Got plans for the summer? While you’re basking in the sun, consider this: you’ll spend more time looking for lost documents at work than you will on your vacation. Up to three times as much! That’s right. Americans average only two to two-and-a-half weeks vacation every year. Yet according to Fast Company Magazine, executives waste six weeks per year searching for lost paperwork.
In fact, employees spend up to 35 percent of their time looking for the information they need to do their jobs. And when you’re not trying to track down that lost file or report, chances are someone is interrupting you. Studies show an American worker is interrupted eight times every hour. Each interruption averages five minutes. It’s a wonder that any work gets done at all.
Fortunately there are simple techniques and strategies you can use to better manage your time and reduce the stress at work. I’ve listed them below. By incorporating just of few into your daily routine, you should be able to spend more time at the beach and less time searching for lost files. Enjoy the summer!
Do you need to be more organized?
You need an executive coach with a proven track record to help you manage your time. Hire Joel Garfinkle to help you develop strategies you can use to improve productivity and more effectively manage time.
You can’t manage time, but you can manage yourself. Here’s how:
- Focus on what’s most important. Prioritize your work and devote your time accordingly. At the beginning of each week or day, write up a “to-do” list. Then keep a diary of how you’re actually spending your time.
- Know when to say no. It’s been said the difference between efficient and non-efficient workers is the work efficient workers choose not to do. Focus on your priorities.
- Don’t be afraid to delegate. Look for opportunities to delegate non-essential work. Are there others on your team who would benefit or learn from performing these tasks?
- Eliminate distractions. Schedule a certain time (or times) each day to read and respond to your email or to return phone calls. Close your door or don’t answer the phone when you’re working on high priority work. Consider working “off hours” when there are fewer people — and distractions — at the office.
- Avoid multi-tasking. You’ll make fewer errors and spend less time on rework. There’s nothing inefficient about “working slow” on key projects.
- Kill the clutter. Spend a few minutes each week organizing your files, email addresses and correspondence. Look for ways to reduce redundancies or trim steps from work processes.
- Learn from the pros. Who are the most organized people you know? Ask them to share their secrets. Take a training class or read about improving your time management skills.
- Get your supervisor onboard. Talk to your supervisor and tell him or her that you’re determined to improve in this area. Then ask for their ongoing support, feedback and constructive criticism. Your boss will be impressed at your initiative and be more likely to notice your improvement (and reward you for it).
Copyright ©2005-2017 Joel Garfinkle, All Rights Reserved.
Joel Garfinkle is recognized as one of the top 50 coaches in the U.S., and the author of 7 books, including Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level. He has worked with many of the world's leading companies, including Google, Deloitte, Amazon, Ritz-Carlton, Gap, Cisco, Oracle, and many more. Visit Joel online at Garfinkle Executive Coaching. Subscribe to his Fulfillment@Work Newsletter and receive the FREE e-book, 40 Proven Strategies to Get Promoted Now!
This article may be reprinted or forwarded to colleagues and friends as long as the above copyright notice and contact information is attached in its entirety.
If you reprint this article, please advise us that you have done so and forward a copy of the article, or a link to the web page where the article can be viewed, to Joel Garfinkle.