Time Management Tools for Productivity a.k.a.: Less for More

As an HR Consultant and Career Coach, I often get asked for strategies to better time management and productivity. Sorry, folks, I don’t believe there is one quick fix to solve everyone’s ability to manage time (in fact, I don’t believe there is one quick fix to solve anyone’s anything). But I do know some proven strategies to use for managing your time more wisely. So…. drum roll please… here are the Top 5 Time Management for Tools for Productivity:

  1. Control your work environment. For example, when I am working on a project I shut down my email, turn off my cell and focus. I never work on projects at my kitchen table because I need quiet space. You know where you do your best work so be in that environment.
  2. Check emails once or twice a day. I read somewhere that “email is not your work—it is a tool to help you accomplish your work.” I get hundreds of emails a day from clients and I know how easy it is to get sucked into that vortex. On my disciplined days, I check my email in the morning and once at the end of the day. I turn off the email on my iPhone one day a week to get a total break and enjoy life.
  3. Triage your emails. I use a version of Stephen Covey’s “Time Management Matrix” with my email. What is Immediate? I do it immediately. What is Urgent? I do it before I go home. Important but not Urgent? I file it in a folder that labeled Review Friday and I look at it on Fridays (or sometimes Saturdays ‘cause let’s be honest, my time management isn’t so good that I don’t have to work the occasional weekend).
  4. Set goals. See September blog on S.M.A.R.T.E.R goals.
  5. Delegate where possible and to the right people. I know what I am good at and I put my focus and attention into what is most important to my work and business. The rest I delegate. For, example, I have some great editing support with these blogs (Jody, my blog editor, meet everyone; everyone, meet Jody).

I can’t emphasize enough the positive impact that these 5 tools can have on your time, not only in terms of how much more productive you become, but also in terms of your perception about how much time you actually have in a day to get things done (spoiler: a lot more!). Try it for a week and see what you think.