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10 tips for time management in a multitasking world

by Penelope Trunk  |  10395 views  |  2 comments  |        Rate this now! 

“It’s not effective to read and answer every email as it arrives. Just because someone can contact you immediately does not mean that you have to respond to them immediately,” says Dan Markovitz, president of the productivity consulting firm TimeBack Management, “People want a predictable response, not an immediate response.” So as long as people know how long to expect an answer to take, and they know how to reach you in an emergency, you can answer most types of email just a few times a day.

5. Keep web site addresses organized.

Use book marking services like del.icio.us to keep track of web sites. Instead of having random notes about places you want to check out, places you want to keep as a reference, etc., you can save them all in one place, and you can search and share your list easily.

6. Know when you work best.

Industrial designer Jeff Beene does consulting work, so he can do it any time of day. But, he says, “I try to schedule things so that I work in the morning, when I am the most productive.” Each person has a best time. You can discover yours by monitoring your productivity over a period of time. Then you need to manage your schedule to keep your best time free for your most important work.

7. Think about keystrokes.

If you’re on a computer all day, keystrokes matter because efficiency matters. “On any given day, an information worker will do a dozen Google searchers,” says Trapani. “How many keystrokes does it take? Can you reduce it to three? You might save 10 seconds, but over time, that builds up.”

8. Make it easy to get started.We don’t have problems finishing projects, we have problems starting them,” says Mann. He recommends you “make a shallow on-ramp.” Beene knows the key creating this on ramp: “I try to break own my projects into chunks, so I am not overwhelmed by them.”

9. Organize your to-do list every day.

If you don’t know what you should be doing, how can you manage your time to do it? Some people like writing this list out by hand because it shows commitment to each item if you are willing to rewrite it each day until it gets done. Other people like software that can slice and dice their to-do list into manageable, relevant chunks. For example, Beene uses tasktoy because when he goes to a client site tasktoy shows him only his to do items for that client, and not all his other projects. (Get tasktoy here.)

10. Dare to be slow.

Remember that a good time manager actually responds to some things more slowly than a bad time manager would. For example, someone who is doing the highest priority task is probably not answering incoming email while they’re doing it. As Markovitz writes: “Obviously there are more important tasks than processing email. Intuitively, we all know this. What we need to do now is recognize that processing one’s work (evaluating what’s come in and how to handle it) and planning one’s work are also mission-critical tasks.”

About the Author

Penelope Trunk is a blogger and author of Brazen Careerist. To read her blog, please go to www.penelopetrunk.com

Read more by Penelope Trunk




2 comments so far...

  • I try to keep my meetings brief and to the point, but also like to give time to generate some ideas and discuss concerns. The one issue I struggle with is that there always seems to be one or two employees that are change-resistant and go straight for the negative info. I have now begun to go to those employees a day before the meeting and give them a copy of the meeting notes. I ask them to read it over, offer any suggestions, and give me feedback. I also let them know that I want them to present those ideas to the rest of the team. Usually this will get them on board and they will sometimes even take the initiative to improve things! Thanks for the tips!I try to keep my meetings brief and to the point, but also like to give time to generate some ideas and discuss concerns. The one issue I struggle with is that there always seems to be one or two employees that are change-resistant and go straight for the negative info. I have now begun to go to those employees a day before the meeting and give them a copy of the meeting notes. I ask them to read it over, offer any suggestions, and give me feedback. I also let them know that I want them to present those ideas to the rest of the team. Usually this will get them on board and they will sometimes even take the initiative to improve things! Thanks for the tips!
    Marketing Plan

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by HenryJakson on 13th September 2011

  • Great List for all of us overloaded overworked never-finishers. But good priority and good articles and blogs you link; Life hacker is a classic.
    Best advice I can give; is working when no one else does; it gives the tranquillity needed for getting things done, although it usually means less sleep.
    Enjoying your work very much, always a pleasure to read. http://www.businessmantra.net

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by jehnavi on 22nd June 2010

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