Stress & Time Management

by cdsglobal on February 5, 2014
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As a new year starts there are always an inundation of advice about how to set goals, reduce stress and manage time more effectively. Yet they all seem to focus on personal goals: running more, reading more, focusing more etc etc.

What about a business such as an Agency: how can we apply those principles advocated in self-help blog posts and articles in helping your booking team get more out of their jobs and systems? At cDs we created a booking software that manages complex diaries and schedules for a fast-paced industry. This insight makes us more aware than any other provider about the pressure our clients are under with their time, attention and stress levels.

This is how to use some of the insight from other industries in our own:

  1. Identify goals (think SMART: Specific (an exact goal or end point), Measurable (how you will know when the goal is achieved), Actionable (what steps do you need to do), Realistic (can you with your skill set and resources achieve what you are trying to do in the time you have allocated) and finally Time (the end date).)
  2. Prioritize (if things come up, assess where it ranks in priority and add them to the gaps in your schedule)
  3. Schedule (Create blocks of time to implement your strategy and tasks, as well as gaps to fill with the inevitable interruptions that come up- and if something doesn’t come up then start work on a secondary priority)
  4. Communicate (Let your team know that if your headphones are on, or a little flag is up on your monitor you are not to be disturbed for half an hour or whatever your work block is- just remember to take it down once the time is over, otherwise people will start to disregard it)
  5. Rinse and Repeat (I believe technically this is called Execute– but you’re worth it! At the end of the day list all you have achieved and then determine what the plan is for the next day)
  6. Streamline aka Cut corners (Technology helps us achieve so much more then ever before, but only if we understand it and keep up to date)

As our clients there are ways we can help you with the streamlined execution- we recently introduced several time-saving shortcuts to your software and there are other quick ways to keep on track once the company goals are set and the individual team members understand the priorities. Use something like:  idonethis to keep the team reporting back. At the end of the day they complete what they have achieved. To help keep focus there are apps like Focus Booster which is a ticking sound that works like white noise and counts down for 25 minutes while you work on a task. Once the bell rings- stop immediately, take a 5 minute break- grab a cup of tea, look around and then you’re ready for the next task in your schedule.

Keep it going: Everyone is busy and touching base with everyone is time-consuming but this is possible with morning stand-up meetings which are popular with fast-paced project management teams.  Grab a cup of coffee, everyone stands up (helps keep it short) and takes it in turn to say what they are working on, have completed and are struggling with. Having completed their “idonethis” list the night before can help them remember what that is.  This communication technique helps keep the energy high and as long as the playing field is fair a little competition and co-operation can boost morale and accountability.

Awesome resources where you can read lots of top advice on keeping focused and being effective:

http://www.reallifee.com/why-being-happier-helps-you-manage-your-time

http://www.davecheong.com/2006/08/14/18-ways-to-stay-focused-at-work/

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/219553