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Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Is Your New Year Resolution to Get Organised?

Master Your Diary by Creating a Standard Timetable

Do you find that some tasks never get done? Do you wish you could find time for those important tasks that would improve your business but are just not urgent enough to make it into your planner? Are you constantly fire fighting and never getting the tasks done you really want to do?

If you find yourself in this situation you need to change your strategy. You need to sit down for a little while and put your planning head on. Yes, trust me, it is worth taking that time. It'll save you a lot of anguish, missed opportunities and missed deadlines in the long run.

Think about all the things you do in a day and group then into logical categories. These could be
·         Phone calls
·         Emails
·         Appointments
·         Filing
·         Research
·         Invoicing
·         Working on projects
·        Etc.
You get the idea.

Now add all the categories you know you should be doing, the ones that would improve your business, make it better, take you to the next level. These could be: Sales activities such as prospecting -   Marketing strategies    Etc.

Now take a blank sheet of paper, divide it into five columns, labelled Monday to Friday, and create horizontal divisions, one for each hour. (Of course you can use a spreadsheet or a Word table as well.) This is your basic work week.

Now decide when you will be dealing with which category and block out a time. A good idea would be to start with an emailing slot every morning, followed by a block for phone calls. You could decide to do marketing strategy on a Friday, and prospecting every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. An example for a standard timetable could look like this:



Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
09.00
Emails
Emails
Emails
Emails
Emails
Phone calls
Phone calls
Phone calls
Phone calls
Phone calls
10.00

Work on Project A

Work on Project B

Marketing Strategy
11.00



12.00

Lunch break
Lunch break
Lunch break
Lunch break
Lunch break
13.00

Work on Project A

Work on Project B

Filing/Admin
14.00


Prospecting for new business

Prospecting for new business

15.00




16.00



Filing/Admin


17.00
Planning
Planning
Planning
Planning
Planning

If you can't delegate your more mundane tasks, such as filing, admin, book keeping, again, set aside some regular time to do them every week, so that they don't pile up on you and you need to spend days on a backlog.

When you work on a pre-planned activity, make sure you're not interrupted. Don't check your emails (make sure your email notifier is switched off as a rule!), have your phone diverted to voice mail. Otherwise you will only get distracted and you'll want to start fire fighting again. At the end of your session, reliably return phone calls. Make it a habit to only check emails 2 or 3 times a day - it will save you a lot of time in the long run.
Make sure you plan in a lunch break. You need time to re-energise and refuel to keep up your productivity levels in the afternoon.

Finish the day with a 15 to 20 minute planning session for the next day. What tasks do you need to do the next day, what appointments do you have, what do you need for those appointments? Planning it all the day before sets you up well for the next day, and your subconscious can start working on the issues you might be facing.

And finally don't plan your day in every minute detail. The unexpected always happens, appointments and meetings need to be slotted in and you don't want to pressure yourself unnecessarily. If you have a lot of categories to fit into your week, why not create a two-week or even three-week rolling timetable. This is supposed to be a tool to help you get the things done that normally get brushed under the carpet. If you plan to do your important, but not urgent activities once every two or every three weeks, and stick to that, you will still get more done than before.

Isi Dixon

Consultant, Motivational Speaker & Author

Well Organised

Professional Organising & Decluttering

Tel: 07732 915456




Author of Get Twice As Much Done In Half The Time – 10 Productivity Strategies for Your Office Available on  Isis website (with a special bonus edition of Printable Forms, Templates & Worksheets), Via Amazon for Kindle

Via Smashwords (in the following formats: .mobi, Epub, PDF, LRF – for Sony reader, Palm Doc – PDB – for Palm reader)

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