Saturday, June 13, 2009


Time Management - It's all about focus and flexibility

Even during an economic downturn, organizations struggle with retaining top talent. It's especially difficult when pay increases and salary ranges are frozen. How does an organization offer incentives and rewards to top talent when cash based incentives are not an option?

A trend of offering flexible schedules, four day work weeks, reduced work days and other work-time arrangements seems to be emerging. I've read several articles related to flexibility with time and I decided to post a few of my strategies for dealing with the multiple demands of work and family commitments.

  • Have a routine for getting started in the morning. Routines are necessary to free your mind from having to think about the small details of just getting out the door and to work.

  • Create a focused work environment. This means closing non-essential applications such as Twitter and Facebook. You may have to leave e-mail open and the phone on, as I do, in order to answer important customer related questions, but shut down other non-critical applications. I enjoy Twitter and Facebook and I check them several times throughout the day, but I don't need to know when a friend posts an update at every moment.

  • Try to stay in the productive work zone for at least an hour. Studies show that it can take up to 20 minutes to get back into the zone of really productive work.

  • Write a list of tasks that must be completed during the day. I write my list the night before so I don't forget or have to think about it in the morning.

  • Check e-mail before leaving for work in the morning. This will give you a heads up on important or urgent issues that have to be dealt with first thing.

  • Take a break from work, even during busy times. Go for a walk, practice a hobby, spend time with family, anything that takes your mind off work. This can really free your mind up to be more creative when you do get back to work.

  • Stay positive and try to control anxiety or fear. Fear shuts down the analytic areas of your brain. Staying positive and staying on top of urgent or priority issues will help relieve stress at work.

Here's video podcast episode 4 talking about a few of these items:

Note: I'm still figuring out the format and style for my video podcasts. I want to keep them short. I plan to have more interviews with leading human resources and compensation professionals in the near future. Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts!

Here are some links related to this topic:

"8 Liberating Strategies for Clearing the Queues in Your Life"

On the flip side, things to avoid!
"The 10 worst work habits"

"Key to happiness?"

"Happiness at Work - Does It Matter"

"Work is something you do (duh!)

"What makes a great place to work?"

"What's more important, time or money?"

"How to Motivate Workers in a Downturn: Be Honest, Don't Pander"

"Does Employment Equal Engagement"

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