Since this is subjective, I thought that I'd just toss out the ones that help me the most. All of `em can be found elsewhere, cribbed from "How to do better at time management!" articles, etc. They're just what help me. They may not necessarily help YOU.
i.e. Your Mileage May Vary.
Also, while they're not necessarily a direct and succinct answer to the question at hand, I believe that when used, they contribute overall to improving time-management, which has the direct overall effect of helping me free up some time, to complete those important-yet-not-urgent-tasks.
1.) Train everybody to do your job. Meaning; if you're on a team of 5, and
there's one guy who knows MS Exchange,
one guy who knows LAN, routing, etc.
One girl who knows AD and core MS
Administration and one guy who knows
Linux/Unix, and you're the LAN/router
dude.. Spread your knowledge around.
Maybe the AD girl wants to know how
spanning-tree protocol works. Perhaps
the Exchange guy wants to know how his
packets get from "a" to "b" to "c" and
back. Work with them to get them
trained up on some good basic
knowledge. By doing this, you'll be
more apt to go to them for help when
you're inundated and can't seem to
find the time to get the
small-but-important stuff done such as
documentation and that equipment
refresh projection list to your boss
that he needed, oh, say.. Yesterday.
If you've done a good job training
your peers, then you can ask for, and
expect great help with relabeling
those switchports or verifying SNMP on
your devices and that they're all
plugged into your monitoring system.
That being said, be equally prepared
to learn some of their jobs as well,
and for good reason. It'll help you
understand where they're coming from
and give them the latitude that you
enjoy as well.
2.) Set an `email schedule' for yourself and limit your email checking
to particular times of the day. Say
four or so, if you work in a very,
high-traffic, busy email environment.
Focus on what directly applies to you
and what requires immediate attention.
STICK to the "check email at this
3.) Break tasks up into chunks of short-term time to be spent on them.
I.e. multitask, but don't work too
hard on a single task and get sucked
into it, or burn out. Work on it for
20-30 minutes or so, then move onto
something else. Keeping your interest
piqued is critical to successful
multitasking. it's altogether too easy
for us to get sucked into
troubleshooting WSUS and spending
hours on chasing down one elusive
hex-error code after another.
4.) Take a break every once in a while. Actually get up and walk
around. Get the blood flowing. Go get
some water. Clear your head, (what you
were just directly focusing on) and
think about something else. You'll be
surprised how refreshing this is and
how well and quickly it helps you
focus on the next task at hand.
5.) Check out resources on the internet for Project Management.
There's usually great tips and tricks
in there that directly deal with
questions like yours, along with
general time-management skills. You'd
6.) This is gonna sound weird, but work at being lazy. Learn how to
automate, automate, automate. Don't
waste your time repeating tasks over
and over. Learn how to do it with a
script if you can. I suppose that the
proper way to say this would be, "work
smarter, not harder".
7.) Use a SIMPLE to-do list broken up into daily, weekly and monthly.
Prioritize the tasks in a similar way
by, "critical", "not-critical" and
"long-term". STICK to the list. Update
it, don't let it get stale. Make it
the first thing you do every morning
and the last thing you update before
you leave. This does wonders for
continuity of thought, etc.
8.) If you work in a meeting-heavy organization and you find your time
being taken up by tons upon tons of
pointless meetings each week, use this
philosophy; If invited to a meeting,
does it directly apply to you, or are
you a key stakeholder? If not,
consider how your time could be better
spent. Especially if you get an
emailed summary of the meeting
minutes. Meeting invites usually (in
email) come with, `Accept, Tentative,
Decline' options. Don't be afraid, you
can use them.
When attending a meeting, if there's
no clear agenda or one displayed in
the first five minutes, leave the
meeting immediately. Get out. 9 times
out of ten, it'll ramble on for an
hour or so, with no point. It's the
equivalent of sending a team of people
to the grocery store with no list.
What they come out with will be a
hodgepodge mix of foodstuffs. Much
like what you'll walk out of that
Anyway, again, check out the PM references out there on the internets. They're worth it.