Using Effective Time Management Strategies – Section I

TO DO BOOK

Provided below, are a few simple suggestions that I have used to save valuable time and certain frustration when working under pressure to meet simultaneous project deadlines:

‘TO DO Lists’ – On the Road to Effective Time Management

  1. Write these lists out versus tracking them electronically because the risks are higher for being sidetracked when multitasking under pressure. Writing your lists will also trigger your memory;
  2. Prepare your lists throughout your work day, and revise/prioritize before leaving work; you will then be well prepared for the morning;
  3. Perform the item you least like to do first to get it out of the way, such as photocopying or high-volume faxing, each of which can be time-consuming as a result of paper jams, long queues for the machines, etc.;
  4. If you know there is a project on the go that could be arriving on your desk shortly, try to determine when you will receive it, and request the draft be sent to you piecemeal, so you can add your magic touch to each section (ensure consistency);
  5. It is wise to carry a notebook with you so you can follow-up on any spontaneous requests that will undoubtedly be made of you when moving throughout the office;
  6. Making your notes daily will allow for consistent follow-up and focus, and aid in ensuring things continue to run smoothly; and lastly
  7. Carrying your notebook with you is a helpful resource if you run into a colleague that has a query, and you want to track your last communication notes, and/or requests.

Notes:

You could use the fax to photocopy and vice versa, and/or have your IT team set up your system to send and receive faxes directly.

If you are able to define the expected arrival time for an incoming project, be sure to give Production and/or Graphics a heads-up to get your job in their queue to avoid delays and missing your client deadlines.

The following tips, some learned the hard way, may seem obvious and logical to you at first glance. However, I can assure you that they are often overlooked when working with long and/or difficult documents; resulting in wasted time, and a good deal of frustration.

Ignoring these tips can be costly as your documents can quickly become a nightmare to deal with!

This is particularly the case when working on two or more ‘rush’ projects simultaneously.

Unfortunately, when working with long or complicated documents; such as those with several section breaks, different layout/page orientations, embedded pics, excel charts, alternate headers and footers etc., MS Word becomes confused, and typically ends up labelling your document ‘corrupt’; which is a challenge to work with, or try to recreate.

While working collaboratively in programs such as Google Docs, MS OneNote or SharePoint certainly has its benefits, and give the impression of being ideal options for encouraging genuine group effort, they also create confusion, because these systems basically work akin to turning on ‘track changes’ or ‘versioning’ in Word.

As you know, working in long and/or complex documents, track changes can be quite intimidating and messy to work with. I am sure you would agree that simply selecting ‘accept all changes’ is not a wise option for obvious reasons, including the fact that your project leader’s review and approval for each change must come first.

 

Please continue reading here: Using Effective Time Management Strategies – Section II

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