Executive Coaching Articles

Five Ways to Create More Time at Work

Today’s frightening economy is taking no prisoners. If you’ve been fortunate enough to keep your job, you’ve probably been asked to pick up the slack from colleagues who have been laid off or whose haven’t been filled. That means more work, longer hours and additional frustration.

If you’ve read my past newsletters, you know I’m a strong advocate of maintaining a healthy work/life balance. In fact, in difficult times like these, this balance is even more critical. There are already enough pressures challenging all of us, both at home and at work.

“But how can I have balance in my life when I have to work late and come in on weekends?” a client recently asked me. “There are only 24 hours in a day!”

She was working harder, but was she working smarter?

So we sat down and explored ways to make more efficient use of her time. A few weeks later, her life isn’t totally back in balance, but her workload was more manageable and she’s spending weekends with her family, not chained to her desk.

You’ll find some time saving tips below that will help to restore some balance in your life!

Five Ways to Create More Time at Work

  1. Get organized. How much time do you waste looking for files, phone numbers, mailing addresses, clients’ business cards, etc.? When repeated dozens of times each day, these seemingly insignificant tasks gobble up precious minutes… and hours… in a week. Spend five to 10 minutes at the start of each day organizing your desk, files or work area. Are there ways to automate repetitive tasks or software programs to make them less time consuming?
  2. Prioritize your most important tasks. Create a to-do list and number your tasks in order of priority. You might set-up categories A, B and C. If you need help identifying the most important items on the list, ask yourself two questions: “If I could complete just one activity/task today, what would it be?” and “Is this activity the best use of my time?”
  3. Block out time for the things that are most important. You can do this at the beginning or each day or week Then focus on one task at a time, moving from the highest priority to the lowest. This is also an effective technique for combating procrastination.
  4. Avoid interruptions. It’s important to learn how to resist attacks on your time block. Some examples are dropping by to talk, checking your email every few minutes or even answering your phone. If somebody or something disrupts your time block, move the time block and re-commit to it.
  5. Learn to say no. Once you know what is most important, you need to be willing to say no. Your priorities are most important. Having to say no to things that undermine your priorities is key to making sure you implement what is most important.
  6. Is this meeting really necessary? Meetings and conference calls are notorious time wasters. But if they’re absolutely necessary, make sure they’re scheduled in advance to give participants time to prepare, insist on (and stick to) an agenda and time limit, stay on target and follow up.

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