Talent Perspectives

Practical Time Management

Ross Statham, Editor, www.talentperspectives.org

August 24, 2020

To be your most effective every day, learn how to manage what you do and when you do it. Try these suggestions-- they can help you boost your productivity, help you get things off your plate, and allow you the freedom to focus your energies where you want:

  • Plan out your week. Sunday evenings or Friday afternoons can be a great time to do this. But don't skip this vital step, and do it EVERY week.

  • Daily "to do" list.  Create a daily list of things to be done, even if only a few important items. Indicate the "important" items that must get done; perhaps give them a "star" to the left margin. Perhaps also block some on your calendar. As the day progresses, don't try to rely on your memory; when something new needs to get done, get in the habit of writing it down. Check items off as they're accomplished. My list always starts small, and gets longer as the day progresses. I also suggest you jot down on this list conversations as you have them, with brief notes to the side as to what was discussed.  Do what works for you.

  • Keep it simple.  Your daily to do lists can be as simple as a school composition book next to your computer. These have plenty of room for your to do list on the right page, and plenty of room for notes on the left page.  When you place a call to someone new, write down their number, in case you need to look it up again tomorrow or next week.  (Can't tell you how many times that has saved my bacon.)

  • Use your Outlook calendar wisely. In addition to meetings, use it to set reminders, block out time, create repeating events which you synch with your phone. Record your life-- not just work. Use it for anniversaries, birthdays, school events along side scheduled phone meetings, travel, etc.  You only have one life, so you only need one calendar.

  • Block out on your calendar items you want to ensure get done, or you want to get done during specific times of the day or week. Blocking out your calendar has several big advantages. It puts you better in control of when you do your planning, when you do specific important tasks, when you call people, when you do your personal development, take lunch-- when you do everything. It also can be used to limit the amount of time you spend on less important tasks, reminding you to to stop this activity and to start another you've already planned out.

  • Day planning is best done at the end of the day, not the beginningBefore you leave at the end of each day, review what you did and plan out your next day.  This is one of the most important time management tips we can give you.  Tomorrow morning you'll be ready to go!

  • Get at your desk early. Get the previous evening's emails answered and review the to do list and calendar events for the day one more time. 

  • Keep your contact list up to date, and keep it synched with your phone.  Add their LinkedIn URL when you set up a new contact. Take a few notes to help you find them later and to jog your memory. Having information at your fingertips any time you need it is vital.

  • Have a call or meeting planned? Include a two or three-point agenda with your calendar invite. It will help keep you and others prepared for the meeting and will help move things.

  • Remember the flexible toys Gumby and Pokey?  My personal motto is "Semper Gumby" (always flexible!). Be willing to adapt and adjust as your day progresses. (And always stop what you're doing to take calls from your significant other, your kids and your Momma!)

  • Block out a half hour every month for a major goal review and tweak.  Just a half hour spent each month will work wonders to help keep you focused on your goals.

  • Looking for an extra productivity boost?  Get a copy of "The Miracle Morning" as an audio book from Audible.com.  Sign up for their free trial, and download the book on to your phone.  Cancel within thirty days and you still get to keep the book.   It's an outstanding audio book that will teach you how to transform your mornings and boost your productivity.


If you found this article to be helpful, please let us know, and share with others. All the best!

Ross Statham, Editor


Talent Perspectives: Insights for Busy Professions is a series of brief articles that help build winning teams, provide insight on talent and provide organizational development ideas. 

The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and are 2020 Dogwood Services Inc.


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