My goodness, since we last spoke, time has sped by and we are already right in the heart of summer. Where’s the sun for goodness sake? Over the past week, I’ve continued to ponder on what works well in helping to improve my timekeeping. .This past week has not been so great due to the sheer volume of work. The challenge is how do I maintain that discipline when strapped for time? Last week, I gave you three tips. This week, I have considered seven more tips for good timekeeping which I have found helpful :
1 . Prepare for the week ahead. The times where I have been really in control are when I have checked my work and social diaries, and planned my wardrobe and sometimes accessories accordingly.
That takes the ‘thinking’ out of an already busy week. Having all my outfits lined up and ready to go is brilliant for good timekeeping. I would even go as far as suggesting actually trying on your outfits. One morning, I hurried out of bed, jumped into the bath, and I pulled on my dress. I had a taxi waiting for me outside. To my horror the dress no longer fitted me. I simply could not get the zipper up or down! The result? A ripped dress! So a lesson for me is to try my outfit on whenever possible.
2 . Prepare the night before! No, this is not a contradiction to the previous point. The night before is the best time to prepare your packed lunch and school stuff for children. Not on the day! This will mean a morning where you can easily ‘grab and run’ rather than wasting time running around looking for items! This will help you to achieve good timekeeping.
3. Learn from good role models. There’s a great saying “if you run with the wise, you become wise”. I suggest you surround yourself with friends who are where you would like to be. If you are with friends who have no regard for time then beware. It is likely you too will not have the sense of urgency to change!
4. Ignore distractions. One of my pet hates in the morning is being distracted by a caller who is simply ringing to have a chat. They know that that time in the morning I’m likely to be in and able to speak! So now, in the mornings, the only calls I will take are those from my immediate family, and that’s only to check that all is ok, OR a member from my church who I know does not tend to ring at that time so its likely to be an emergency. So one vital key is: ignore your phone when it alerts you to an email or a text and rather set clear boundaries as to when you will respond.
5. Check the travel news. This is something I’ve started doing more and more! I’ve arrived at the bus stop or train station so many times, only to see the darn bus or train pull off and another not due to arrive until 10-15 minutes later. Now I will tend to check my travel time and routes before setting out, or the travel news. This helps you prevent being caught in traffic diversion or bottlenecks.
6. Be realistic with your scheduling. I once had a most ‘challenging’ administrator who would accept an appointment for me in, let’s say Cornwall United Kingdom for 10am. She would then arrange for me to meet with someone else the same day at 11.30am in Birmingham United Kingdom. Unless I privately hired Concorde, it would be impossible to make the Birmingham appointment. Then the said administrator would report me to my Director for being late! Now, that case was only the tip of the iceberg about the challenges of staff trying to sabotage you, but the point here is about the dangers of being unrealistic in how you schedule your day.
This individual was setting me up to fail, and sadly, we can set ourselves up to fail if we are not realistic in planning our day. Now, in my work diary, I schedule in ample travel time, as there are still some staff who book appointments with you without realising that you need time to travel from the office across town to speak to Mr So and So! You need to be realistic with your To Do list and your day schedules for good timekeeping.
7. Be respectful of others. A dear friend of mine was literally in tears when I arrived to our meeting as she was anxious that I had not kept her informed as to where I was in my travels (she knew I was running late). I was so upset that my lateness had distressed her so much. I also noticed that my last minute .com approach to some tasks have made some staff really nervous if they are the personality types who prefer to be in control and organised to the minute detail. This motivates me all the more to good timekeeping and personal organisation.
So to summarise, my 10 tips for improving your timekeeping are:
Aim to be early
Consider personal treats for being early
Plan to get there in peace
Prepare for the week ahead
Prepare the night before!
Learn from good role models.
Check the travel news.
Be realistic with your scheduling.
Be respectful of others.
I know there are loads of other tips and keys out there, so please do share yours and I will feature the most interesting in a future blog.