You’re here because, like many people, you’re not satisfied with how you spend your time and how you manage your meetings. Perhaps you’re missing important deadlines or you find yourself working late nights as those deadlines draw near. Here are seven time and meeting management tips to maximize your productivity in 2019.
Time Management Tips for 2019
Tip #1: Set Clear Goals
Without a goal, you lack focus. Goals give you a clear destination, something you can organize your time and other resources around. They enable you to know what you need to spend time on and to identify distractions that you need to avoid.
Start by setting long term goals (5+ years) and then set medium term goals (1-5 years). Finally, break down your medium-term goals into one-year, six-month, one-month, and even one-week goals. Your goals for the week will guide you on what to have in your daily to-do list.
Tip #2: Prioritize Your Tasks
Prioritizing is key pillar of time management.
It’s not always obvious which tasks you should complete first as they all have varying degrees of importance and urgency. That’s why it is important to have clear goals.
To figure out which tasks to tackle first, ask yourself how a particular task serves your goals. If you’re overwhelmed, find out which tasks you can delegate or eliminate with minimum or no impact to your goals. Start with the most important task every day.
Tip #3: Deal with Distractions Proactively
Distractions range from social media, talking to friends on the phone, responding to emails, and so on. As long as an activity interferes with your productivity, it’s a distraction, no matter how important it seems to be. Once you prioritize your tasks and set up a schedule to complete, avoid anything that will prevent you from sticking to it.
We’re all distracted by different things, but there are some common distractions that plague us all. The best way to deal with distractions is to take a proactive approach rather than trying to use your limited willpower. Identify your distractions and decide in advance how you’re going to deal with them when they emerge.
Tip #4: Say “No”
One of the things that all high achievers in human history—including presidents and business leaders—have in common is their ability to say “no”: to anything that doesn’t support their most important goals. Doing so can be difficult especially when it comes to things that seem important or pleasurable. But keep in mind you only have 24 hours in a day.
A good way to think about this is to realize that there are countless good things that you’re going to miss out on anyway, for example skills or recreational activities. So if you say “no” to some of these things, your “yes” counts even more.
Meeting Management Tips for 2019
Tip #5: Have Clear Objective
What’s the purpose of the meeting? Is it to make a decision, gather information, or brainstorming? Maybe you need to do all these things in the meeting. If you don’t know what you want to achieve, you won’t know if the meeting was a success or failure. All successful meetings have a concrete agenda geared toward a clear goal.
Avoid having meetings for the sake of having meetings. If the meeting has no ultimate goal, it’s just a social gathering.
All productive business activities are goal-oriented. Just like with time-management, starting a meeting with a goal in mind ensures its success.
Tip #6: Make Proper Preparations
Preparation is essential to success, and it’s not different for meetings. All participants of the meeting should be prepared for the meeting. Provide them with an agenda that includes the following:
- The objective of the meeting
- Topics to be discussed
- List of attendants
- Time and location
- Necessary background information
An agenda will not only help your participants but also yourself to be prepared for the meeting. Being prepared means that if you present information or an idea and someone asks a follow up question, you will have an answer to it.
Tip #7: Invite Fewer People
Before inviting someone to a meeting, ask yourself whether the meeting can still be a success without that person. If so, don’t invite them. If the only reason for their attendance would be to know what was discussed in the meeting and the resulting decision, email them a summary of the meeting.
Keep in mind that decision-making, not information-sharing, is the main purpose of meetings, so keep the attendee list to a minimum. Invite only people that will make relevant contributions.
Be Proactive About Planning Your Time and Meetings
Proper time and meeting management comes down to having clear goals and being deliberate about allocating your time and resources. Once you have a plan, only pay attention to things and people that support those goals.