How many times have you heard the old adage – “you cannot save time, all you can do is spend it wisely.”
Using your time wisely may mean relaxing, going to the movies, etc when it’s time to recharge. This particular post is focused on how to best use the time in your workday wisely.
We are constantly bombarded with communication requests
There was a time when we were not inundated with interruptions and overabundant communications. Today we are constantly bombarded by communication requests – ping, another email; bzzz, another text message and odle doodle, a phone call. Each of our multiple devices is vying for our attention, right now. It’s surprising we get any work done at all.
Many times, we feel at day’s end: “I did absolutely nothing today except communicate and most of that was not very constructive.
Gatekeeper of your time
Control your day, be the gatekeeper of your time. Because if you don’t you don’t, your life will go by and all you have is a string of meaningless emails, texts and phone calls.
The good news is that you can control your day. You can be the gatekeeper of your time. If you don’t, your life will fly by leaving you leaving you forgotten strings of meaningless emails, texts and phone calls. Without being Draconian or heavy-handed, I examined this ‘wasted time phenomena.’ I have come up with an outline, a process, a system of how to best use time spent during the working day in a designer’s office. I called it the GATEKEEPER PROCESS. It is a process where you control how to best use your time.
In my office, I control my time using what I call the Gatekeeper Process. This grew out of 50 years in a design office. I had my own personal experience with time management. 35 years of my 50, I managed a team, which produced architectural services. Over the years, I witnessed a lot of wasted time: both mine and my team’s.
A gatekeeper is one who controls who gets in and who does not. The gatekeeper is the judge who gets to pass for maintaining the safety and well being of those inside the gate.
As gatekeeper, you are responsible for who and what gets to you during your workday. By controlling access to your schedule, you can create uninterrupted time for completing your tasks. What follows is a process and framework of how you become the master of your day by being a judicious gatekeeper. This tool got me through the busiest times of my career and gave me time to accomplish many things that would have gone undone other wise. Using this Gatekeeper Process you will create a minimum of one hour each day of constructive time.
Lets calculate time saving benefits:
When you create 1 hour extra each day:
One hour per day = 5 hours per week = 20 hours per month = 240 hours per year
Do you know what you can do with this saved time?
You can convert this time into added production time = extra pay
Or, you can trade this time for additional holidays.
Does this get your attention?
The GATEKEEPER PROCESS
This grew out of my 50 years in a design office. I had my own personal experience with time management, 35 years of those, I managed a team which produces architectural services. I have witnessed a lot of wasted time of my own and my team members.
The GATEKEEPER PROCESS uncovered:
Act I Scene 1
Begin each workday with a personal half-hour planning strategy session:
- ask yourself“ how can I best use the day before me?”
- make a list items to complete on this day – do not make the list too long or you will become frantic and worried about not being able tofinish
- make a list of all necessary phone calls along with the phone numbers and brief notes of what you want the phone call to accomplish
- ask your manager “ is there anything I can do to help you today?”
- ask your manager “do you have any questions about my work as I cando my best work if I’m not interrupted during the day?”
- like wise ask your team members if they have any questions and how you may be able to help them.
- if you manager or team members have involved questions or if they request combined work sessions, set a meeting time during the day.
- if you have meetings scheduled during the day, make note of what you want to ask a the meeting and what you think you can add
Act I Scene 2
Do not answer phone calls, emails or text message until 11:30 am – Act 2 Scene 2
- Set your email so the incoming notic (ping) is turned off
- Same with text messages.
- Set your phone ring to silent
Act II Scene 1
Now that the planning is done and duly noted, GO TO WORK!
- work on one task at a time
- work in half hour blocks of time
- attend scheduled meetings as scheduled
- do your filing as you go – both hardcopy and digital
- keep your work space in order
Act II Scene 2
Take time ½ your before noon and ½ hour before end-of-day to respond to your emails, texts and phone messages. A half hour may not be adequate time, depending upon your position, so set an appropriate amount of time for this task for you. Often by the time you get to responding toyour messages the questions have evaporate and the matter no longer urgent or no longer needs you.
Act III Scene 1
After lunch move forward with your tasks uninterrupted in half hour blocks of time using the same habits as Act II Scene 1
Act III Scene 2
At day’s end make a brief set of notes for the next day. File any items, digital or hardcopy that may not have been completed. Tidy up your workspace so that it’s ready for tomorrow.
Act III Scene 3 denouement
Go to the nearest pub and discuss ways you could better utilize our time at work.
Or you could just talk about the latest hockey scores or the latest political scandal.
If you are young and have a sweet heart go meet him/her with stars in your eyes.
Initially when I introduced the Gatekeeper Process of time management, the team was resistant, complaining that I was interfering with their work habits. You can imagine when I asked them to stop checking the emails, the texts and phone call for 3 hour periods!
Slowly and gently I proceeded along with asking for their input on how time at work best be utilized. As the team got into using the Gatekeeper Process, they began to see the benefits of buying into the system.
Many benefits of implementing the Gatekeeper Process:
1. more deadlines met
2. improved teamcommunication
3. more work completed in less time
4. more productive hours
5. higher profits on most projects
6. employee independence
7. less management time required.
Take your time away from your distractors.
Be the master of your time.
Become your own GATEKEEPER.