Getting More Done
21 February 2019

Effective working practices – productivity - timeboxing

The to do list seems to get longer, time seems to get shorter and shorter. Sometimes it feels as though you’re going around in circles. Just how do you get more done? Try one or more of these strategies and you can save hours each week.

Start by exploring your expectations. When you take on a major task, discuss the requirements with key stakeholders. Not all situations need an in-depth analysis, but some will. By finding out exactly what’s needed, you can save hours of time deciding what to do and getting tasks done.

Recycling physical materials is not just very a la mode, but a social duty. Recycling doesn’t stop there. You can probably re-use existing material fairly often. Your ability to reduce time by reusing and recycling work will obviously vary depending on your responsibilities. But where you can, copy, paste, and edit. That could happen with emails, presentations, trainings, proposals, and almost any other type of activity where you’re communicating something very similar.

In the same way, avoid reinventing the wheel by developing templates and checklists. I am often asked the same thing on a regular basis (for example, I am probably asked four times a week how to deal with the termination of employment of an employee on probation),so I have developed hundreds of HR advice templates and they increase the speed of response enormously. My templates are mostly HR related, but you might want templates for activities like putting together weekly reports, presentations, or meeting agendas. You may find checklists valuable for weekly planning, one-to-one meetings, or other repeated activities. Both templates and checklists allow you to do a good job in less time because you don’t need to spend any time remembering what to do or deciding on the next step.

Try timeboxing to plan and organise your work. Decide in advance how much time you will spend on a task or part of a task, and then stick to it. Deciding in advance on the time investment helps avoid falling victim to Parkinson’s Law, that work expands to fill the time allotted for it, to work to your advantage. While time boxing doesn’t guarantee that you’ll finish the work in the allotted time, it helps you focus.

We all have our limits so I can’t promise that everything will get done by using the above strategies. But when you do employ these techniques, you can get more done in less time.

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Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this blog, nothing herein should be construed as giving advice and no responsibility will be taken for inaccuracies or errors.

Copyright © 2021 all rights reserved. You may copy or distribute this blog as long as this copyright notice and full information about contacting the author are attached. The author is Kate Russell of Russell HR Consulting Ltd.