By: Andrea Osborne, director of cushion the impact, an award winning business and personal concierge and lifestyle management company.
1. Evaluate how you spend your time. Make a note of how much time you spend on each task every day for at least a week, also include information such as start and end times; type of task eg marketing, client work, admin, telephone; brief description of the task; whether you were the best person to do that task; if the task was fee earning (if appropriate). This will help you to see where your time is going rather than where you think it is going. It may seem time consuming but in the long run it will help you to plan out your day and allocate the right amount of time for different jobs.
2. Plan your day in advance. Either the night before or first thing in the morning, make a list of all the things that you need to get done that day and how much time should be spent doing them. Do not overload yourself, be realistic using the information collated from the time log you have been keeping.
3. Prioritise key tasks. Jobs that have immediate deadlines must take priority over those that are less important. Responding to an e-mail can wait, preparing for a presentation you have after lunch cannot.
4. Make long and short term goals. Knowing what you want to do and roughly how much time it will take will make everything seem more achievable. Having a plan will help you to focus on your goals.
5. Make use of all your time. Don’t let any part of your day be wasted. The time you spend on the train to work can be used to make lists of things you need to do or reading an industry article…and there is also a lot of value to relaxing, reading a novel or listening to music. I read on the tube and catch up with emails and Twitter on buses,
6. Organise your e-mails. Create different folders for e-mails to keep all relevant messages together, this will enable you to find what you need a lot quicker. Use filters so that much of the organising is done by the email server rather than you. Keep work e-mails separate from personal ones.
7. Be aware of common distractions. Surfing the internet, spending too much time on the phone and sifting through e-mails all slow you down and waste your time. Knowing what you are easily distracted by will help you to try and cut it out of your day.
8. Tidy as you go along. Whether you are at work or at home keeping things tidy is an easy way to save time. If you know where things are and everything is neatly organised, you will find your life much easier.
9. Chunk your time. Instead of making phone calls or emails at random times of the day, group similar tasks together. You’ll get into a groove, if you have to leave a message give a specific time that you will be available to try and reduce the external distractions in your day.
10. Delegate. Outsourcing tasks is an easy way to save you time. Whether you use other people in your team, take on an intern or use a company such as cushion the impact, learn to delegate those tasks you identified as non fee earning or not essential for you to do. Yes it can be time consuming in the beginning to write clear instructions but even in the short term you will see the benefits.
cushion the impact was one of the first lifestyle management concierge companies in the country when Andrea Osborne set it up over twelve years ago. Over the years the team have helped hundreds of individuals and small business owners make the most of their personal, home and business lives. The company has now won two awards and has been a London Concierge finalist in the London Lifestyle Awards so if you would like more time in your life don’t hesitate to get in touch with the experts at cushion the impact. Andrea has written an e-book on Time Management due to be released at the end of January 2013.