Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Time Management - An Important Skill to Master

By Terry Loving

Mastering time management requires a clear plan. Your best time management tool is having a plan that keeps you focused, sets specific goals, and implements a project timeline. It is then possible to outline daily action steps to move you toward your goals.

Create an action plan that you can stick to and systemize. A good plan allows you to revise and adjust as necessary. When something isn't working you see it quickly and can make the adjustments now, not later. Revise your system and stay on track toward the bigger goal.

The following are 6 suggestions found successful to manage time and stay focused. Implement those

1. Outline the plan on a white board wall- visually - Not two or three plans - ONE plan.

A white board allows you to see the vision you hold, make additions, changes and adjustments, set project deadline goals. Use colored paper notes for ideas that can be added, moved and adjusted as the plan evolves.

2. Create Action Steps in a "To Do" List at the end of the day - Celebrate what got accomplished today and move the "Hot" priorities to the top of the list to do tomorrow. Get those done first thing before anything else.

3. Manage your email time - Do not open the email until you've spent at least 2 focused hours working on the "to do" list. Train clients and customers that emails are responded to twice daily. Provide an emergency phone number to call if they need you right now. Thank you Timothy Ferris and "The 4-Hour Work Week" for this valuable hint! (Available on Amazon)

4. Schedule regular breaks - walks or exercise - a minimum of 20 minutes - to refresh your brain and energize the body that gets so tired of sitting at the computer. Fresh air, some vitamin D, a new perspective a chance to laugh and breath deeply will breath life into your creative juices and help you stay focused.

5. Use a timer to keep your phone calls and breaks within a reasonable time frame.
There is a computerized "egg timer" that allows you to realistically judge how long you have been on a call.

Use it if you provide a service and charge by the hour.

6. Don't rely on your memory or that of someone else for all the details. Document what you have done for the day - Keep your records current. File receipts, record passwords and registration keys, enter invoices. Short notes to yourself in a file on your computer- where did I file that? What did I sign up for? Make consistent notes in a "daytimer - calendar" of upcoming events and phone calls. Record the details from those that were completed.

These are just a few suggestions for Time Management Best Practices. By choosing those that fit your work style and forming the good habits early on, you will find that time management skills become a strategy that contribute to the success of any business or task. Organizing your time will give you the freedom you desire to accomplish all that you can dream.