If you’re anything like me, you often find yourself scanning your calendar, clock, to-do list and the piles on your desk wondering, “Can I squeeze one more thing into my afternoon”?
Trying to keep up with multiple projects with varying priorities can be overwhelming so when the hours and minutes start to get away from me, I rely on the following time management strategy to keep me on track.
Make lists and prioritize: This is my favorite. I find one of the best ways to prioritize tasks is to list them all out and then focus on the top three important action items. I also revisit my list often as priorities tend to change.
Consider importance over urgency: Sometimes urgent tasks that come with a short deadline aren’t necessarily the most important. The important action items are those that are long-lived and support larger company goals and career objectives. This works even with the most simple of tasks. For instance I might want to provide feedback on that survey due today, but answering a customer question comes first even if there isn’t a deadline associated.
Schedule time and plan ahead: I select three important tasks every day and schedule time for them. I also try to get ahead of the time curve by thinking about what’s coming up next. I find it’s easier to have a plan versus reacting to the events going on around me.
Multitask, as appropriate: I don’t recommend posting to FaceBook or Twitter while driving, but I’ve been known to tune into a business-related podcast with a cup of coffee while applying my make-up in the morning.
Do it sooner rather than later: While this sounds like a no-brainer, it’s easy to put off a task that doesn’t come with a deadline. If it doesn’t, I like to give it one. Once it has a deadline, it makes my task list.
Well, my times up! On to my next action item.
This article first appeared on Real Business at Xerox