Manage your nine to five

Published: 25 Mar 2008

Top tips from Hays Construction & Property

1. Draw up a to-do list

Every evening before you leave compile a list of tasks for the following day. Not only will it ensure that you are more organised and can get through tasks quicker, but it will also help you to switch off as you leave work - knowing exactly what is required for the following day. This should be consulted at the start of every day, with tasks being crossed off as they are completed.

2. Plan your day

Work with your natural peaks and troughs, not against them. Reserve your most important tasks for the times when you are at your physical and mental peak. When you become tired your concentration levels and productivity will decrease, so take a few minutes to relax.

3. Monitor your time

Compile a list of your daily activities and split them into half an hour slots. This will give you a clear idea of how you spend your time. Look at how much time you are spending on routine tasks compared to planning and development. If you are spending the bulk of this on routine matters it's time to move on to the next tip.

4. Delegate

Consider whether you should delegate tasks to others rather than doing them yourself. We are all guilty of thinking it takes longer to teach someone to do something than doing it ourselves, but it is not productive in the long term.

Be sure you assign responsibility to someone with the appropriate skills to do the task and make sure they know exactly what you want them to do and when.

Be available to offer support and advice, but have the flexibility to let them do it in a different way - after all, their ideas may be better than yours!

5. Keep meetings short

Many working days are punctuated by unplanned meetings. When this happens, try to keep colleagues away from your desk so you can leave when you want to. Visit colleagues only when you have more than one issue to discuss, and don't volunteer options unless they are requested or relevant. Equally, don't fall into the trap of sending reams of emails when the problem could be solved with a simple phone call.

6. Be flexible

Our working day is a constant process of receiving new information. Every time you receive information it will change a task's importance. This may push an urgent job off your critical list, so be sure that when you receive new tasks you reassess your list of priorities.

Greg Lettington is director of Hays Construction & Property

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