Productivity is about getting things done in a timely manner. I understand my priorities and know when I arrive at work what needs to be done but when going home at night – the list is not any shorter – nor are the things done I expected to get done. Time seems to get away from me.
– Terry, Legal Industry
We had hoped technology would give us more time. However; it seems to cause us to use more time. In addition to all the meetings and luncheons we attend we are constantly looking at our phones – answering and sending emails – texting – tweeting – blogging and on and on. Experts say the average businessperson receives 80 to 120 email messages each day. Yet 60% of our daily emails aren’t relevant to our work. So as you can see, high tech has increased our workload – not decreased it. So what can you do? Time Management is how we succeed.
Here are a few useful time management tips:
Turn off your email alert. You waste a lot of time looking at each email as they come in. Studies show when you interrupt your work it can take up to 64 seconds to recover the pace of your workflow. That is 8.5 lost or wasted hours per week if you check emails every 5 minutes.
Set a specific time to answer emails and return phone calls. It may be first thing in the morning, just after lunch and/or just before leaving for the day. Find a time that works best for your schedule.
Color code emails so you can tell at a glance what category you have placed them in – such as red for “answer ASAP”, green for “gather information” before answering – yellow for “waiting” for response etc.
Either create a separate email address or a “Reading” folder for industry emails and educational emails you want to “read” later. Don’t forget to clean it out occasionally.
Answer an email in bullet form when possible – put what you want in the subject line – and be brief in the email.
Bottom line – Anny Cox says it best –
If you wrote yourself a mental check at the end of every day for the minutes and hours you used effectively, what would it total? If you billed yourself for the minutes and hours wasted, what would the amount be? Would you wind up with a net profit or loss for the day?
Have a question or want to learn more about time management? – contact Jeanne Reaves Consulting and we will assist you.
This post originally appeared in Jeanne Reaves Consulting’s April 2014 newsletter. Please sign-up for our newsletter in our contact page form with the message “NEWSLETTER” to receive updates in your inbox!