Too busy? Check out some time management tips

As renewal season approaches, summer turns to fall, we are all trying to make sense of healthcare reform and hiring is starting to pick up, HR personnel and benefits specialists are busier than ever.  We oftentimes are hearing our parnters and clients say they just don’t have the time to devote to behavioral healthcare projects like implemententing a specialty network or carving out managed behavioral healthcare because they think it will require too much time on their end.  The good news is it’s certainly been worth it for our newer partners who have been experiencing signficant savings from our network discounts and for the employees who have been acknowledging superior service and support in case management.  Especially when our HR and benefits specialists experience that the time required on their end is minimal compared to the work we are doing for them to get these programs in place.  But since we are constantly hearing about the time challenge I discovered this wonderful list of tips that will help you manage your time.  I hope this helps.  And be sure to reach out if it makes sense to put us to work in determining the advantages of our services as part of your overall benefits plans.

Thanks to Penelope Trunk’s (Brazen Careerist) Blog “Advice at the Intersection of Work and Life.”

http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/

1. Don’t leave email sitting in your inbox.
The ability to quickly process and synthesize information and turn it into actions is one of the most emergent skills of the professional world today. Organize email in file folders. If the message needs more thought, move it to your to-do list. If it’s for reference, print it out. If it’s a meeting, move it to your calendar.

2. Admit multitasking is bad.
For people who didn’t grow up watching TV, typing out instant messages and doing homework all at the same time, multitasking is deadly. But it decreases everyone’s productivity, no matter who they are.  A 20-year-old is less likely to feel overwhelmed by demands to multitask, but young people still have a loss of productivity from multitasking

3. Do the most important thing first.
Trapani calls this “running a morning dash”. When she sits down to work in the morning, before she checks any email, she spends an hour on the most important thing on her to-do list. This is a great idea because even if you can’t get the whole thing done in an hour, you’ll be much more likely to go back to it once you’ve gotten it started. She points out that this dash works best if you organize the night before so when you sit down to work you already know what your most important task of the day is.

4. Check your email on a schedule.
“It’s not effective to read and answer every email as it arrives. Just because someone can contact you immediately does not mean that you have to respond to them immediately,” says Dan Markovitz, president of the productivity consulting firm TimeBack Management, “People want a predictable response, not an immediate response.” So as long as people know how long to expect an answer to take, and they know how to reach you in an emergency, you can answer most types of email just a few times a day.

5. Keep web site addresses organized.
Use book marking services like del.icio.us to keep track of web sites. Instead of having random notes about places you want to check out, places you want to keep as a reference, etc., you can save them all in one place, and you can search and share your list easily.

6. Know when you work best.
Each person has a best time. You can discover yours by monitoring your productivity over a period of time. Then you need to manage your schedule to keep your best time free for your most important work.

7. Think about keystrokes.
If you’re on a computer all day, keystrokes matter because efficiency matters. “On any given day, an information worker will do a dozen Google searchers,” says Trapani. “How many keystrokes does it take? Can you reduce it to three? You might save 10 seconds, but over time, that builds up.”

8. Make it easy to get started.
We don’t have problems finishing projects, we have problems starting them,” says Mann. He recommends you “make a shallow on-ramp.” Beene knows the key creating this on ramp: “I try to break own my projects into chunks, so I am not overwhelmed by them.”

9. Organize your to-do list every day.
If you don’t know what you should be doing, how can you manage your time to do it? Some people like writing this list out by hand because it shows commitment to each item if you are willing to rewrite it each day until it gets done. Other people like software that can slice and dice their to-do list into manageable, relevant chunks.

10. Dare to be slow.
Remember that a good time manager actually responds to some things more slowly than a bad time manager would. For example, someone who is doing the highest priority task is probably not answering incoming email while they’re doing it. As Markovitz writes: “Obviously there are more important tasks than processing email. Intuitively, we all know this. What we need to do now is recognize that processing one’s work (evaluating what’s come in and how to handle it) and planning one’s work are also mission-critical tasks.”

Posted by Ian Holtz, Manager of Business Developement at Mines and Associates

ipholtz@minesandassociates.com

(303) 953-4083

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