Managing your time - checklist

Managing your time - checklistPoor time management causes stress, longer work days and can stop you meeting customer expectations. This checklist will help you get on top of your schedule.

  • Stand back and establish your long-term goals. Evaluate claims on your time against these goals and not just immediate problems clamouring for attention.
  • Prioritise actions which are both important and urgent: for example, where other people are waiting for your input.
  • Delegate unimportant activities or drop them altogether.
  • Divide major tasks into achievable blocks of work.
  • Start the day by clearing the decks: quickly scanning new mail and messages, reviewing your schedule, and dealing with small, urgent tasks.
  • Recognise what times of day best suit different activities: for example, calling customers when you are at your liveliest.
  • Schedule your activities, deciding how much time to devote to each task and setting realistic deadlines. Set interim deadlines for major projects.
  • Build tedious, repetitive or long-term activities into your routine: for example, scheduling a regular weekly project review at a set time.
  • Use time-management tools and software: a diary, a to-do list, and project-planning software for long-term projects.
  • Invest time in setting up time-saving systems: for example, a good filing system, templates for standard emails and letters, and procedures for routine tasks.
  • Use technology to make use of ‘dead time’ such as smartphones and tablet computers that allow you to work on the move.
  • Deal with new information effectively - act on it if necessary, delegate it if appropriate, file it if relevant or delete it if it does not require your attention.
  • Collaborate effectively. Ask others to provide what you need, in a form that suits you when you need it, and return the favour.
  • Avoid overloading yourself. Only get involved if you need to, ignore unnecessary detail, and delegate routine tasks. Ask colleagues to avoid copying you on emails unnecessarily.
  • Get rid of distractions: put your phone on voicemail, refuse unnecessary visits and meetings, clear desk clutter and resist time-wasting activities (such as emails and social media) unless they contribute to the achievement of aims.
  • Analyse your time use: log your activities, then review how much time you wasted on unimportant matters and tasks you should have delegated

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