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Do You Worker Smarter or Harder? 

Our Swindon business advice column with Gail Gibson
 
Gail Gibson Business Advice Swindon
Whether you are a self employed business owner or you manage an organisation, do you feel that you are working harder than before? Or have you discovered the secret to working smarter instead?
 
Many business owners in the UK work very long hours, some through choice, and others as a result of sheer workload. Some choose to work on weekends in addition to a working week of at least 50 hours. Is this an example of being at your productive best? Or is this an indication of adopting an unhealthy and unfulfilling pattern of work?
 
Time management is one area you read a lot about. But do you actually listen to what is being said and do you practice what is preached? Chances are you focus on what is right in front of you and you simply get on with your own work. 

Is your workload growing in size, are you spending more time at your desk than with your friends and family, and are you losing sleep over not being able to meet deadlines?

Here are seven time management tips to help you get back on track:

1. Set a routine for checking your email. When you leave your email open throughout your working day and keep checking your inbox, what happens? You limit your opportunity to maximise your productivity. It becomes a constant distraction.

Create a routine where you check your email only 3 times per day – when you start work, at midday and when you finish work for the day. Assess what is important, respond accordingly and ignore the rest. 

2. Set goals for the week. Do you achieve everything on your To Do list each day/week? Most people only do what they enjoy and leave the rest for “another day”.

Create a list of 2-3 goals to achieve each week and banish your To Do list forever? This will help you focus on being more productive.

3. Be your productive best. What is your limit to being at your productive best? Is your limit 40 hours or 70 hours per week?

Each person will work to a different set of most productive hours in a week. Each person is different so be aware of your own and others’ limits. 

4. Focus on what is important. What do you tend to favour – urgent or important? The irony is that urgent can wait as important means important and this must be your focus.

5. Attend only effective meetings. This applies to all meetings, whether you meet a colleague in a coffee shop or you participate in a boardroom discussion.

Consider the purpose for each meeting you arrange: what do you wish to achieve from it, how will it benefit you, will it allow you to be at your productive best?

6. Learn to say “No”. Be selective when presented with an opportunity. Explore the short and long term benefits for you and your business.

Take on too much work from too many clients and your message will read “I am always available and you can always depend on me, even if it means I have to work 100 hours per week just to get the work done!”

7. Recharge your batteries. Step away from your business, sleep, exercise, or spend time with your loved ones and friends.

Give yourself permission to recharge your batteries, to re energise your thinking, your focus and return to your business with a renewed boost of confidence and clarity.  
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