Multiplication Center

Time saving tactics at work

December 11, 2009

During our quarterly staff meeting this week, we took some time to share how we can save more time.

Stephanie Plagens, Publications Manager at Leadership Network, kicked off our discussion with things that she learned from a workshop based on Total Workday Control Using Microsoft Outlook by Michael Linenberger. And we pooled together our productivity tips on a white board. Here’s what we came up with, neatly transcribed ::

Time Saving Tactics: Get things done and go home on time!

Plan your work & work your plan — 1 minute of planning can save 10 minutes of doing.

Know Your Work Style

  •     Know how you spend your time currently.
  •     Identify your “prime time”.
  •     Focus on results, not on being busy.

For one week, keep track of how long you think each of your tasks will take you, then record how much time you actually spent on each task.  


  •     Write it down! (either electronically or on paper)
  •     Break big projects into smaller tasks.
  •     Write down the next “action step” on your to do list.

Prioritize so that you spend the most time on the biggest, most important projects. Ask yourself:

  •     What’s due today?
  •     What’s due this week?
  •     What’s due next week?

Spend 10-15 minutes each morning prioritizing your daily tasks.  

Spend 30-60 minutes each Friday planning the next week so you can “hit the ground running” on Monday morning.

Put notes in front of you where you can’t miss them. A clean desk = work is done.

Use a tickler file to remind you of things you need to do in the week ahead.

Use color coded follow-up flags in outlook to categorize emails and mark those for a reply.

Make A, B & C piles (high, medium, low priority) on your desk.  

Use Outlook categories and rules to automatically sort incoming emails.

Use the project calendar to set aside work blocks, and reschedule them if the work isn’t completed in the original timeframe.

Use Google desktop search [to find emails]

Work with someone who’s work style compliments yours.

Use your weekly completed tasks to create your Friday progress report.

Always ask, “What’s the next step?”

Reward yourself for doing the things you don’t want to do (expense reports) with a task that you are excited about.

Keep a pocket list at all times, and use that to create a to-do list once a week.

Balance your work and personal calendars so that you are not trying to do too much.

Write it down so you don’t waste time trying to remember things – and use a system you can tryst trust so that you don’t waste time trying to remember where you wrote things down.


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