I've written this blog post to help you get more hours out of your day!
I hope that you find these tips helpful, and by all means, comment on these and add your own tips in the comments box.
Tip #1. Use time management software - Recommended: www.clockingit.com. Every time you have a task, you add it to your task list and punch in the due date. Whenever you are working on a task, you simply click on it and it'll time how long you spend on each task. This software is also great for your staff to use too, if you have any.
Tip #2. Write ideas down and come back to it later - If you come up with a good idea while working on a task, it can be very tempting to go off on a tangent and think or explore that idea, while not getting the task done that you are supposed to be working on. It's better to keep a 'tickler' file (as Dave Allen calls it, from 'Getting things done') and come back to it later OR if you use time management software, add it to your task list and come back to it later.
Tip #3. List 3-5 things that you will do today - This can be written on the previous day, or first thing in the morning. Even if you have a task list that is online, there's something about writing it down on paper that focuses your mind so that you achieve your micro-goal of getting your day's goals achieved.
Tip #4. Remove clutter - If you get distracted by items on your desk, or msn chat windows, or the phone, simply remove them. It makes a world of difference.
Tip #5. Check email twice a day - Email is the largest single interruption for many people. When you check your email, I highly recommend that you leave it till after midday as you may discover a lot of fires to put out that are best left till after you've done some important work first thing in the day. Don't keep refreshing your email to check it, just work on your current tasks and only check twice a day at the maximum.
Tip #6. Learn to say no - In order to be truly effective, you have to concentrate and focus on achieving your goals for the day. Be sure that when you add tasks on to your day that you only say YES if the task is urgent, or you can easily get it done while still completing your goals for the day.
Tip #7. Learn to tackle the dreaded task first thing - List your most dreaded task and do it first thing when you get to work.
Tip #8. Separate to-dos from your email - Don't keep going back to your email to find out what you need to do. Make sure that you add any to-dos to your to-do list, don't leave it cluttered and muddled in your email stack.
Tip #9. Try to use the 80/20 rule when it comes to learning and doing. Spend no more than 20% of your time learning and spend 80% of your time taking action and doing.
Tip #10. Get a cell phone that has a calendar or personal organizer. Book appointments into your calendar so you don't forget them (ensure that it has an alarm that goes off when you have an appointment, or task due).
Tip #11. Keep a separate to do list for personal matters. If you suddenly realize that there is something you need to do and it has nothing to do with your work, write it down in your personal list and come back to it outside of work time. Yes your personal life needs to be organized too.
Tip #12. Delegate. If you have staff or someone that you should delegate a task to (or outsource it), then this will certainly free up more of your time in getting your other tasks done.
I hope these tips help you to get more things done in your day. Please comment on these and add your own to the comments box below.
All the best,
P.S. I highly recommend that you check out www.clockingit.com for managing your own time and your staff's time as it is free and very good.