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Time Management

Hello again, as promised in my last blog about work life balance. I’m going to give you ten tips on time management. Many years ago when I worked for IBM I was sent on a time management course and I was guilty of committing every ‘crime’ that the trainer mentioned! I wish I could say that since that day my time management has been brilliant but that would be a blatant lie…but at least I now realise when I’m getting it wrong!! So here they are, I hope that you find some of them useful.

1. The first thing you should do is make a ‘to do’ list for that day and keep referring to it so you don’t become sidetracked (This could also be done last thing at night ready for the morning). Calculate how long each piece of work will take and if it’s particularly time-consuming, break it down into more manageable sections. Remember to respect your deadlines.  The satisfaction comes from crossing things off your list once you completed them!

2. Prioritise everything on your list dealing with the high priority tasks first.

3. Delegate!  If you have any tasks that can be done by another individual as well, don’t hesitate to delegate them.

4. Use your time wisely, for example, only access your email at certain times of the day.  Select a time for outgoing phone calls and let your voice mail pick up your calls when you need a couple of hours to focus on something in particular. 

5.  Learn to say ‘no’, this is very difficult to do in the work place but once you learn to do this, you’ll find that people will respect you for it and may think twice before asking you to do something.  This doesn’t have to be a permanent ‘no’ but you let the person know when you are able to schedule this piece of work.

6. Only touch each item of paper once or look at an email once.  When you are doing paperwork or receive emails, deal with them, don’t just move them around.

7.  Avoid disruptions, if you have a door, close it occasionally. Open-door policies are very common however your staff don’t need your help all the time.

8. Organise and plan your meetings well.  If your presence isn’t essential or the meeting isn’t absolutely necessary, then don’t go or cancel the meeting. Ensure that meetings stay on track and stick to the agenda.

9.  Stop procrastinating (this one could be written for me – in my personal life and not my professional life I hasten to add!)  Of course we all put off unpleasant tasks, my advice is to plan to do some of the more fun tasks after the more difficult and negative ones.

10. Plan rewards for yourself once your tasks are completed.  The reward should depend on the size or difficulty of the task, for example if you finish a smallish task then you could take to a coffee break or go out to lunch; if you close a lucrative business deal then you might reward yourself with by planning a holiday.

Hope you found this helpful.  


  • blatant  (adj)  -  clear, obvious 
  • sidetrack (v)  -  to make someone stop doing what they should be doing
  • time-consuming (adj)  -  taking a long time to do
  • cross off (phr. v)  -  to put a line through things, delete
  • prioritise (v)  -  to put several things in order of importance
  • delegate (v)  -  to give part of your work to someone in a lower position than you 
  • hesitate (v)  -  to pause before saying or doing something
  • focus on (phr. v)  -  to give attention to something
  • disruption (n)  -  something that makes it difficult for something to continue normally
  • ensure (v)  -  to make sure that something happens
  • on track (exp)  -   the right thing in order to achieve a particular result
  • stick to (phr. v)  -  to continue doing something despite difficulties
  • procrastinate (v)  - to delay doing something, usually because you do not want to do it   
  • hasten to add (exp)  -  to add without delay
  • put off (phr. v)  -  postpone, to arrange for something to take place at a later time or date 
  • unpleasant (adj)  -  not nice or pleasant
  • lucrative (adj)  -  producing a large amount of money or making a large profit

By Heather

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