The solution? Try managing projects instead of time. That way, you won’t need to check your watch every few hours or grow frazzled trying to jam too much into your day.
Here’s how to gain efficiency through project management:
Match task with person. Break a project into its component parts—the specific jobs that you can delegate. Then assign these tasks to the appropriate people with deadlines (day and time) for them to complete each stage. Explain what you want done in writing, and include a numbered list of to-do steps to increase clarity. Distribute a master list of everyone’s role to the whole unit so workers can share information easily.
Give snappy introductions. When you’re asked to introduce a guest speaker to a group, distribute the person’s full written bio in advance. That way, you can limit your intro to two or three sentences and direct the audience to the handout for more on the speaker’s background.
Cluster related jobs. Maximize every trip from your office by arranging groups of meetings, inspections and errands near your destination. Even if you’re just taking the elevator up three flights to see a colleague, deliver documents needed by others nearby.
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Also, combine similar activities. If you’re visiting field offices to generate buy-in for your pet project, line up back-to-back meetings where you can sell the troops without distractions. If you schedule unrelated tasks smack in the midst of your “road show,” you force yourself to shift gears abruptly.
Make “just-in-time” decisions. Smart managers choose the proper moment to gather and review the data they need to draw the right conclusion. If you rush to make a preliminary decision— only to revisit the issue repeatedly in the weeks ahead—you waste time.
As a rule, only make decisions once. If circumstances change or new information surfaces, then reassess. But otherwise, don’t dally or rely on committees to hash out something that you can resolve faster on your own.
Has your job turned into one of those “stretch jobs”? If so, you may be looking for a better way to get more done in less time, reduce stress and stop burning the midnight oil.
While you can’t create more hours in your day, you can learn how to use them wisely. That’s where 10 Time Management Tips can help. It’s your guide to working smarter, not longer, every day.
In 10 Time Management Tips you’ll read about calendar management, keyboard shortcuts, running productive meetings, setting up agenda templates and using tech tools for project management. And you can challenge yourself by taking our quizzes on two key time management issues: “Are you a micromanager?” and “Are you ready and willing to delegate?”
Let 10 Time Management Tips show you how to prioritize your tasks and stop working in a crisis mode all the time.