When I tell someone I have some Simple Time Management Ideas they can put in place, it is sometimes met with a roll of their eyes or shrug. It's an expression which is banded around so much, by people who are so busy, that it's started to be ignored. Someone once said to me "I don't want to spend too much time on Time Management"... So there's a bit of an inbuilt reaction to it that 'I haven't got time to save time, because everything I'm doing is already taking so much of my time up'.
Well let me ask you...
Do you find time for Facebook?
Do you manage to reply to text messages you receive?
Do you find time to put on make up, or shave?
How many cups of tea have you made today?
Have you daydreamed about your next holiday/partner?
The really important things will always get done, because there is always a little bit of time that can be shaved off somewhere else. So rest safe with this knowledge and let me teach you some basic things that when you implement them (not if!) you will notice a significant improvement in your available time. So you can get back to your Facebooking (I mean, become much more effective at work!)
Simple Time Management Ideas
1. Learn to touch type
If you have to send a lot of emails, and write a lot of reports, but you can't touch type, then learn! I can type almost as fast as I can talk, because I taught myself to touch type. You can learn on line using exercises that guide you through. Like anything, it takes practice to learn a habit, so dedicate 15-30min per day for a month, and see how much quicker you can type afterwards. Here is an online typing tool.
2. Get voice recognition software
Voice recognition software that records you speaking and translates it into typed words is another way to go. There are a few options. Personally I've found that I can type faster than it recognises my voice (the slight estuary accent probably doesn't help), but I know many people who've found it a fantastic option for saving them time.
3. Use a virtual assistant to transcribe for you; and for other purposes
Failing these two, you can use a virtual assistant to type the texts that you dictate (either over the phone, or via recordings). I can recommend Somerstime who can provide a transcription service, as well as many other time saving activities; like managing your invoicing, diary, call answering etc.
4. Stop looking at your emails!
Such a simple time management idea, and so effective. If you have your email constantly open, and you look at it every 5 minutes to see if anything new has come in, and stop what you are doing to read and answer emails whenever they do arrive, how effectively are you working? Not very! Spend your first 30 minutes of the day checking emails and deciding what needs actioning straight away and deal with it. Put the rest on a to-do list for later. Then turn your email off. Yes, actually close the programme down. And put your phone/tablet away if you get notifications on that too. Work on your important tasks for 3-4 hours, then switch the email back on and repeat the early morning process. If a lot of your work requires the sending of emails, then do all of that together in one go, and don't read any of the others until you have finished.
5. Imagine you get paid by the 15 minutes.
An easy one for solicitors, because this is how they bill. If you were getting paid every 15 minutes for the volume of work you produced in that time, would you spend 10 of those minutes making tea and the other 5 wondering what to have for dinner? Many of my clients have kept a record of their day by the 15 minutes at my request. This has the dual benefit of making them work more effectively while they are recording it, and helping them to work out what they waste their time on, and what they should be doing more of.
Now I know none of this is rocket science, but as the old saying goes "Common sense doesn't mean common practice". To make the most of these simple time management ideas you need to pick one and COMMMIT to it. One of my clients once said to me "Losers make excuses, winners make commitments". So decide now to get more out of your time (more time for you, or more time for your work, you can decide!) by picking one of these ideas and implementing it from today. From NOW.