Need more time?

There are only 24 hours in a day. End of story. No one, not me, not you not even David Allen can find you more time in your day but what we can do is find more room in your day to do your work.

Productivity 101 - Calendar Management / Time Management

First rule of calendar / time management is you CANNOT lie about the time needed for any one activity. If you are not good with time (and not everyone is) find someone who can help you with this; either an administrative or executive assistant, a productivity consultant or an email, calendar & task management specialist.

My first suggestion is to set yourself up with an 'unschedule'. Neil Fiore introduced this methodology in his book The Now Habit and it works very well. This is where you take all your personal commitments and regularly scheduled work commitments and put them in a calendar. If you don't want to do this work directly on your work agenda/calendar, both Google and Outlook allow you to open new calendars that can be overlaid onto your regular work calendar at your discretion. You can contact me if you want a more detailed explanation.

Start by blocking as a whole what your hours are at work, i.e when the company expects you to either be at work or, at least, be available. Next I want you to put in your personal commitments. This includes travel time to and from work, meal times (including the time it takes to prepare and clean up), grocery shopping, regularly scheduled family activities, gym time, dog walking, laundry, house-cleaning, weekly gardening or lawn mowing, regular maintenance on the house, date night, hockey, knitting club, etc. Now that the activities are in, go back and add in whatever travel time is required for each block. Remember, be truthful. If it takes 40 minutes to get to the gym, you have to allow for 40 minutes, not 30. If it takes you 20 minutes to get to work and 15 minutes to park your car and get your coffee, it is 35 minutes travel time.

Once you have your personal time booked into your 'unschedule', you have a very clear picture of what your week looks like before you put in the specifics of your work obligations. Now, add in your regularly scheduled meetings, regular blocks of time that you put aside for administrative work, project work, meetings with direct reports, meetings or calls with clients and suppliers, etc. Now sit back and see what your calendar looks like - as a whole.

It is at this point that we find ROOM for you to do the work that you need to get done. All the information you need to make informed decisions is right in front of you. Time to manage your calendar, ruthlessly, without emotion.

If you need help, call back that specialist who was helping you in the beginning of this exercise and have an objective set of eyes help you see what you can eliminate or move to make room where room needed. Is it time to present this information to a colleague or superior to see that what changes can be made to bring about better workflow for yourself and others in the company^

You are not the only one looking for room in your calendar ... Your calendar might very well be the first step to finding the changes that need to be made in order to increase the productivity of your department or company. Having no extra time to work is not best practices. Do this exercise and see what your reality is.

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