Time is finite. All the more reason to give special attention to managing time blocks on your schedule and the boss’s schedule.
Two tactics, taken from two executives who use time management to boost their productivity:
1. Shrink your mental deadlines. “If I think something is going to take me an hour, I give myself 40 minutes,” says Krissi Barr, founder of Barr Corporate Success and author of How to Dig Out and Get the Right Things Done. “By shrinking your mental deadlines, you work faster and with greater focus.”
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2. Guard some open blocks on your calendar. Scott Lang, CEO of a firm that develops smart energy grids, says that being agile is imperative, because things often come up seemingly out of nowhere.
“Recently, for example, an important new partner came to the office and unexpectedly brought the CEO. The team came to me and said, ‘Oh, my God; their CEO came. Do you have a window this afternoon?’ I had a window.
“And at the end of the hour the CEO and I spent together, we’d identified new markets and positioned the company to be a global as well as a domestic partner. If I have a free block and nothing presents itself, I catch up on industry reports, self-education, and big-picture thinking. In a packed schedule, those things can get neglected. They shouldn’t be.”
— Adapted from “15 Ways to Be More Productive,” Inc.
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Regardless of which time-management method you use, you can keep control over your day and your time with these tips:
1. Set a plan for the day. In the morning, before you turn on your computer, spend five minutes writing down what you want to accomplish that day. Keep it realistic by scheduling the tasks’ time in your calendar. Schedule the hardest things first.
2. Refocus. Every hour, stop what you’re doing, look at your list and reflect on your last hour. Was it productive? What can you do to make the next hour productive?
3. Review. After you’ve shut down your computer, ask yourself what you were able to accomplish that day. What will you do differently tomorrow?
— Adapted from “An 18-Minute Plan for Managing Your Day,” Peter Bregman, HarvardBusiness.org.
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