Friday, October 21, 2011

Finding Time to Get Work Done

If you’re like many professionals, you’re carrying a heavy workload. On top of that, you’re on the run from one meeting to the next, inundated with email, and sidetracked by interruptions. You often find yourself asking, “How do I make time to do actual work?”

 Get Organized
 Use the first few minutes of every day to get organized by reviewing your calendar and pulling together materials you need throughout the day. Then, identify and prioritize the day’s tasks into “must do” and “if time allows” tasks. This plan will help you hit the ground running.

 Schedule “Do Not Disturb” Time
 If you share your schedule with others, block out “do not disturb” time. Even if you don’t label it as such, make sure you clearly communicate to others that you’re blocking time to get specific tasks done. Whether you schedule time to review a proposal, prepare a meeting agenda, etc., the point is not to waiver on that commitment unless an urgent matter arises.

 Schedule Time to Respond to Email
 It is hard to imagine a work environment without the convenience of email; however, as helpful as email is, it can also interfere with productivity if it is not managed well. Try to schedule small, regular increments of time for managing your email.

Build In Buffer Time between Meetings
If your job requires frequent meetings, do your best to schedule buffer time between meetings to allow for time to work. Also, if possible, schedule no more than three or four meetings per day, based on an average of one hour per meeting. Additionally, only attend meetings that are necessary; use your best judgment and, if uncertain, check with your manager for input.

Plan for the Unplanned
Remember, no matter how well you plan and organize your day, unplanned events do happen. Today’s professionals need to be ready to respond swiftly to changes that can occur in a fast-paced work environment.

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