They always say: if you want something done, give it to a busy person! I’ve been asked for tips on how to get things done so I’ve compiled a list.
- If it can be done in less than 5 minutes do it straight away
This is one tip that I’ve learnt from a Time Management workshop. If a task is less than 5 minutes to do, then it’ll take longer to write it down and pick it up than just to do it straight away.
- Keep a list/notepad wherever you go
I keep a notepad in my bag and will note down things to do, what I need to remember or simply ideas that I want to pursue later on. You could also use an electronic one like To-doist. I also keep lists of new team members/names, relevant information that could help me with the project.
- Before you leave work at the end of the day, already have a list of the things that you want to achieve the minute you start to work the next day.
This will give you some momentum and show you the priority of your activities for the next day. I always try to ensure that all meetings/activities are prepared before I start the day in case I don’t have time to do it during the day. If this isn’t possible, try to take 30 minutes at the start of your day to prepare.
- Don’t check your email constantly
This is probably the hardest one that you’ll have to do! I found that when I turned off the email notification pop up off and started only looking at my emails three or four times a day that I suddenly had a lot more time and could easily dismiss/answer questions en-masse. This really helped my efficiency during the working day.
- Colour coding
If you’re working on several different projects, I’d recommend assigning colours to your project and relevant team members so that when you get an email/ message about the project, it’s already visibly clear what project it’s about. You could even work with your PMO (if they exist in your organisation) about assigning colours to programs/projects and being consistent with their colour schemes to avoid confusion
- Look at quick wins to your daily life
Have a critical look at your daily work. What could you do better? Where could you save yourself time? An example for me was meeting rooms. I would try to schedule my meeting rooms in similar locations/same floors so that I could reduce the entire walking time between meetings. This would save me sometimes 10 minutes and give me the chance to set the room up accordingly.
- Concentration times
Everyone is different. How long can you concentrate for? For some, they work best in 30-minute stints, for others, it’s nearer an hour. Understand what works best for you and utilise this. If you try to concentrate longer than you can, then you won’t get as much done. Take a break, take a few moments to regroup and then you can restart your work.
- Maximise your abilities and working conditions
As a Project Manager working between different locations and different time zones, I’ve identified the best way of me being able to achieve what I need during my working day. If you’re allowed to be more flexible with your working patterns look at working different hours and your locations. If there’s a lot of traffic you might want to consider an early start or starting at home and then moving to the office later. This could also be the opposite if you’re working with teams that are in a later time zone.
This was a recommendation from a colleague of mine. Within most organisations that I’ve worked in there are extremely complex passwords and usernames for each system that there was. Lastpass gives you a confidential store for all of your usernames and passwords. It also helps with secure password generations that could make lives easier than Password123!.
Give yourself the flexibility in your working day to make changes that will make your day more efficient. This could be something as simple as adjusting your plans or getting different things done that will give you time later on. Having this flexibility will give you the ability to be dynamic enough to seize the opportunities for improvement.
- Know your software
This is such an easy win! Know the software that you are using not just competently but as an expert. Know the shortcuts, quick links and be able to use it as second nature. This will save you a lot of time in total as once you’re an expert in the software, you’ll more through the tasks that you need to do quickly.
What efficiency tips do you have? Please comment below!