Large Blocks – Your Day’s Foundation
Good time management is a difficult thing to accomplish, so we are often called upon to help get control of a diary out of control.
Our recommendation is to begin by putting into your diary the larger blocks of time needed to focus on difficult, complex issues when you require not to be interrupted. For this, always ensure that unless you’re expecting a specific call or email, put your phone on silent and switch off your email alerts and if possible – switch off your computer if it’s not needed for the task.
Do this for around two hours each day, to focus on moving forward the big projects in your agenda and you’ll be surprised how much you accomplish. If you can’t find that much time, you can get a significant amount of work done in an hour, or even 45 minutes of uninterrupted time.
Medium Blocks (Grouping Blocks)
Block out medium size time in your diary – say half an hour to three quarters of an hour to accomplish daily tasks such as planning, writing letters, returning phone calls, going through email, and do each group of tasks together. So you assign a block for each type of activity. The blocks can vary in size (or length), but the key is to stick to them. You can have two or even three blocks for the same activity e.g. email review and response – e.g. at 9.00 am, 2.00 pm and 5.00 pm. If you still have unread messages after your half-hour email block, don’t worry – you’ve got another email session later in the day.
Don’t try and multi-task. According to many experts, multi-tasking slows you down as energy is diverted from the task at hand and mentally your mind becomes dispersed rather than focused. Trying to do too many things at once leaves you with less time, energy, and brain power to deal with each of your tasks. Focus always on the task at hand.
Small Blocks – Newer Items and Lower Priority Tasks To Be Handled
Lower priority items or even new important items that will take a small amount of time can be fitted into the smaller blocks. These are fitted into the gaps between larger blocks and include requests for help from a colleague, quick answers to questions, filling out forms, and other project components.
It’s also important to factor in some of the interpersonal catch-up chats with colleagues, meetings at the coffee machine and other little breaks you take during the day to stretch, take a deep breath, call home to speak with your kids, and simply remind yourself that the day isn’t all about work. Since they’re pretty small, you can sprinkle them throughout the day without being forced to move other blocks.
Good time management should prevent overwhelm, increase the sense of control and bring a sense of balance and good wellbeing to your day!