The most obvious way to manage your time is to schedule. Schedule monthly, schedule weekly and schedule daily. Write down everything you need to get done. Now!
The moment you know you’ll need to get something done, put it in your schedule – even if it’s months away.
Assign project deadlines two days in advance; this way you’re always on time even when new projects are assigned.
Make weekly plans the Friday before and daily plans the previous afternoon. Try to do all of the important projects first thing in the morning so that they are done before you become overwhelmed with basic office administration and interruptions.
If you need to alter your schedule, get back on track ASAP!

   Start an idea book and keep it handy. A notebook dedicated to your bright ideas will let you quickly scribble down each "million-dollar idea" that pops into your head. Later, when you have more time, you can give your ideas a bit more thought and rewrite them into effective plans of action.

   Keep your desktop and files tidy. By removing the clutter from the surface of your desk, you’re removing distractions. Keep all information unrelated to your immediate project in well-labeled, color-coded files. Frequently used information sheets and sources of creative influence should be hung on the walls around your work area instead of spread out on your desk.

   Reward yourself for a job well done every time you finish a project. Your reward could be as insignificant as a trip to the coffee room or as extravagant as a new suit. You decide.

  To contact people who simply need a yes or no response, call them back when you know they won’t be around. You may call early in the morning, during the lunch hour or later at night. Free yourself from the usual "how’s the weather over there…?"

   Start an unread e-mail file. There seems to be no effective way to stop junk e-mails from filling your inbox (and hey, you might want to read some of it – just not today). Move all of your less important e-mails to an "unread e-mail" file until you either have a bit more time or just need a quick pick-me-up.

   Regardless of how swamped you are, never deprive yourself of a lunch break, even if only 15 minutes. You may not feel hungry but your body and mind need food in order to continue functioning at peak levels. Taking your mind off the project you’re working on will also often give you fresh insight.

1. Meeting in America: A study of trends, costs and attitudes toward business travel, teleconferencing and their impact on productivity. A network MCI Conferencing White Paper, 1998.

Ask the Meeting Guru to solve your meeting dilemmas.


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