yourself.
  51. Set aside one hour a day when you do not accept interruptions, and let your staff and colleagues know.
  52. Recognise that a task’s urgency is nothing to do with its importance.
  53. Before spending a lot of time on a decision, ask what would be the cost of getting it wrong.
  54. Plan time for self-development activities.
  55. At the end of the day, list the tasks you did not get round to doing; assess their importance to the job’s key areas.
  56. Try a diary and time planning system such as Filofax, Time Management, IPPS, Silverose, Franklin.
  57. Promise yourself a brief ‘treat’ - something you enjoy doing, whether work or not - for when you have finished a task you are tempted to put off.
  58. Make a special point of always being punctual for appointments.
  59. Start meetings on time, even if not all members have arrived.
  60. Let your colleagues know you are trying to improve your time management by using a time plan.  
  61. Circulate fuller information before meetings.
  62. If there is information that you need to refer to often (e.g. prices, rates, phone numbers) keep it pinned on the wall by your desk rather than hidden in files and drawers.
  63. Confront the boss and demand to know the objectives and priorities.

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