When trivial tasks stand like a mountain between you and important assignments, check whether one of these tactics will allow you to plow through them quicker:
1. Be stingy with your time. Determine how much time a chore deserves and limit yourself to completing it within that framework.
You may waste time on work you hate because you procrastinate or aim for perfection on an assignment that doesn't require it, like spending 20 minutes to find an air fare that's only $5 cheaper.
2. Chip or chunk. Plan an efficient workweek by deciding which duties you must attend to daily and which you can more efficiently tackle by grouping them together once a week.
3. Swap assignments. A colleague may find the job you dread relaxing or no big deal. Negotiate a fair trade, with the boss's approval. You'll both save time usually lost switching among tasks if you handle all the travel booking and your co-worker manages the filing.
4. Automate. The boss may balk at spending money on technology to speed data entry, until you prove the savings. Log the time you devote to a task and multiply that by your hourly pay to calculate potential savings.
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5. Nix the busy work. After holding a job long enough to understand how the office operates, question whether an assignment on your job description is necessary. If staff members can access the sales report on the computer network, for instance, why print and distribute a paper copy each week?
6. Match attention to tasks. Slog through mind-numbing work during the time of day you typically have less energy and ability to concentrate, or when interruptions are most likely. It's the most productive way to spend that time.
Microsoft Outlook Calendars & Tasks: Tips to Improve Your Time Management Skills shows you how to:
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- Use calendar features that enable you to make clear decisions involving how you spend your time
- Utilize tasks to track and assign work
- Put Outlook to work as a project management tool
- Insert other Outlook items, such as notes, e-mails and tasks
- Set reminders for yourself
- Color-code information
- Keep track of it all with reminders and “at a glance” features
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