Practice Management

By Fiona Collie |

Good time management at the office can make you feel better both professionally and personally.

Time is a resource we can never get back, says Eileen Chadnick, principal and certified coach with Big Cheese Coaching in Toronto. When you manage your time well, your work performance and your wellbeing improve, — with more efficiency and energy.

Follow these tips to make the most of your daily schedule:

> Make lists
Jot down the tasks you have to accomplish for the day to help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Chadnick recommends finding a system that works for you. For example, you might have separate lists for things that need to be done by the day, by the week or by the month. As well, you might keep your lists on a computer, a notebook or even scrap pieces of paper.

What is important is that you write it all out so you don't have a jumble of tasks in your head, she says, which can cause you to feel anxious or frazzled. 

> Review your tasks regularly
Get into the habit of checking your lists throughout the day, Chadnick says, to make sure everything that has to get done is being taken care of.

By checking and updating your lists, she says, you will feel more organized and you'll be more focused in your work.

> Leave some "wiggle" room
Something unexpected will always happen to disrupt your day, so it's important to be flexible.

Leave yourself some "wiggle" room in the schedule, Chadnick says. For example, your timetable should be flexible enough to allow you to move something to tomorrow's to-do list, or to allow for an unexpected phone call or request from a client.

> Space out your meetings
Don't jam-pack your day. Give yourself a little time between meetings.

"People don't honour their schedules," Chadnick says. "They see white space and they think it's there to be filled up."

Instead, she says, leave at least a few minutes between meetings and tasks, for you to prepare for what you need to do next.

> Delegate some time management
Work with your assistant closely to keep your daily schedule under control.

Give your assistant the authority to set and manage your schedule, says Catherine Nomura, director of business development with Strategic Coach in San Francisco. Let your assistant know what your priorities are and what tasks or meetings can be re-scheduled.