Let me introduce you to one of my best friends and she also happens to be my blog assistant. I have known Elizabeth Scott for over 10 years. She was my executive assistant when I was a VP of Sales and has continued to be an invaluable resource for me in the blogosphere. She has just recently launched her new website Virtual Admin To Go showcasing her new business. When I asked if she would like to do a guest post, she was delighted.
Time management is a constant concern for we bloggers. Not because we don’t know how to manage it. It’s because it’s not the only thing we have in our life and finding the time to squeeze all that is required to run a successful blog is very challenging indeed. Elizabeth has helped me find that extra time with her services. So take it away Elizabeth.
Keeping Your Plate From Running Over.
When Susan asked me to write a guest post I was honored. I was introduced to Susan when she became the Vice President of Inside Sales at PennySaverUSA.com. Shortly after, two offices were consolidated into one; Susan started interviewing for an executive assistant. I threw my name into the hat and was honored when I was hired for the position. Being the assistant to Susan and five additional Regional Sales Managers helped me find my passion of administrative services.
I immediately jumped into my new position with both feet. There was so much I needed to learn, but I found the most important thing was time management. Assisting the VP of Inside Sales, five Regional Sales Managers, and up to 70 employees was no easy task, and my plate was always full. There was always a project or impending urgent task that needed done. In order to complete all the daily tasks, I needed to perfect my time management skills.
Time management by definition means to analysis how working hours are spent and the prioritization of each task in order to maximize personal efficiency at work. What does that really mean? Here is what I consider to be a good plan for time management.
First rule of time management is to write down the tasks at hand. This can happen in different ways. Some people prefer lists to track their daily tasks, a desk calendar, or some use agendas or daily planners to schedule their day. I would use a Franklin Covey planner to help plan my days and schedule future projects. I would meet with each manager prior to completing my list of daily tasks to ensure all needs were covered.
Second rule is to prioritize each task. I would use “buckets” to figure out which tasks went where. Bucket one were tasks that required immediate attention. Returning urgent customer emails or phone calls, human resource needs, assisting internal customer needs, etc. Bucket two would be tasks that were important but not needing immediate attention. This could be anything from preparing agendas for upcoming meetings, running daily reports, daily accounting items, etc. The next bucket was for the end of day tasks. These could be ordering supplies for the office, updating reports, data entry, etc. Things that needed to be done but could wait until more pressing tasks were completed. The final bucket was the scheduling bucket. These were projects that needed to be completed within the next week. I would schedule these projects out to ensure that nothing was forgotten.
Third rule I follow was to update all the buckets. When a task was completed, I’d mark it off, so I knew at a glance what tasks were remaining. I consider this extremely important, so I wasn’t re-reading the complete list every time I glance at it. I knew by sight the tasks were completed because I have crossed them out. Additionally, some tasks would lead to additional items. I would remember to put those additional tasks into my different buckets.
The fourth rule I followed regarding to time management was to report my progress. This was a quick email stating what was completed, asking if there was anything else I could assist with and any follow-up with questions I may have regarding any tasks.
The final rule that I considered important in time management was to know the signs that my current time management needed revision. The telltale sign that I was waning from my time management plan was when my desk had become unorganized. I considered myself to be compulsively organized at work, and there was always a right place for everything. When I notice my desk had become cluttered I knew I needed to take a moment, step back, and reconsider my action plan.
I find that each person will come to perfect their own time management program. How do you manage your time? What tools do you use? What is your best tip for managing your time?
I call Elizabeth my secret weapon in the blogosphere. She helps me find and squeeze that extra time I need to keep my blog running well. When you have a moment check out her website. Who knows she might be able to help you too.
The blogging life continues…
PS: What happens to be on your mind? If you would like to write a guest post about an experience, we would love to hear from you.
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