3 Easy Time Management Tips For The Office

Effective Time Management wasn’t part of my upbringing.  My family dynamic was certainly Work Hard… but Working Smart wasn’t on the radar.

I’m not saying my parents wasted much time. They did not. I know it is cliché, but things were less complicated back then.

  • At home my parents didn’t drive us three children from one practice to another – we entertained ourselves.
  • At work my parents didn’t have computers or email. If they wanted to speak to someone they did it face-to-face, over the (hard-wired) telephone or mailed a letter (all three increase comprehension and facilitate trusting relationships).

Almost dinosaur times eh?

Then in the 1980’s the theory called Working Smart became popular which was – and still is about goal setting and reorganizing work to improve performance based on company objectives.

This theory was successful helping employees be productive. But today that’s not enough. Our economy and our work are motivating us to Work Hard and Work Smart… and new technologies (like computers and smart phones), are supposed to be helping.

Unfortunately we are adding many hours back in our day and I believe we’re letting technology distract us from Working Smart. We’ve replaced Working Smart with Working Fast… and the Tortoise and the Hare fable reminds us Working Fast doesn’t create long-term results. 

6 Signs You May Be Working Hard – Not Working Smart

  1. You get to the office before 8AM and leave after 7PM… or later
  2. Your email inbox has many unread email
  3. You have trouble getting a restful sleep
  4. Your temper is shorter – and the people closest to you feel this first
  5. You uncharacteristically miss due dates
  6. You work every weekend – even at the cottage

I believe the only way for each of us to stay healthy and for our companies to survive is to once again achieve greater work / life balance.

Tip 1: Identify Important Work Vs. Busy Work

Make sure your key objectives and Important Work take priority.

Early in my career I had a great year having added a few special projects to my workload. Unfortunately my boss gave me a ‘Meets Expectations’ performance rating that year. His simple answer was that my performance was measured on my key objectives… and all I did was meet them. He was right, I let my above average performance suffer because I took added many special projects that did not advance the key objectives for my job.

Busy work takes on many forms including:

  • Special Projects
  • Volunteering to help a co-worker
  • Work you like doing that may not be part of your job, or a low priority
  • Distracting habits (like checking Facebook, going for coffee, cleaning your office)

Tip 2: Minimize Interruptions From Technology And People

Our computers, smart phones and tablets all have alarms and because these systems are synchronized, when the alarms go off it turns into a cascade of interruptions. Turn off reminders and alarms on all devices except the one you have with you at all time. For that one – put it on vibrate so it’s a reminder – not an interruption.

Our co-workers are fabulous people but many want to say hi every time they walk by our office. If “sorry, I really need to concentrate on this” doesn’t work, book a meeting room or use an empty office. There are many ways to minimize interruptions, just know that the right solution for you may not work for me.

It’s important to block out the world when you need to focus.

Tip 3: Do Strategic Work In The Morning

Study after study shows almost all of us are more creative and strategic in the morning… even people who don’t think they are morning people. The reason is that we are most rested then.

To paraphrase author Laura Vanderkam, author of the e-book, “What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast,” the most successful people do their important work in the morning (Laura calls it things they love).

If you lead a team you can get the best of this Tip and Tips #1 and #2 by starting each day with a team meetings to review key projects and deliverables.  This gets everyone focused on:

  • Their own important ‘TO DO‘ list
  • Key department issues
  • Being in the office on-time
  • Casual conversations (which can help foster a caring at-work team)

Conclusion

Work / life balance means we will all experience time at home to do the things that are important to us.  And almost immediately, work / life balance leads to higher productivity, company profits and enjoyment / pride at work.

How you manage your time will reflect on you and your success.

Happy communicating.

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

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Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

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About Bruce Mayhew
Bruce Mayhew is a Leadership Coach, Keynote Speaker and Corporate Trainer who builds strong client and co-worker relationships that give clients a competitive advantage. Our training and development programs include: ■Generational Differences ■Effective Business Email Writing ■Email Etiquette ■Phone Etiquette ■Behaviour Event Interviewing (BEI) ■Mindfulness ■Using Linkedin to Build Client Relationships ■Objective Setting Made Easy

3 Responses to 3 Easy Time Management Tips For The Office

  1. This is great advice for time management–especially separating busy work from important work. On the weekends, I often feel compelled to check emails and respond to everything right away, but I’m learning that if it’s not urgent then don’t spend me off time working on these types of projects.They can wait until Monday.

    • Bruce Mayhew says:

      Thank you for your comment Stephanie and sharing something that works well for you.

      There are many different Time Management and Productivity habits that highly effective people use – and each habit becomes very personal depending on many variables like work requirements, personal and corporate values… and our unique personal style.

      Best

  2. Pingback: 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People: Habit 2 | Bruce Mayhew Blog: Business Communication

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