How many times have you wished that you had more time? These eight time management tips can give you just that.
1. The people you want to spend time with (e.g. clients) often won't be the same as those who want to spend time with you (potential suppliers). Decide what proportion of your time you want to spend with each audience and stick with it. A newly appointed Chairman of a UK oil business did this and completely reorganised his diary as a result.
2. Decide what times of the day (or week) you have your highest (and lowest) levels of concentration. Either match your tasks to your mood, or deliberately mis-match them (e.g. plan meetings when you have to perform for your low concentration times).
3. You will never get everything done. Focus on those things which will do most to help you achieve your goals or that you can complete quickly, and don't worry about the rest.
4. Always have a list of ongoing projects with you and work on these while you are waiting for meetings to start, sitting on a train / plane or any moment that would otherwise be dead time.
5. If a meeting seems to be wandering, ask the others what they want to achieve and either propose or decide together, the most time efficient way of getting there.
6. One of the most common time parasites is not completing something and so having to start from the beginning when you return to the original challenge. Make sure that, once you've started you don't stop until the task is in a state that you could easily pick up where you left off.
7. Much of our time is spent reacting to other people's requests. Next time someone asks you to do something significant, stop and think about whether it is the right thing for you to do and if so, how to go about it time efficiently.
8. 'No' is the most useful word in time management. Say it politely, clearly and as often as you need to.