Get Control of Your Time!

Reclaim lost minutes in your day.
“What will happen if I don’t do this?” Ask yourself this question before starting any task. If your answer is “nothing,” don’t do it! Why waste your time?

Prevent interruptions.
Schedule brief (10 or 20 minute) weekly meetings with your subordinates to reduce frequent interruptions in your workday–giving you longer blocks of time to get work done.

Program your phone and fax.
Enter all of the numbers you call or fax frequently into speed dial. Those few seconds of time savings before every call or fax will really add up!

Set up distribution lists.
Learn how to set up distribution lists in your email. Set them up for your department, the company, the committees you’re a part of, etc.

Keep a single calendar.
Use just one calendar for all of your appointments — professional and personal. Many managers find that good old pencil and paper works best because portability is key.

Use voice mail to your advantage.
Unless your company has a policy against it, stop answering the phone when you’re working on an important project. You need stretches of uninterrupted time to really let your creative abilities flow.

Establish a private email account.
Save time weeding through less important and junk emails to get the urgent messages. Establish a private email address for select co-workers who know to send only urgent messages to that address.

Take advantage of software features.
Use template features of your favorite software products to set up forms you use on a regular basis. Why waste 5 minutes setting up a memo, when you could open a template in 5 seconds?

Set SMART goals.
When planning your weekly or monthly activities, set SMART goals. Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. If your goals aren’t specific, how will you accomplish them? If they aren’t measurable, how will you know if you’ve succeeded? And obviously they need to be achievable, realistic, and timely–so you won’t get frustrated or waste time trying to accomplish the impossible!

Leave work at the office.
Take the last 10 or 15 minutes of your day to wrap things up and establish your “to-do” list for the next day. This will prevent you from worrying about what needs to get done once you leave the office, and allow you to enjoy your personal life.

Get Organized

Create your own oasis.
Do you get to work in the morning and feel instantly defeated by the mounds of paperwork you see? Get rid of the piles. Go into the office on a weekend, and spend a few hours creating file folders and hanging files to store your paperwork in your desk drawers. Then get in the habit of filing your paperwork at the end of every day. Getting organized will make your job easier–and you’ll be so proud of yourself when you come in to a clean desktop everyday.

Become clutter-free!
Get in the habit of instantly deleting useless emails. Set up folders to store and organize your computer files. Throw away pieces of paper if you don’t need them any longer.

Have fun with color.
On your calendar, highlight your action items in green, your appointments in red, your family engagements in blue, etc., and you’ll know at a glance what you have to do.

Keep a “to-do” notebook.
It’s a good idea to work from a list of tasks, instead of several pieces of paper. You will always know where to look to find out what you need to do if you keep a notebook.

Give yourself credit.
Cross off items from your “to-do” list once you’ve completed them. It’ll give you a feeling of accomplishment–and looking back through the book can really boost your spirits once you see all that you have done!

Better time management, more organization, a little fun, and less stress all contribute to a better working environment. The more you enjoy going to work, the easier your job will become.

Have Fun!

Take a fun break!
Once or twice a week, allow yourself to take a fun break. Stop working for 10 minutes and do something fun — play solitaire, take a walk outside, or surf the web for your horoscope — whatever it takes to boost your mental attitude and help you make it through a hectic workday.

Share the positives.
During your next staff meeting, take a time-out and allow everyone to share one positive thing that happened to them in the past week–personally or professionally. The more connections people make with each other, the easier it is to work together.

Go casual.
Sponsor office casual days once a month. Let people wear jeans or khakis. Or allow employees to wear sports team apparel on Mondays if your local team wins a game over the weekend. You’d be surprised how much happier everyone will be in a more relaxed environment.

Reduce Stress

Look on the bright side!
A positive attitude works wonders. Optimistic people enjoy life more–they feel less stress and anxiety, and even enjoy better health.

Say thank you.
These two words really mean a lot. If a co-worker stayed late to help you meet a deadline, or an employee did a truly outstanding job on a recent project, let them know. Send a handwritten note telling them how much you appreciate their work and dedication. You’ll feel better, and so will they. And, the next time you need a favor, you’ll probably have many willing volunteers.

Just say no!
Obviously you can’t say no all the time, but you do need to set limits on what you can reasonably accomplish. If you want to help, but don’t have a lot of time to spare, suggest taking on just part of a project or task. Or, offer to help, but set a time limit–say 30 minutes or 1 hour, whatever you feel you can afford.

You are what you eat.
Eating right will help you feel good about yourself while improving your health and giving you energy. Skip the vending machines and head for the water cooler. Bring in low-fat foods like rice cakes and fruit to curb your snack attacks. These little steps toward better health can add up to a big improvement in your overall well-being, and help you cope with stress in the workplace.

Use any opportunity to exercise.
Exercising boosts your endorphins which help you counteract feelings of anxiety. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Take a 20-minute walk during your lunch hour. Do simple stretching exercises at your desk.

Use relaxation techniques.
Stress is often stored in your neck and muscles, so shrug your shoulders, stretch your arms overhead, or roll your neck for a few minutes to loosen up. The better you feel, the easier it will be to make it through the day.

Stop worrying.
Worrying just gets in your way, it serves no purpose. Stop worrying and you’ll stop wasting time and energy, and you’ll accomplish more.