We’ve had a fabulous month of organizing here at Whole Assistant, and we are going to end the month drilling down on effective ways of organizing our time. If you’ve been around this month then you know we’ve gone into detail regarding my 5 Steps for Organizing Anything and have talked about how to apply this method to our workspaces and digital files. If this is the first post you’ve read in the series I would encourage you to go back to the first post to gain a general understanding of the methodology we are going to discuss here.
The first step is to set time parameters for everything on your “to-do” list. Because we are discussing organizing time itself, this step is fairly self-explanatory and straight forward. Parkinson’s Law says we will take however much time we give ourselves to complete a task or project. Be mindful of this and give yourself strict deadlines for every item on your “to-do” list.
The second step is to get rid of everything you won’t need or use. When talking about organizing your time, what this step looks like is an overall evaluation of how you use your time. Are you using your time to provide value? Are you neglecting the important tasks that can really add value for the urgent but less important ones? Are you providing a good return on investment? Be honest with yourself and really evaluate how you are using your time and cut out the habits that are harming your time organization and productivity. (Instagram anyone?)
Some of us are becoming less effective at our jobs because we are doing the tasks of 3 people as opposed to 1. If this is you, get honest with yourself, your coworkers and your boss with regard to what you can handle what you can’t. I realize as assistants we never want to say no to our bosses. Just be sure to have good communication around what is currently on your plate so you aren’t setting yourself up for failure. Who knows, perhaps you can delegate that data entry or print job to the receptionist. Know your limitations and ask for help.
Step three is to group like items together. This is my favorite part of organizing my time. I’ve talked about grouping or batching, similar items on your “to-do” list (check out this post) before, but it’s such a part of good time management that I think it’s worth mentioning again. Your time will flow much more smoothly, and you will be much more productive if you tackle your tasks in batches. When you complete a task your brain will have a much more seamless transition to the next task if the next task is similar to the one you just completed. For example, if I know I’ve got a few phone calls to make I will batch them together and make them one after another. The first call puts me in phone calling mode and I stay in that mode until they are all done. Try it! This tip alone will save you a ton of time and increase your productivity.
Step number four is to create a place for everything, and step 5 is to create a system for maintenance. I’ve grouped these last two together because both are so similar when talking about organizing time - I use one tool for both. Creating a place for everything with regard to time comes down to a killer “to do” list. When it comes to creating a system for maintaining your “to do” list, nothing works better than Trello. I’ve written an entire blog post on the genius of Trello and how to set it up to maximize productivity. Trello supports the entire process of organizing your time as it provides features such as due dates and easily helps me access my list from anywhere via the app on my phone.
I would love to hear how you organize your time. Please share any insights you have below or in the WA Facebook Group.
Here's what you can expect: