Last month I featured an interview with American organization guru Audrey Thomas in which we discussed taming the e-mail monster. This time around, I thought we’d look at some of her other great time management tips. After all, anyone known as Organized Audrey has to know how it’s done!
Audrey tells the story of her first job, in the 1980s, in an insurance office. From 9 to 10 a.m. each morning was Quiet Hour. No phone calls, no chit chat, just quiet concentration. Now of course with e-mail, voicemail etc. it’s pretty hard to maintain that, yet she says one of her best tips for working productively is just that – except she now calls it a Power Hour.
Two or three times a week, set aside a Power Hour. Most people find the first hour of the workday most effective, but it can be any time of the day. The evening before, go through the next day’s tasks and prioritize one that will need the greatest amount of time and concentration. That goes to the top of the list.
When you get to your desk the next morning, do not turn on your e-mail – it is guaranteed you will be distracted and fall down the e-mail rabbit hole. Let your phone go to voicemail. If you have an office with a door, close it.
Sit, work, accomplish.
“My clients are a little skeptical when I first suggest the Power Hour,” says Audrey. “But once they get into the habit they tell me they don’t know how they worked without it!”
Also, as much as we all love to work, it’s important to get up and move around. “Moving around is extremely positive for improving productivity,” she counsels. Do some stretching exercises, take the dog out, walk around the block. It’ll clear your mind.
Lastly, be aware that hunger can be almost as big a distraction as the Internet. Healthy snacks will help you power through that rumbling stomach time and also help your concentration. I personally recommend jujubes!
Are you a home-based agent?
This article appears in Sphere, Travelweek’s monthly e-newsletter for home-based agents.
Subscribe to Sphere, click here.