For many executives the workday is shaped by meetings that are placed consecutively. It is difficult to get from one meeting to the next and it is difficult to find the time for preparation. Way to often you are interrupted or you have to address an urgent matter. This means that preparation is often almost non-existent. Too many projects gets stranded or ends up exceeding deadlines. How do you escape this vicious spiral?
It is about being realistic regarding your time and your assignments, so that you are able to make a plan that sticks. Here are four steps to plan your time efficiently.
In order to find out where it all goes wrong, you need to know, what you are doing with your time. Decide that for a period of time (for instance a week or a few representative days) you register what you are planning to do with your time and what you are actually doing with it.
Register things such as: efficient worktime, phone calls, interruptions, preparation, urgent assignments etc.
With the registration you are able to find out:
Never plan more than 60 % of your time. Research shows that up to 40 % of our workday is spent on unplanned assignments. Take this into account in your planning.
Like with your private economy you need to make a budget for your time in order to plan efficiently: Which expenses (assignments) and profits (time) is there?
Typically there will be meetings and other regular appointments during your day that you cannot plan yourself. Make sure you have these appointments under control, and find out how many hours you actually have at your disposal.
Also remember to consider take the 40 % rule into consideration in your budget. The example below illustrates the rule:
A time-realistic to-do-list depends on four steps:
Need more inspiration for your to-do-list? Here are 11 guidelines for a productive to-do-list.
Frequent objections to planning ahead is that it takes time and that the plan rarely works. And yes, it does take time, but it is nothing compared to the time it takes to put out fires and again and again attempt to create an overview. Research show that you reduce your performance-time considerably, when you take the time to plan ahead.