Here is an excerpt from an article written by Elizabeth Grace Saunders for Harvard Business Review and the HBR Blog Network. To read the complete article, check out the wealth of free resources, obtain subscription information, and receive HBR email alerts, please click here.
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You’ve got more to do than could possibly get done with your current work style. You’ve prioritized. You’ve planned. You’ve delegated. You’ve tried to focus. The next frontier is increasing your efficiency so that you can spend less time and still do a good job.
Exactly which strategies will work best for you will vary person-by-person and situation-by-situation. But as a time management coach working with people who need to get more done in less time, I’ve found that employing even one of these five strategies can save you hours each week.
[Here are the first two of five.]
Clarify Actual Expectations
When you take on a significant task, talk with any key stakeholders about what they expect from you. Perhaps they need a PowerPoint deck, or perhaps they don’t. Perhaps they need an A+ job or maybe a B+ will be fine. Perhaps they need a comprehensive plan or maybe just an initial sketch will work.
One of my time coaching clients who works in the finance industry saved days of work when he got clear on the fact that in some instances, all that was needed was enough information to come to a go or no-go decision. Not all situations regarded a thorough in-depth analysis.
By clarifying what’s actually needed and to what level, you can save hours of time deciding what to do and getting tasks done.
Re-Use Previous Material
Your ability to reduce time by reusing and recycling work will vary depending on your particular responsibilities. But where you can, copy, paste, and edit. That could happen with emails, presentations, trainings, proposals, and almost any other type of activity where you’re communicating something very similar.
This strategy has proven most helpful for my coaching clients who give presentations or who teach. When you’re pressed for time, fight the urge to entirely update or overhaul materials, and use something you already have to save hours and deliver the best content. Top speakers tend to give the same speech again and again because practice makes perfect.
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Here is a direct link to the complete article.
Elizabeth Grace Saunders is a time management coach and the founder of Real Life E Time Coaching & Speaking. She is author of How to Invest Your Time Like Money and Divine Time Management. Find out more at www.ScheduleMakeover.com.