Lunch and Learn with Lindsay – Issue 75: So much to do, so little time!

 Hands up if you sometimes get to the end of your working day and feel like you haven’t achieved all you wanted to? You feel like you’ve been “fire-fighting” all day? As fast as you’re checking off your “to-do” list you’re adding on other things?

Fact 1️⃣  (to make you feel a bit better) – you’re not alone! As a specialist trainer for the #ExecutiveSupport #EA #PA profession, I know your role can be Challenging (see! It even warrants a capital “C”!!).

With many organisations becoming “leaner” and expecting you to juggle more, you might feel stretched and sometimes overawed by the volume of work you need to get through in a day.

Fact 2️⃣   (to make you feel even better) – you can put into practice great time management skills to help you –  based on the work of Stephen R Covey in his book “The 7 habits of highly successful people” of which I am an advocate! ????

The key to being effective with your time management is to be able to differentiate between

✔what tasks are urgent and
✔what tasks are important.
Urgent tasks are linked to deadlines. Ask yourself “how quickly does this task need to be done❓”

Important tasks are linked to your goals and outcome. Ask yourself “is this task something I need or want to achieve❓”

Now, imagine you have 4 in-trays labelled

1️⃣  High Importance, High Urgency
2️⃣  High Importance, Low Urgency
3️⃣  Low Importance, High Urgency           and
4️⃣  Low Importance, Low Urgency

What tasks would you put in each of these trays?

Below are examples of tasks that might “fit” in the respective in-trays and the relative “actions” you need to take.

1️⃣  High Importance, High Urgency
Crises (eg the fire alarm is going off!)
Your Exec is at your desk asking you to book a taxi/car to the station and wants to leave asap!

Do it! If possible, do the task in such a way that it is unlikely to occur again – or if it does occur again you are able to deal even more efficiently with it. So if your Exec regularly needs last minute transport have the number of the taxi/car company pre-programmed into your phone!

2️⃣  High Importance, Low Urgency
You need to type up the Minutes of the Board Meeting for approval by the Chair by next Friday.  

Your personal development and training and networking.

Action: Schedule it! Ensure you block out time to do these tasks.

3️⃣  Low Importance, High Urgency
Someone is hovering by your desk keen to share their excitement that The Great British Bakeoff is returning to their screen…????????

Action: Spend the right amount of time (relative to how important) these tasks are. Maintain boundaries. Learn to say “no” professionally.

4️⃣  Low Importance, Low Urgency
Examples: Shuffling papers, trivial tasks

Action:  Stop it! ⛔(Or you could save these tasks for any quiet time you have when you’ve caught up with all your other tasks!)


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