List Categories | List All Articles | List Articles By Title
Time is on Your Side - Manage it Wisely
How do you manage your time? Or is the more appropriate question do you wish you had better time management skills? I have clients and friends who rely on everything from legal pads to brightly colored sticky notepads to manage their time and appointments - practically everything in their life. I don't understand why some folks place so little importance on something as important as time management!
As a professional Virtual Assistant, I have numerous clients and tasks I must complete every day. I also have a hectic personal life, full of family responsibilities and my hobbies. Organizing my time is critical to my success and to maintaining my sanity.
Submitted for your reading pleasure, and to enhance your brain, are some of my tips for effectively and efficiently managing one of your most valuable resources: time.
Determine What Works Best for You
We're all different in regards to time management -- what works for you may not suit me or my style. Are you constantly on the go and need your calendar at your fingertips? Or, do you prefer to keep a paper calendar? Do you loath computers and all they stand for, or are you so wired Edison would be jealous? Whatever tools you choose to include in your arsenal, ensure they're tools you'll use consistently.
The Building Blocks of Better Time Management
My time management tools are Microsoft Outlook® and my trusty PDA. Outlook serves all my appointment, e-mail and tasking needs in one easy-to-use package.
Two of my favorite Outlook tools are the Categories and Labels features. Categories allow me to classify my calendar items and tasks in a variety of ways, such as Clients, Potential Clients, Personal, and so forth. In addition, you can also Advanced Find (search) Categories, so no more wasted time looking for a calendar appointment or journal entry for a particular client.
Unlike the seemingly unlimited number of Categories you may setup, you are limited to ten (10) Labels (at least in the 2002 version). Labels allow you to color code your Calendar so you'll know at a glance which items are personal in nature, and which are client related.
Consistency is the Key
Whatever system you have in place or are considering to implement, the key point to remember is consistency. Follow the same procedures each and every time, without fail. Ensure you put good habits into play and more important, follow those good habits!
When I create new appointments or tasks, I use the first few characters to define the "owner" (client or myself) of that appointment or task. For example, when creating items for client Tom Smith, I'll preface all items with TSMITH. When searching for items for Tom, I know if I search for "TSMITH" I'll access all items related to this client. I'll also apply a Label to my appointments, such as TeleCon, PCI (Potential Client Interview), or Personal.
I pad all appointments with a 15-minute buffer on each side. I also schedule breaks during my workday.
My clients appreciate that each Monday I release my "Lori's Schedule" e-mail, a brief note notifying my clients when I'll be out of the office for that week. For example, all my clients know I'm a member of the Editorial Team for a well-known eZine and they know that unless it's an emergency, I am not available during this meeting.
When I interview potential clients, interns and vendors, I keep detailed conversation notes in the memo field for that Contact. I date all telephone conversations and apply color coding (font coloring) to each conversation. All interviews are kept to 30 minutes - no exceptions. My Desktop timer helps me keep track of the time, and sounds a horn .WAV file when it's time to end the interview.
If I need to follow up with someone, I immediately create an appointment, applying Categories and a Label, and attach any necessary external documents (Word, Excel, etc.). For Calendar appointments, I also keep track of the number of times I've attempted to contact that person. Example: For vendor Lisa Andrews, I'll preface the appointment with LA(2), where the parenthetical (2) means this is my second attempt to contact Lisa. I allow a maximum of three follow up attempts - no exceptions. Chasing people down is a waste of my time -- time I'd prefer to spend making money and running my business.
You Make the Call
Pet Peeve: Folks who call me and have no clue what they want to say. I've been known to hang up on such occasions, so let's ensure you don't make the same mistake!
A few basic rules of etiquette follow:
1. Peace & quiet rule the day, especially if you're making a business call. If the kids or your husband are home, close the door to your office. If there's a large amount of street traffic, go to an inner room in your home, as far away from the noise as possible. You don't want to shout over the din; instead, make the din disappear.
2. Know what you're going to say! I've advised numerous clients to have either an index card or a sheet of paper with the bullet points of what they want to say. I do something similar - in the Calendar appointment for the telephone call, I include bullet points in the memo field and make notes during the course of the conversation.
3. Keep it brief. Make your point, get down to business and let's rock and roll.
4. Be on time. Have respect for the person you're about to call. They've set aside valuable time to talk to you.
You've Made Your List, Now Check It the 2nd Time
Spend a few minutes at the end of your day to review tomorrow's calendar. Doing so will get you prepared for tomorrow and will jump start your memory if you forgot to do something. Do you have any faxes still waiting to go out? Did you remember to call the printer and OK the proof? Any prep work you need to do for tomorrow? Take five minutes, review your calendar and to do list and then complete any last minute work.
It's All Relative - Well, Your Relatives Think So
I know many people who have home-based businesses and at least 75% of them do not have a "family policy" in place. How can you work effectively from home if your girlfriends are calling you all the time, and if Uncle Joe stops by several times a day? Answer: You can't. What to do? Inform your family and close friends that unless it's a dire emergency, the family chit-chat and visits need to be kept to a minimum. For your part, you must ensure you call your dad at the end of the day to check in, and tell your girlfriend Lisa that yes, you can have lunch with her on Thursday. It's all about balance: part work, part play. Too much of the former will make you crazy!
"No" is Not a Four Letter Word (Subtitle: Even if it were, you should still utter it now and then)
Say this out loud, "It's okay for me to say no." Doesn't that feel better? More important, do you believe it?
Do not allow the procrastination or the good intentions of others to encroach upon your time. If you do not have the time today to handle a task, be honest and say so. Offer alternative dates and times when you are available, ensuring you mark these times as "unavailable" on your calendar so you don't book other appointments during this time.
Remember, time is money. Learn how to organize and manage your time--you'll be glad you did!
Copyright 2005 Lori Davis. All rights reserved.
Lori Davis is Director of the Future at Davis Virtual Assistants, a New York-based VA firm. To learn more about Lori and DavisVA, please visit http://www.davisva.com and http://loridavis.typepad.com/davisva/. You may contact Lori at 917.319.8224 and via e-mail at email@example.com.
How to Put Housework on Autopilot!
My husband and I recently returned from a trip to Austin, Texas. It was beautiful and refreshing.
Time is Money?
Not 1 in 10 people can tell you where money comes from, what it is and what it is good for, let alone how and why we get it.The most common error that most people make is to equate money with wealth.
Biggest Time Management Mistake
The biggest time management mistake you can ever make is forgetting your closest partner in life. The one who stays with you all the way from cradle to grave.
10 Time-Saving Calendar & Scheduling Tips
Nowhere is the line drawn more clearly between 'Industrial brains' and 'Electronic brains' than when it comes to the way people prefer to keep and use their calendars. These scheduling tips will really make your calendar talk to you, whether you use a packaged set, print out a computer calendar because you like the paper 'view' for better planning, or you synchronize your Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) with your laptop and office computer and it never hits paper.
Too Much to Do? Too Little Time?
Hey - Did someone press the FFW button?Have you ever felt like someone just pressed the Fast-forward button on your day and before you know it the day is over and you are sitting there wondering what you've accomplished?I love to organize and with working Part Time outside of the home and FULL-TIME at home with my business, 4 children and Husband I really rely on a schedule and many time management tips to keep my sanity (ok, so some of you think I am already insane, I won't argue with that) but at least I am organized ;)Here are a few of my favorite Time management Tips:1. Meal Planning: Try planning 1 - 2 weeks worth of meals at a time and write them down on a calendar.
How To Better Handle Your Mail
Letters, magazines, bills, flyers, what to do with them all. There should be only two responses to every piece of mail or e-mail, do something with it, or toss it! The best way, as always, to deal with it all is in an organized fashion.
5 Tips To Get More Out Of Your Work Day
It's easy to waste time on things that seem urgent but are not important, and even easier to get slowed down by clutter and distractions. Here are 5 solutions.
Dont Forget To Take Time Out For You!
As mothers we play so many different roles and most of us don't take time off that we deserve. Just think about it we play doctor, cook, chauffeur, teacher, lawyer, and the occasional referee as well.
Isn't it amazing that some people can produce huge results in the same 24 hours that we all have? Whether or not we realize it, we victimize ourselves by not appropriately deciding what to do with our time. Instead, we let our time decide what to do with us!Time is a commodity, and no matter who we are, we experience many demands on this precious commodity.
Whats Keeping You At The Office (9 Tips To Get Home Quicker)
"Work smarter, not harder" is a cliché that has darted in and out of the workplace for years. But it's still as true as ever.
Spend Less Time at Work and Get More Done
Sounds too good to be true?It really isn't!In fact, studies show that after a certain amount of hours at work each week, the average worker hits diminishing returns for their labor.Here are a couple of reasons this is true.
Could you use a "Stop Doing" list?
One of the tried and true organization and time-management tools is the trusty old "to do" list. I was trained to diligently put one together at the end of the day for the following day, and whatever tasks I failed to complete, to carry it forward.
Priorities: Dont Dry Your Dishes
Do your dishes really need to be dried, or could you just let the water evaporate? If you spend just 5 minutes per meal drying dishes, that equals a quarter of an hour per day, or 91 hours each year.Imagine spending almost four days in a row standing at the sink drying dishes.
The Kaizen of Goal Setting
There is an old way of goal setting and a new way of goal setting! The old way of goal-setting involved setting yor goals, preparing a list of sub-goals, and then carefully checking them off one after another (as and when they were being accomplished). Am I trying o pour cold water on the goal setting method many of us grw up on? Not necessarilyWhile I am not saying the step-by-step approach does not work, I am advocating a flexible-goal setting approach.
Time Management for Sales Pros
According to a Miller Heiman 2003 Sales Effectiveness Study, over 60% of sales organizations are being pushed to increase results with reduced budgets and fewer salespeople compared to last yearWhether you are a sales rep or a sales manager this information is probably not a surprise to you. Simply put, the current business climate demands you work smarter and not harder.
Fitting An Education Into A Busy Lifestyle
Fitting an education into a busy lifestyleMany people have aspirations to get an education for many reasons. Better jobs, more money and social recognition are some of the more predominant explanations.
Tips to Manage Your Time
Time and money are both very important in business. Yet, like me, many business people tend to give a lot more specific thought as to how to spend their money.
House Cleaning - Three Ways To Finding The Time
It's always a challenge finding time to clean my house. Seems the hours, days and weeks just fly by, so much to do, so little time.
Setting Time Aside For Studying And Homework
When trying to achieve a quality education, everybody knows that studying and completing your homework is absolutely imperative in order to be successful. Some people are very good and sticking to their guns and completing their homework and study time week in and week out.
Time Mastery vs. Time Management - Knowing the Difference
How much time do you spend on Mastering Your Time? I don't mean managing time. There is quite a difference between managing and mastering your use of time.
home | site map
All articles are copyright to their owners.
Note: this website lists articles, We do not Write Articles !