My 5 top time management tips for busy professionals

Effective time management is one of the most important skills that any professional needs to learn, but any working parent needs to master. I’ve always been good at managing my time, but over the years I’ve unpacked my strategies so I can learn what I do and use those strategies to help others.  

Here are my five top tips:

  1. Take control of your calendar – don’t let other people dictate your priorities! If your role is meeting-heavy, be proactive about blocking out time in your calendar to get your other work done. Otherwise, if it looks like you’re available, chances are someone will book you in for something else.
  2. Set clear and realistic expectations on turnaround times – I give myself a buffer. I usually tell clients that work will take me a few days longer than I really need. That way I have a buffer if something urgent comes up, or I look efficient if I deliver early!
  3. Batch similar tasks. Some people like to schedule their biggest tasks for first thing in the morning. I like to spend the first and last half hour of my day clearing my inbox and task list. Anything that will take less than 5 minutes gets done immediately and ticked off the list. It’s a great way to build momentum, clear the mental clutter and narrow down a priority list for the day.Future tasks – future tasks are one of my favourite features of our practice management software, ContactsLaw. I use them as reminder tasks and make sure that every single matter has at least one future-dated task so no file will ever fall off the radar. These tasks are life changing. I never have to worry that I’ll forget to follow up on something, because I know my task system will remind me at the perfect time.
  4. Prioritise work by its importance, not by how much you like or dislike it. OK, I’m guilty of this one too – no one wants to prioritise work they don’t enjoy, but sometimes that’s just part of being a responsible adult!  
  5. Delegate. Before you start work on a task, ask yourself if you’re really the best person for the job, or is there someone else in the team who could complete the task more efficiently, effectively, or at a lower cost than you, so you can free your time to work on the work that really requires your time and attention.

What would you add to this list?

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