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Tips for Managing Time and Productivity

Your time is valuable. It’s the one thing that we regularly give away that we can never get back. We can always make more money, but today will never come around again so stop reacting to demands on your time and start proactively planning your week.

Calendar

Schedule as much as possible. My calendar includes meetings, events, and blocked time to ensure the work is done. When scheduling these things, I know I work best in the morning and again around 1:30, so tasks with a deadline are scheduled at 9am and 1:30pm. Meetings and calls are scheduled in between.

If your service involves meeting or speaking with clients on a regular basis, online schedulers such as Calendly or 24me automate the process. You can block out the times not available for booking and provide your clients with the link.

Email

Email can be a major time-stealer, mostly because we allow our focus to be deflected when we hear the “you’ve got mail” notification or see the pop-up notification. On multi-tasking, Psychology Today says “the brain doesn’t really do tasks simultaneously, as we thought (hoped) it might. In fact, we just switch tasks quickly. Each time we move from hearing music, to writing a text, or talking to someone, there is a stop/start process that goes on in the brain.  That start/stop/start process is rough on us. Rather than saving time, it costs time (even very small micro seconds). It’s less efficient, we make more mistakes, and over time, it can sap our energy.”

So, schedule time to process your email (not just scan it looking for urgent messages). Choose two or three times during the day to actively manage the messages in your inbox. I like to do this at 8:30, 12:00 and 4:00. Then take these steps:

  1. Delete the junk.
  2. If the message has a task for you, put it on your task list and schedule time for it in your calendar.
  3. Answer messages that require a quick response and then delete or file the message.
  4. Use flags, tags or follow-up reminders for anything else.

Remember to delete the messages in the deleted folder and, once a year, clean out any old messages you still have that are no longer relevant.


Productivity Apps

If you don’t use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM), productivity apps can help manage tasks. TaskPaper is great for those who like to list tasks then move them around as appropriate. It can also help with projects. But there are many great task apps out there and you can find one that suits you. When I’m looking for a new app, I go to pcmag.com because they provide a complete, independent comparison based on price, user-friendliness, add-ons and anything else you may want to know. Find their best productivity apps for 2019 here: https://www.pcmag.com/article/362432/the-best-productivity-apps.

CRMs

Customer Relationship Management apps provide a centralized, organized place to store all your customer data and are great at managing contacts, leads, sales funnels, projects, tasks, and events. CRMs also eliminate the need to troll through your inbox. However, it’s imperative that you identify why you need a CRM and how you want to use it before signing up with one.

Once you’ve decided to use a CRM, go to https://www.pcmag.com/roundup/253275/the-best-crm-software for an unbiased comparison.

Please contact me at karen@protem-exec.ca if you would like to have a more in-depth conversation about any of these topics.