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Thread: Time Management

  1. #1
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Time Management

    I have been so swamped lately - it seems that by the time I finish one thing, ten more pop up. I can multi-task fine, but have trouble prioritizing. I have a few things sitting on my desk that I have to do, but keep putting off because there hasn't been much pressure to do them. Thing is they really need to get done.

    I use the task list in outlooks, so I get reminders for the the most pressing things for the day. The three biggest culprits for my time are email, phone, and visitors.

    When I get an email - I respond right away. First of all, I'm sitting here at my computer and see that I have mail. It pains me to not look at it! Plus, I tend to forget about my emails if I don't respond right away.

    Phone - I always just answer it, and return any voice mails by the end of the day. It's quicker for me to answer questions real quick than wait and do them later.

    I do have foot traffic to my office (at least 5 a day that just show up without an appt). I usually just see them and spend the time to get them taken care of. Rarely, if my schedule is real tight, I will tell the secretary that they have to come back or make an appointment.

    Any suggestions? How does everyone else manage their time and priorities?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    Email can really drain your time. I'm the same way in that it's very hard to not check it and respond to it right away, but sometimes you have to stay away from it if you really need to get things done. There have been times when I've closed Outlook all together so I wouldn't get the new email pop-ups. I also have the luxury of closing my door to keep the visitors out.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  3. #3
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    I check email three times a day...in the morning, after lunch, and about an hour before going home. If something is urgent, the person will usually call. I generally answer the phone calls as they come because it generally is less complicated if I do so. Visitors? Well we have an open office with no appointments and we are the City-County Planning Office so traffic is pretty high, but we have two fabulous ladies working the front desk that can deal with 85% of what Joe Public needs.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  4. #4

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    email is hard to evade, but you have to. Phone calls likewise - it is only true that it is less complicated to answer them immediately if you don't have anything to do that requires some focus - you have schedule them. Drop-in visitors are hard to evade in the public sector, but again, you have to make people make appointments. It can be touchy with the "bosses," but unless they want to either hire more planners or hire consultants to do all of the work that takes focus, they have to understand.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    We have call display on our phones. It is the best thing ever. For the most part, if I am busy, I will glance at the phone when I am busy and decide if I am going to answer the phone based on the name or number. I then make a point of calling back after I listened to teh message and gathered the information I need to answer the person, typically saves time.

    Drop ins, due to being in cubilcle land, no one ever gets to my work space, the front desk people have to come get me. If I am busy/under pressure I simply say I am not available. This deos not go over well as there is a culture of entitlement where I work for teh poublic to see you when they want to, I say tough.

    As for emails, the ones that annoy me most are the 5-10 "notices/reminders" I get from HR and other Dept's. I actually get more "SPAM" from official sources then I get emails related to work.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  6. #6
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by donk
    We have call display on our phones. It is the best thing ever. For the most part, if I am busy, I will glance at the phone when I am busy and decide if I am going to answer the phone based on the name or number. I then make a point of calling back after I listened to teh message and gathered the information I need to answer the person, typically saves time.
    I agree completely. Caller ID makes my phone call management much better....plus since we use VOIP, it's all integrated on my laptop for message/call management.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  7. #7
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I check my e-mail no more than once every two hours. (4 times in on a normal work day)

    Personal cell phone is on silent mode while at work, and I return personal phone calls during lunch.

    I make a list of tasks and their importance for each day. Important things get done first. I also have a block of time I schedule to take care of emergencies or urgent things. Things that donít get done on one day become top priority for the next day unless an urgent matter comes up.

    Every day has a house hold chore connected to it. Mon, Wed, Fri I vacuum. Tue, Thus I sweep and mop bathroom and kitchen. Sunday night I do laundry, and so on...
    Invest in the things today, that provide the returns tomorrow.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    I use my outlook calendar to schedule my day and will plan out the following week on Friday. I review each day at te beginning of the day and again at the end of the day to make sure I am on task and have completely my daily tasks and goals. It works pretty well. I have to adjust due to walk in traffic, but the front counter people do a pretty good job and they only need me for maybe 15% of the people who come in. I leave my email open, but only respond a few times a day. Caller ID on the phone is critical.

    The stupid "event reminder" emails we get are the worst, the person who sends them has been added to my spam list and it goes into a specific folder, which usually gets deleted at the end of the day without being opened.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by SW MI Planner
    When I get an email - I respond right away. First of all, I'm sitting here at my computer and see that I have mail. It pains me to not look at it! Plus, I tend to forget about my emails if I don't respond right away.

    Phone - I always just answer it, and return any voice mails by the end of the day. It's quicker for me to answer questions real quick than wait and do them later.
    I check email once first thing in the morning and then after lunch. Anything else can wait till the next morning... I don't get much email work related.

    Phone - If I'm really pressed I will not answer it unless I know who it is. Luckily I have ID (the # only) but I know the few numbers that I have to answer. They will leave a message and you'd be surprised how many phone calls can answer themselves in just a day or three.
    @GigCityPlanner

  10. #10
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    ...I make a list of tasks and their importance for each day. Important things get done first. I also have a block of time I schedule to take care of emergencies or urgent things. Things that donít get done on one day become top priority for the next day unless an urgent matter comes up.

    Every day has a house hold chore connected to it. Mon, Wed, Fri I vacuum. Tue, Thus I sweep and mop bathroom and kitchen. Sunday night I do laundry, and so on...
    Would you marry me? I'm looking to have somebody clean my house and do my laundry.

    Do you also schedule your sex? Wait, never mind. You're an unmarried Catholic.

    NTTAWWT

  11. #11
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake
    Would you marry me? I'm looking to have somebody clean my house and do my laundry.

    Do you also schedule your sex? Wait, never mind. You're an unmarried Catholic.

    NTTAWWT
    RJ is posting from his hot tub again...

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    I highly recommend the book "First Things First" by Stephen Covey. It's one of the habits described in his book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People", another that I highly recommend.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian LadyBuc's avatar
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    I don't plan Jack at home. We're always flying by the seat of our pants. If I feel like doing chores I will. Fat chance somebody else will do it, so I'm sure it will still be there tomorrow. Somehow everything gets done, and I never stress over small stuff. I have learned a long time ago that being a slave to little things will make me a really unhappy camper...
    At work one can't help to plan ahead, unfortunately. But at home it always depends on the mood...
    Bring on Spring Training...

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