3 ways to manage time spent on priority project and strategy work

by Richard Maybury on June 26, 2012

You are juggling operational work with projects, strategy and ambitions every day. You are doing this in your professional work life and your personal life.

That’s 6 dimensions of time management before you even get to differentiating between the competing priorities within each dimension and the inevitable email torrent that swirls around your work life priorities.

That’s why it is important to have a simple, seamless, sustainable system to manage these priorities. Obviously I’d like you to talk with me if you have not already been on our training programmes! My approach is not overly elaborate, nor simplistic sketchiness  – it is just enough to create method out of the madness.

People often ask about the best way to protect and record time spent on critical work during our priority and workload management with Microsoft Outlook training. Here’s 3 ideas for recording your time investments every day.

My own approach is number 3.

  1. Many people find it useful to just enter a number representing the number of minutes or chargeable units at the end of the task subject line before marking it as complete. They can then add up the numbers within their completed tasks list on their daily dashboard and account for a significant proportion of their billable time every day.
  2. Use a Third Party add-on like Qlockwork  which I wrote about here
  3. My own approach is to drag the priority task I am about to work on from my critical Task list into my Calendar within my Outlook daily dashboard.  I then type the word ‘Now’ into the start time area of the calendar item. Obviously, when the task is completed or I have gone as far as I could with it, I open up its Calendar item and type in ‘Now’ into the end time. That gives me an accurate record in my calendar of the time invested in that task. It also gives me the categorisation carried across from the Task form as well as any task related collateral copied or hyperlinked into the Task form. A simple, seamless and sustainable approach.

So what do you think? What approach do you use? Do you want to get in touch with me? I’m keen to hear from you.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Richard Maybury June 27, 2012 at 9:06 am

Thanks Juila. I think of DeskTime as an accountability and commitment management tool. As such it can help individuals and teams to keep on track.

Julia June 27, 2012 at 8:43 am

Really enjoyed this article.

I’m a fan of the third party add-ons. I personally like DeskTime (http://desktime.com), also automatic, but isn’t integrated to Outlook, so it might be more accessible to people who don’t necessarily use Outlook.

Richard Maybury June 26, 2012 at 10:50 am

Hi Laura, glad you like it – Don’t forget to talk about me behind my back!
I did use Qlockwork for some time. Great bit of kit – and a really good ‘Accountability tool’!!!!!
I find the creation of ‘Now Appointments’ from Outlook Tasks to be a better tracking and management tool for priority project work though.

Laura June 26, 2012 at 10:45 am

Thanks Richard, your use of dragging tasks into the calendar and using ‘Now’ – which I never knew was available before – is just great. Using it from today!

Many of the add-ons that I have seen track all activity and can be overwhelming in the information they provide, which is a bit of a ‘Pirate’ as far as I am concerned.

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