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Jul 15, 201311:53 AMThe Gray Area

with Donna Gray

How to work smarter all the time — and create perfect timing

(page 1 of 2)

Would the people you work with, your family and/or your friends, describe you as having “time management issues”? If the answer is yes, welcome to my world. True to the old saying “birds of a feather flock together,” most of my friends like to keep a handle on their own timing and productivity.

Organization experts whom I’ve chatted with suggest making a list of no more than three or four major tasks (jobs) that one hopes (needs) to accomplish during a workday. They also suggest focusing on those major tasks and completing them before beginning new projects. Unfortunately, priorities frequently change at the whim or command of someone else or because of a “Murphy’s Law” situation. The reality is that businesses often have to find ways to stretch time, manage time, and create perfect timing.

I have a couple of friends who help businesses get and stay organized. We’ve had lots of discussions about ways to get through the kinds of “glitches” businesses can encounter in a busy week. Here are some tips they’ve shared for working smarter all the time, and especially during busy times:

  • Whenever possible, schedule outside meetings, customer calls, networking groups, and social gatherings for the first thing in the morning or late in the day so that the day’s focus stays on the work at hand. Whenever possible, make lunch dates only within a block or two of the business, and “bundle” trips outside the workplace.
  • When you’re on hold, take the time to scan email for important messages or to work on your appointment calendar.
  • While waiting for a return call, problem-solve a particular challenge, compose an email, etc.
  • Alan Lakein, time management guru and author of How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life, suggests using the “Swiss cheese strategy.” Before officially beginning a big job, make holes in the project by doing small parts of it whenever possible.
  • Get a jump-start on the next day before leaving work. Consider, plan, and lay out the tools needed to start the morning’s first project. This will help your brain relax at night.
  • Follow the quick-task rule by ticking off anything that takes five minutes or less as soon those tasks hit your desk … or delegate them to a team member who will get them done quickly.


Jul 23, 2013 01:32 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Good advice, Donna! And it's not just Murphy's Law events that take away from productivity, sometimes tasks we plan on doing are "overtaken by events" (both positive or negative) or what I like to term "OBE'd". The secret to being a successful time manager lies in a person's daily agenda. To be successful, one must have a daily agenda and work the tasks on it. But in truth, most people don't have one and instead wait for tasks to become part of their day. A day can be filled with events requiring a reactive or proactive approach. And I find it interesting how "proactive" and "professional" both start with the same positive beginning because it is reflective of the people I know, who are both professional and successful.

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