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Small Changes Can Lead To Big Time Saved

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A local Indiana payroll company knows more than just the intricacies of federal, state, and local laws about income. They also had some solid ideas on time management.

They share tips on how to make more time on their site, providing four simple recommendations:

  • Have Homeroom Each Day
  • Batch
  • Schedule
  • Prioritize

Each of these suggestions are worthy of consideration. The notion of “homeroom” is something you might remember from middle school, and the post makes the idea clear:

The best way to get your day off started on the right foot is to get your team together for 15 minutes at the beginning of each day, making sure everyone knows and understands their priorities for the day, and has no obstacles in getting them done.

employee satisfaction from a meeting

© Flickr user mayoff

Not only is it important to start the day right, but it’s also critical to structure the day conscientiously. Again from the article:

The most unproductive time is spent doing bits and pieces of projects throughout the day. This is most obvious with email and phone calls. Pick 2-3 times per day where you check and respond to your emails. Do the same with phone calls. You will find that batching these tasks will give you enormous amounts of time back into your day.

The thought of setting aside time to check emails is one that we’ve talked about multiple times on this blog. After all, how often do you find yourself taking “just a minute” to glance at your inbox only to have a new slew of distracting messages and tasks that capture your attention. And we’re not the only ones who believe in limiting the number of times you check out your messages. It’s been written about many places, and the following paragraphs illustrate the ideas well:

Eliminating all distractions for a set time while you work is one of the most effective ways to get things done.  So, lock your door, put a sign up, turn off your phone, close your email application, disconnect your internet connection, etc.  You can’t remain in hiding forever, but you can be twice as productive while you are.  Do whatever it takes to create a quiet, distraction free environment where you can focus on your work.

Reply to emails, voicemails, and texts at a set times. – This directly ties into the ideas of single-tasking and distraction-avoidance.  Set specific time slots 2-3 times a day to deal with incoming communication (e.g. once at 8AM, once at 11AM, once at 3PM), and set a reasonable max duration for each time slot.  Unless an emergency arises, be militant about sticking to this practice.

The key sentence there is the final one: Be militant about sticking to this practice. It’s all fine and dandy to say you want to limit time on your email, but it’s much harder to stick to. That article says to stick to your policy unless an emergency arises, but really, if something is an emergency, you’re likely getting a phone call or at least a text. Email is meant to be a form of communication where instant responses aren’t required. There shouldn’t ever be real emergencies sitting in your inbox, so there’s no reason to worry that anything terrible urgent is going stale as you find time to actually get productive work done between sessions of checking your messages.

Although these changes can have a tremendous impact on your productivity, there’s more to making improvements than just following a few quick pieces of advice. Consider reaching out to a productivity consulting firm like AccelaWork to learn more. We’d love to help, so don’t hesitate to contact our business process consulting firm today.

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