Four Quick Steps to Saving You Valuable Time

1. Take a step back – get clarity

Write a list of how you honestly spend your time.  If it’s all running around like a chicken without a head blur and grabbing coffee on the go, keep a detailed diary of exactly what an average week is like.

Next make a list of all the things that you would really like to do if you had more spare time.  After the week ask yourself whether you are wasting time on certain activities and whether you could best optimize your time by doing any of these.  For example when you are sitting in traffic use the time to mentally prepare yourself for the meeting/s ahead?  Formulate what it is that is your objective for the day; at the end of the day take stock of whether you have achieved these objectives.

2. Ascertain what it is that you could give up

Consider which of the activities that you consider time consumers you could potentially delegate?  Could it be that you are not best optimizing your domestic staff?  If dinner time consumes a lot of valuable time, could you get your maid to do all the preparation work, e.g. washing and preparing the vegetables?  Making a salad, making a detailed shopping list for the forthcoming week of exactly what it is that you need in the home so that when you do the shopping all of the meal planning has been accounted for.  Consider the online shopping options for Woolworths and Pick n’ pay.  After initially registering and making what your average week’s groceries are, you can save this list to refer to down the line, saving you time in a shopping mall.  Try similar strategies at work, delegate some of the assignments to junior staff – this will stretch their capabilities and save you valuable time to spend on something more important or urgent.

Consider how much time you spend on social networking. How much of your valuable face-to-face social time are you foregoing in order to do this?

3. Either you run the day – or the day runs you

Once you have freed up precious time, own your diary and decide how you want to expend your energy.  Optimize the day considering what time you wake up, and what time you go to sleep.  Add up the hours in the day to ensure that you have time to adequately mentally prepare for meetings (even if this is a few minutes but preferably more than that).  Focus on ensuring that the important parts of the day have been allocated the right amount of time.

4. Scan the day ahead

Realistically ascertain what you can achieve in the day ahead the night before.  When you arrive the next morning before you get stuck into all the e-mail that requires responses.  Scan through these first, prioritize which of these are urgent and which will take up the most amount of time to adequately manage.  At the end of the week assess what is working for you and not, then plan for the week ahead.


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