In today’s information age, effective time management has become elusive for individuals who are constantly being tugged at by different sources. Even when someone carves out time to concentrate on a project, all it takes is an email, a phone call, an instant message or a text to throw him or her off track and into information overload status.
Consider this: The average person gets one interruption every eight minutes, or approximately seven an hour, or 50-60 per day. The average interruption takes five minutes, totaling about four hours or 50 percent of the average workday. Eighty percent of those interruptions are typically rated as “little value” or “no value” creating approximately three hours of wasted time per day. (Source: Time management facts and figures)
Here are seven quick time management tips you can start using today to beat the odds and come out ahead:
- Get your phone under control. If that “follow me anywhere” phone number is interrupting your workflow and mojo, replace it with a traditional voice mail setup. As time management guru Dan Kennedy says, “No one needs you that badly!”
- Close the door to your office. An open door simply invites distraction. Try scheduling “office hours” or regular meetings with your staff to help reduce those time-stealers and let people know that you mean business when it comes to your business.
- Cut down on clutter. You needn’t be a minimalist to realize the value of a clean, organized desk (and bookshelves and other office furniture). Keep your workspace neat and you’ll be able to find and file things quickly, and move onto the next task.
- Use a daily to-do list. Instead of guessing at what you need to do everyday, put some of your technology to work by developing a daily agenda. Free sites like Linoit.com allow you to make a limitless number of sticky notes and there are literally dozens of agenda apps for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry phones.
- Use “waiting” time effectively. You can get things done when you are stuck in traffic or sitting in a doctor’s waiting room. Carry a notebook and pen, a tablet computer, phone, and/or a calendar with you to jot down the things you have to do – or notes to yourself about future tasks.
- Plan your day the night before. Set priorities for yourself and use an agenda or to-do list that allows you to delete items as you complete them. This will help create a sense of satisfaction and let you know that you’re really getting things done!
- Let technology do some of the heavy lifting. Technologies like WIN (Web Integrated Network), the no cost, no fee web-based transportation management solution, can help free up time and minimize disruptions. Managing your shipments from one interface eliminates the back and forth of phoning, emailing and faxing to find capacity and get loads covered.