Time Management Tips and Resources

At the State Bar Convention a couple of weeks ago, State Bar Chief Member Services Officer Lisa Deane shared with the audience a number of tips for time management, as well as resources she found helpful.  The response was so positive that here, for your reading pleasure, are her tips:

Time management is about being deliberate; more efficient, simplifying life to make sure the important work gets done.

General Tips
1. Sleep. Get 7-8 hours. Sleep deprivation decreases overall performance. You may get the work done but the quality will suffer.
2. Stay out of the rabbit hole. Only use social media if it is planned or minutes will turn to hours.
3. Buffer Time. Leave time between tasks and meetings. Consider a 50 minute meeting or task to save the last 10 minutes for debriefing or preparing for the next task.
4. Health.
a. Exercise, Stress, Food. Not watching these today is okay but long-term exercise and eating right will reduce chances of disease and cancer.

Work Tips
1. Planning
a. To-do list:
1. Everything you think of should go on a master list. If you know the due date, write that down as well.
2. Each week this list is reviewed to plan the next week.
3. Brian Tracy, recognized sales and personal trainer, says your efficiency will increase 25% the first day you start creating a master list.
b. The Plan:
1. End of each week- Review your master list and create the to-do list for the following week. Calendar blocks of time to accomplish projects, email, meetings.
2. Beginning of each day- Review the list. Look at priorities and tackle starred items.
3. End of each day- Make list for the following day. Star items that must be done. Make sure starred items get blocks of time on your calendar.
2. Most Important First
a. Tackle most important items first in the day. For most people first thing in the morning is our “prime time.” If not, do the most important during your “prime time.”
b. Watch time limits set for projects so all important work gets done.
c. Email-Try to resist doing email during non-designated times. If you can’t resist than review email while you’re having your morning coffee or juice. If the email message will take longer than 2 minutes to respond save for later.
3. Email
a. Calendar time for emailing. If you have a few extra minutes than only respond to emails that take 2 minutes or less, otherwise move them to folders:
1. Read
2. Archive
3. Needs Action This Week or Needs Action Later
4. Specific Content Folders
a.  Julie Morganstein’s 4 Ds:
1. Delete- some things aren’t work doing, they are schedule clutter.
2. Delay- If something is a low priority then delay it until later and re-evaluate whether or not to take on the task.
3. Delegate- Can someone else take on the task?
4. Diminish- Tackle the task in a short meeting, short email response.
c. No- It is not a four-letter word. Say yes only to what helps accomplish short and long-term goals and brings great value.
d. Organize- FOR PAPER
1. Try to touch it 1 time.
a. Keep it for your records
b. Throw it away if it has no value
c. Give it away to someone who can use it
d. Response Needed- put it on the master list
5. Focus
a. Turn off distractions – turn off ringer, email alerts, phone beeps, etc.
b. From The Muse, a blog: The 52/17 Rule:
They studied employees and found those who worked for 52 minutes followed by 17 minutes of socializing were 10% more productive than the others.
6. Time Pockets
a. Between tasks, if you have worked 52 minutes get up and deliver documents, walk to clear your head or visit with a colleague.
b. Read an article or blog in your “to read” folder or email box. Have these accessible for short pockets of time that become available.
6. Batch Tasks
a. Multitasking- switching gears requires changing thoughts and results in a 40% of lost productivity. Instead,
b. Batch Tasks:
1. Phone Calls
2. Delivering materials, documents, etc. to colleagues
3. Emails- Calendar two to three times each day to check emails. If this is new to you start by calendaring six times and then slowly back down to three.
7. Access your System. If it doesn’t work calendar time to seek online resources to help.

Other Resources:
1. Time Management Skills
2. How to Manage Time with 10 Tips That Work
3. Mind Tools
4. Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools


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