Allan Johnson of Johnson & Tennent Chartered Accountants
Allan Johnson of Johnson & Tennent Chartered Accountants Janie Kayes

Thoughts on Time Management Part 2

DID you have time to read last week's article about time management?

If you didn't, pay extra attention now, because here is part 2.

To quickly recap, we identified your biggest time-wasters, we did something about them, and then we found some ways around the procrastination problem.

Today, I would suggest a few more strategies for improving your time management and productivity that I have found to work for me.

1. Have a 'default diary'.
The idea of a default diary is that you allocate time for specific activities on a regular basis - such as going to the gym between 5-6, and working on your marketing every Monday from 9am to 10am. The principle is that you allocate time to all important parts of your life and then stick to it.

Once you and those around you get familiar with the system, it works really well - and you'll probably find yourself being interrupted less often. This strategy keeps you focused, and unnecessary tasks don't even feature.

2. Work in 90-minute blocks.
Many studies have shown that 90 minutes is the optimal time for people to concentrate and work effectively. Therefore, if you identify 90-minute periods and work consistently and focus during that time (without any interruptions!), you will find that you achieve more.

This also gives you the opportunity to reward yourself at the end of each successful 90-minute period! This is the opposite of multitasking - which never works, despite many people thinking they are legendary multi-taskers. Our brains...yes, even female brains...are not set up to switch between many different tasks at a time.

We are far more productive if we focus on a single task and just get it done. This is really why interruptions are such a major problem - once that train of thought has left the station, it's hard to get it back!

3. Take full advantage of technology.
Of course, doing more with the time available is also a good idea - so finding tools to help you work more efficiently will always help you achieve more in less time. Technology has given us many positive tools that help us be more productive - just watch that tools can sometimes become toys!

A very simple example of this is a reminder system such as Remember the Milk - it's certainly an improvement on a hand written to-do list! You put your tasks for the day into the program and you can prioritise them...and ticking them off when they're done is a great feeling!

Everyone is allocated the same 24 hours each day - making the most of these hours is an important life skill. Managing your time well will help you to use your hours and not lose them!

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