We’re all granted the same 24 hours in the day to get things done. Why is it then that some people seem to pack years of results into just a few months, while others struggle to tick off a single task in the course of a working day?
For all the hundreds of books on the subject (and complicated apps on the market), time management really just boils down to recognising some common sense principles and, crucially, having the discipline to apply them regularly.
Let’s quickly step through three basic tricks you can start using today to make the most of your working week.
- End Each Day With A Short Review And Plan For Tomorrow
It’s tempting to simply struggle through to six o’clock and then slam the door shut on whatever has just happened, but that’s hardly a long-term success solution. Get into the habit of dedicating 10-20 minutes at the end of your day to doing two things:
- Quickly review what you actually got done. Were there mistakes to avoid in the future? Or small victories you’d like to turn into regular occurrences? Make a note of them.
- Make a brief list of the main points you want to tackle tomorrow. Be realistic here and narrow it down to specific achievable actions rather than grand plans.
This seemingly simple technique admittedly requires a bit of willpower to regularly work into your routine, but the payoff is potentially enormous. Stick with it for a few weeks and you’ll find your time management and overall sense of control radically improving.
- Leverage The Power Of Your Calendar
There is a simply enormous difference between hoping to get around to a particular task and having it scheduled in a calendar. Don’t just use your calendar to track meetings with other people, however. You should also be using it to bring some clarity to your own personal working time throughout the week.
By explicitly breaking your working week into pre-scheduled chunks, you get a substantially more accurate picture of what’s actually possible, and free up dedicated time periods to batch similar items and turbo-charge your overall productivity.
- No Agenda, No Meeting
Meetings are a necessary evil at all levels of business but there’s no reason to let them become the sort of terrifying timesuck they turn into when left to their own devices. One simple rule will claw back an enormous amount of your precious time over the course of any year: no agenda, no meeting.
Having a meeting without a clear agenda of what is to be covered in advance is a complete waste of everybody’s time. Meetings should be short, to the point, and focused entirely on items that were clearly outlined in advance. If somebody refuses to consider using agendas, you can nearly always assume the meeting will be a waste of your time and is probably best avoided.
Regardless of your role, making the most of your time or having an effective time management is the difference between delivering average and outsize results. Work our three common sense time management techniques into your daily routine and you’ll soon see your working weeks starting to become substantially more productive.