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- Work Smarter #49: An example of what works for top time management
November 09, 2011

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Hi, Kell here!

Welcome to the Work Smarter Not Harder Newsletter #49.

I am sitting on on the tarmac waiting out a storm before take-off. After spending a long day with executives - working on strategies to focus on high impact activities while resisting reactive easy-to-do low impact got me thinking....

Just like you should go to the dentist every 6 months the same rule applies to reviewing what worked and what didn’t and then planning your time for the following week.

If you plan at the daily level it is a little like looking at the bonnet of your car while driving.

Planning at the monthly level is like looking at the horizon while you are driving. But a calendar that is at the weekly level reflects the natural flow of the work week.

Now I am not talking about yearly or quarterly reviews in which you identify what your most important projects are.

What I am talking about is how you are going to spend your hours at work.

A weekly review is about reviewing what worked last week and what didn’t and then planning your hours on different tasks/projects for your next week?

During your weekly review you should go over your goals. How much closer did you move towards your quarterly or yearly goals?

What action steps are going to move you forward on your goals in the following week? How much time are you going to devote to these most important tasks?

Schedule these into your time management schedule for the week.

Word of warning – life happens and nearly all work environments have urgencies and crises that you need to respond to (see the time management matrix).

The trick is to plan for these by giving your schedule enough breathing space.

Even the most effective individuals allow for at least 2 hours of interruptions per day – so if you are working an 8 hour day then aim to schedule 5 hours of your day – and leave the rest as padding around the different tasks (these email, urgent meetings, interruptions from co-workers etc).

Review your quarterly goals every 3 months and your yearly goals every year. When is the best time for a weekly review?

I have a recurrent meeting with myself every Friday morning in which I do reflect on what worked and build this into my planning for the following week.

What's the benefit of a 30 minute weekly review?

Doing the weekly review has a number of benefits. A weekly review:

  • reduces my stress
  • increases my feelings of control, and
  • focuses my attention on what is most important in the work and personal contexts.

The weekly review is the linchpin that holds your time management together. Please let us know other time management tips that are useful so that we can improve our site for our most valuable resource


All the best,

Dr Kell and the team at Effective Time Management Strategies.

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