Time management: Plan and control your day effectively
How are your time management skills? No matter how good you may be at your job, time management is often the most challenging skill to master. There are certainly ways in which our call logging and call recording systems can help with time management both from personal and team perspectives.
Call recording offers you the opportunity to deal more effectively with the detail of calls at a time when you’re able to focus clearly on the task in hand. Call logging means that you can actively analyse areas where your time management could be better, highlighting areas to be improved.
A dark art
In truth, never has managing time been a more complex art. Whatever help you can get from call technology you still need to look at your personal skills too. Aside from all the traditional claims on our attention like work and family, we now have an array of technological minefields to negotiate. For many of us the options of working remotely, at different times of the day on a variety of platforms can only add to the confusion.
Mastering the art of time management is not necessarily an exact science. Everyone is different and what might work for one might not work for another. The first key to effective time management is highlighting what makes you as a person tick and identifying any other stimulants that can work to empower you.
A check list
In 2013, Canadian product designer and marketing advisor Etienne Garbuli compiled his ‘26 time management hacks I wish I’d known at 20’. Workers across the globe seemed to identify with Etienne’s list as he offered tips that could be adapted to the individual.
Below is our interpretation of some of the tips included in the list –
- Days always fill up faster than you anticipate – You need to be realistic when planning your day ensuring that you factor in time for breaks and things taking longer than you’d expect. At best you should only expect to complete 4 to 5 hours of real work per day.
- Work more when you’re in the zone, relax when you’re not – There will be days when you feel you can take on the work and others when you feel challenged to achieve anything at all. Maximise the times when you’re on the money and it will be easier to cope when you’re not on top form.
- Stop multi-tasking. It merely kills your focus – You’re likely to work more efficiently when dealing with one task at a time and sticking to it until it’s finished. You’ll be more productive and maintain your focus.
- We’re always more focused and productive with limited time – Many people work best when up against it so setting shorter time limits in which to complete tasks can help to motivate.
- Work is the best way to get working. Start with short tasks to get the ball rolling – Crossing off shorter or easier tasks early in the working day will help you get in to the zone quicker and set you up for the hours ahead.
- More work hours doesn’t mean more productivity. Use constraints as opportunities – Try and stick to whatever you set as your working hours for the day. The longer you work the more tired you’ll become and chances are the quality of your work will be compromised too.
- Separate brainless and strategic tasks to become more productive – By completely separating robotic tasks from those that require more thought it should help you to execute the more brainless of tasks much faster. It will also clear your mind when you need to think more deeply about something too. By combining the two types of tasks the monotony of one will only impact negatively on the other.
- Organise meetings early during the day. Time leading up to an event is often wasted – The build up to any event or meeting can often end up being wasted time if you’re preoccupied with what is coming up. Scheduling meetings for earlier in the day will naturally cut down the amount of waiting time.
- Keep the same context throughout the day. Switching between projects/clients is unproductive – In a similar vein to multitasking, maintaining focus in a single direction will allow freedom of thought and give creativity the chance to flow.
- Work around procrastination. Procrastinate between intense sprints of work – Set yourself work targets broken into smaller chunks. In most cases a normal attention span for adults is approximately 15 to 20 minutes, though a lot depends on factors like subject matter, nature of the activity, and time of day. Break your work time down with regular short breaks scheduled in between.
- Break the unreasonable down into little reasonable chunks. A big goal is only achieved when every little thing that you do every day, gets you closer to that goal – Even the most daunting of tasks can look achievable when broken down.
- No two tasks ever hold the same importance. Always prioritise. Be really careful with to-do lists – making a task list can really help to focus you on your day. However, noting down a number of tasks like buy milk, sharpen pencil or feed cat to allow you to tick a number of tasks off early can only serve to mask a day of no real achievement whatsoever.
- Always know the one thing you need to get done during the day – make sure you know what your most importance focus should be on any given day. Break it down if you need to, but put all of your energies into completing it.
- Delegate and learn to make use of other people – Author John C. Maxwell states “If something can be done 80% as well by someone else, delegate!”
- Turn the page on yesterday. Only ever think about today and tomorrow – In the words of Babe Ruth “Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games”.
In essence, this is a list that deals not only with management of time but also work scheduling and personal focus. It’s unlikely that many people will find every point relevant to or even agree with certain definitions. However, the article does allow for modification and personalisation. Successful people tend to know themselves and the way they work most effectively, and so set about personal rather than time management per se. But, you can learn to be more focused and to take advantage of productive moments and, in doing so, improve the elusive work/life balance.
If you’d like to investigate the benefits of call logging and call recording software in your time management plan, please do give us a call on 0333 0022 440, or contact us. Our team is happy to answer any further queries you may have.