Managing Time and Interruptions

Managing Time

  1. Schedule large projects into a series of short segments. You can accomplish much of the project in this way, and you may be motivated to keep going past the allotted time.
  2. Set a time limit on involvement in a task. It will seem less boring or overwhelming if you know you will stop at a certain time.
  3. Don’t spend a lot time deciding the best way to accomplish a complex task. Get started, and you will soon find the best route.
  4. Place a colored page to flag re-ordering stationery. You’ll never have to hold off completing a job because your stationery supplies ran out.
  5. Tape record your correspondence while commuting, to save time and diffuse the stress of commuting.
  6. Schedule “high brain” tasks, such as working on a major proposal, during peak energy and mechanical tasks such as filing during lower energy time.
  7. Schedule regular time for reading a few times a week when the day is winding down and the office is quiet.
  8. Eliminate “drop-in” visits by using a visual barrier at your work space, such as a tall plant in the direct line of vision of a door or window.
  9. Use a lightweight phone headset to free your hands while on the phone.
  10. We are better at giving advice to others than to ourselves. Conquer your own procrastination by thinking of what you might advise someone else to do in your situation.

Managing Interruptions

  1. Estimate the time for a task and double it to accommodate interruptions. If you finish earlier than you estimated, it will feel like a bonus and a breather.
  2. Use another office, conference room, library or somewhere other than your office to work uninterrupted. Or work earlier or later than others in your business to minimize interruptions.
  3. Write yourself a note about where you left off for easier re-entry when you come back to something. The time you take writing the note will often be less than figuring out where you were when you return to the task.
  4. Inform a caller you would like to talk to them and ask “when would be a better time than now?” You will be both gracious and in control of your time in this way.
  5. When asking someone to call you, leave the best time to reach you. This can reduce Telephone Ping-Pong, cut down delays and save time and stress.
  6. Ask if you have called at a convenient time. If not, find out when would be better. You want to have the full attention of the person you called when you talk.
  7. Reply to short memos and correspondence in the margin of the same page whenever possible. This saves paper, time and brain power.
  8. Be as direct and complete as you can when issuing requests and directions. Indirect communication can cost dearly in time and stress.

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