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10 Professional Organizer Time Management Tips

Time is finite; tasks are infinite. Hence the need to maximize productivity. The concept of time management is a myth. No matter how organized we are or how smart our tools, we each have only 24 hours in the day.  So though we talk about time management as means to maximize our productivity, what we’re really managing is ourselves – our habits, our behavior, our tasks, and how we accomplish them. Here are 10 professional organizer tips to help you better manage the tasks you want to accomplish in the time you have each day so that you can maximize your productivity.

  1. Know where your time is spent. Just like creating a budget requires that you know where every penny goes, it’s the same for how you allocate time. Keep track of the amount of time spent on each and every activity for a week. Include activities, of course, but also conversations (in person and phone calls) and time spent brainstorming and planning. Take an honest look at your log to see how much of your time is spent on high-priority, productive activities and on those that aren’t really worthy of your precious minutes.
  2. Plan your day. Take 30 minutes at the end of each day or first thing in the morning (try both to see which works better for you) to plan and schedule all of your activities for the day. Leave sometime between tasks so that you can address the unexpected. Unfinished tasks from today should be rescheduled if they are still a priority. Make note of tasks that seemed to get pushed from day to day. There’s a good chance that you may not really need to get these done.
  3. Schedule everything. If it’s important enough to be on your to-do list, schedule a time to do it. This includes not only business tasks but those that are personal priorities as well – exercise, dinner with family, a phone call to your parents, packing for your vacation, etc.
  4. Make a habit of not answering the phone just because it rings. Turn off email alerts so that you aren’t tempted to click on every message as is arrives. Schedule a time to answer email and return phone calls – and then stick to your schedule.
  5. Make prioritizing a priority. During your planning time, prioritize your tasks for the day and be sure to tackle the top one or two important tasks first. If you fill your time checking off to-do list items that aren’t vital and put off the big stuff, your list may look good but you likely haven’t accomplished what you really needed to for the day.
  6. Delegate what you can. Even in a small business, you don’t have to do everything. As you review your time log, look for tasks that you’d be better off delegating or outsourcing. Assigning these tasks to someone else means you can focus on what you do best.
  7. Be sure your systems are organized. It seems obvious, but the time wasted looking for paper or electronic files, searching for supplies to complete a project or shuffling through a stack of business cards looking for a phone number all adds up. Maintaining organized systems pays off by giving back time in your day.
  8. Don’t waste waiting time. We all spend time waiting – at the dentist’s office, for a meeting to start, at the train station. Use these minutes to update your calendar, review your to-do list, respond to email messages, read reports and articles.
  9. Group related tasks to maximize efficiency. For example, sort the papers on your desk and then file them. Combine trips to the bank and post office.
  10. Put up a Do Not Disturb sign when you really need to eliminate distractions. Co-workers and even family members will respect your boundaries if you make them clear.

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