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Time after time: Making every second count

February 07, 2018
Collection of office items displayed on a desk, watch, ipad, iphone, pencil  and notepad
Written by
Ellie Bramah

Ellie Bramah

We are all busy people, aren’t we? Somehow the busy-ness level of every person I talk to seems to have sky-rocketed in the last 12 months. (As an aside: Whether or not this is a fallacy, a social expectation that we’re now placing on ourselves, is a discussion for another day.)

In 2018, it seems like the new thing is the trend to “de-busy” yourself and better prioritize your life. Be your most productive, most balanced, most wonderful self.

With some new demands on my time this month (oh hey, altMBA), I began exploring new ways to organize my days. Having to produce more work, with greater thoughtfulness, isn’t easy. In fact, The Globe and Mail recently published a list of “micro-skills” employees can use to improve the workplace. I mostly liked the alliteration in the article. Catchy.

As we all know, there are a million apps, journals, tips and tricks for managing our time these days, from the ever popular Bullet journals (which, if I’m to believe their Instagram feed, to use one effectively, I need to seriously up my artistry skills) to the Eisenhower app that helps you create an urgency-importance matrix. Whatever that is. Frankly, they lost me at the word matrix.

I wanted to find simple, actually doable things to help me better manage my days. My very sage advice includes:

Assess meeting requests

Many aren’t the greatest use of time, so I’ve embraced the “decline” button. If I decline a meetingand question why I’m required at said meeting, I usually discover that I’m either actually not needed or, that I can contribute more effectively by taking action even before said meeting occurs. Thusly making the eventual time together more productive.

Show up early

Nothing demonstrates how little you care like showing up late to your meeting. Sometimes I wonder if people believe that if they’re constantly late, people will think they’re just THAT BUSY, but mostly it’s just disrespectful and often results in so much repetition that it hurts. I’m not talking hours early, but five minutes, three even, could make a difference. I posit: early = efficiency.

Double-check deadlines

I have been told that I work best with a deadline. This is true. A little pressure, a hint of a time crunch, and I spend much less time thrashing about, and more time getting things done. My new idea? Double-check the real deadline. Is it really Friday? What if we delivered on Thursday? What would that mean to the work or the relationship? Would it help or hinder? I’m not suggesting that we shorten deadlines for the sake of it. Good work takes time, especially on the creative side. But can we produce the best quality work, in a timeframe that challenges us to eliminate indecision?

So. Not introducing any new technology, apps I won’t use, or lists I won’t fill out. Apparently, my time management is mostly about asking questions. Do I need to be there? Can we not repeat work? And how do we counter indecision in favour of action?

Efficiency, here we come.

——— Ellie Bramah is a former Director of Creative Strategy at NATIONAL Public Relations


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