Skills List:

Time Management

(Includes Meeting Management and Productivity)

What this looks like:

  • Attends to detail and completes tasks within deadlines

  • Prioritizes projects and tasks while simultaneously managing interruptions and changes

  • Has a consistent, organized, and efficient process on how to manage workload

  • Effectively balances resources, time and energy


On-the-job challenges

  • Know your priorities.

    • Try this: Confer with your manager and get a better understanding of your project priorities, deadlines, checkpoints, etc. If you take on a new task or project, suggest to him/her what the tradeoff would be e.g., If I do this, then I won’t be able to do that.

    • Try this: Conduct an Eisenhower Box analysis or 4D exercise to determine which items you need to work on first, delegate to others, delete it from your to-do list or delay it to another day.

  • Give yourself mini challenges. Research shows people who work in 90-minute intervals are more productive than those who don’t take breaks.

    • Try this: Work in 90-minute intervals with a 10 to 20-minute break in between. Use time management apps like Time Out to remind you to take breaks or practice meditation or mindfulness. 

    • Try this: Want smaller work intervals? Try the Pomodoro Technique and set a timer for a shorter interval e.g., 10, 20, 30 minutes, etc. Race against the clock to get as much done as possible. This is also fun to do with a friend or colleague.

    • Try this: If there’s a task that can be done within two minutes or less, do it immediately e.g., respond to an email, returning a phone call, sending a document, etc. Completing the task right away actually takes less time than having to get back to it later and refiguring out what you need to do.

  • Plan your routine. A routine helps us anticipate and mentally prepare for what’s about to come. When things catch you off guard, it may take a while to get back on track.

    • Try this: Compartmentalize your days/times by setting aside certain times for meetings and certain times for productive work e.g., T/TH for meetings, M/W/F for creative work or 9-2pm emails and meetings, 2-5pm dedicated to creative work.

    • Try this: Before leaving each workday and first thing each morning, look at your calendar and recognize the upcoming meetings and priorities for the day.  Mentally prepare for the goals, expectations, and possible concerns for each meeting while considering the people who will be involved.

  • Manage your meetings wisely. Everyone can benefit from more productive meetings!

    • Try this: Before booking your next meeting or accepting a meeting invite, ask yourself whether you can accomplish the same goals or tasks via email, phone, or instant messaging. If a meeting is not necessary, resolve the issue immediately.

    • Try this: Create default meeting times of 20 or 50 mins to leave 10 minutes of reflection, preparation or bio-break time in between meetings. This buffer time will allow you to not feel rush and run late to meetings. (Meetings don’t always have to be 30 or 60 minutes long).

    • Try this: At least 1 day before the meeting, share agenda items with meeting participants that include any contextual background information and desired outcomes of the meeting. This will allow give people time to prepare for the meeting and come with solutions that move the project forward.

    • Try this: When someone raises an interesting point that does not relate to the agenda during a meeting, say the following: “Thank you for that point. The item you mentioned goes beyond the purpose of this meeting. Let me write down and if we have time at the end we can discuss this further.”

  • Minimize distractions to increase productivity and flow. It’s tough to stay productive when people are dropping by your desk every 5 minutes to ask you a question.

    • Try this: Block out chunks of time on your calendar to work on specific projects while closing your email and instant message windows to avoid distractions while working. 

    • Try this: Set office hours, keep your door closed, or work from home for time-sensitive projects.


Resources for more inspiration

Articles

BOOKS

PODCASTS

Videos

 

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