Maximize, Manage and Prioritize Your Time

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 2:28 PM | Nicole Davidheiser
Recap of WBOC January Program with Diana Wolgemuth
by Dr. Christine Allen

It’s the New Year and we are all full of personal and professional resolutions. Thus it was a perfect time for WBOC to bring in Diana Wolgemuth, a dynamic speaker and Director of Professional Development for Dale Carnegie CNY, to help us to improve our time management skills!


Women entrepreneurs in particular need help with managing our time, because we often are juggling multiple priorities (e.g., a job in addition to a business, running a household and a business, and sometimes even owning multiple businesses). Diana reminded us that although everyone gets the same number of minutes in each day, some people are continuously more productive and successful than others.  What makes the difference? Here are some key tips:

  • Do Your Activities Support Our Mission?  

Our mission is critical. Have you developed your personal and business mission? It will be much easier to choose priorities wisely if you know what your mission is.

Diana recommended that we track our activities in 30-minute increments, writing down every activity. By doing this diligently for a couple of days, we can tell how much of our time is spent on mission critical tasks. When you are more aware of what you are spending your time on, you will make better decisions in the future on how to best spend your time!

  • Are You Vulnerable to the Tyranny of the Urgent?

Diana divided tasks into four baskets:

  1. Important and Urgent (crises, deadlines, meetings)
  2. Important and Not Urgent (Vision/Mission, planning, research, relationships, writing, process improvements, managing relationships)
  3. Not Important and Urgent (phone calls, interruptions, email, voice mail, drop ins)
  4. Not Important and Not Urgent (trivia, internet surfing/shopping, games, escapes, junk mail, busy work)

Diana says that when we spend most of our time on activities in basket #1, we can feel burnt out. On the other hand, when we spend most of our time on activities in basket #2, we feel we are getting somewhere!

  • What are Your “Time Robbers” and Obstacles to Effective Time Management?

Diana helped us to hone in on things that sabotage our efforts to getting things done. She discussed external factors, such as demands from home, being ill, required paper work, etc. These are not always in our control.

Then, there are the self-generated factors, such as procrastination, distraction, poor planning, disorganization, socializing, etc. that are more or less in our power and control. These areas can become the focus of our improvement strategies.

  • Some Tools for Effective Time Management
  1. The Time Log- Again, this can be a good starting place for learning to manage your time more effectively.
  2. Block Time—Set aside literal blocks of time for particular tasks (very effective to write specific tasks and time periods in your calendar).
  3. Batching tasks—String together tasks that are similar and that can be quickly completed, e.g., voice mail and email or even household tasks such as shopping and running errands.
  4. Create a Priority List instead of or in addition to a To Do List—this will help you get the most important work done first
  5. Delegate!—Many participants acknowledged that they don’t delegate enough and most want to do it more often and more effectively in 2016!
  •  4 Work Habits That Can Help!
  1. De-clutter your workspace—Diana reminded us that a cluttered space can equal a cluttered mind!
  2. Live in “day-tight compartments”—This is a wonderful concept. Diana says that we need to stay in today and get done what we can, letting go of regrets from yesterday and worrying about the future. 
  3. Don’t overcommit!—Say “no” without feeling the need to give an explanation. (REALLY!)
  4. Do the hardest thing first! (This really does help!)
  • Tips for email and voice mail.

Some key ones that Diana suggests are:

  1. Consider calling instead of email (especially when you share a common location).
  2. Keep email and voicemail short (I need to work on this!)
  3. Put a descriptive subject in your emails (such as “Draft of blog post for WBOC”).
  4. Make sure you have contact information under your signature.
  5. Always use spell check!
  6. With voice mail, leave your name and phone number at the beginning AND the end of your message and say them slowly. (This is brilliant really).
  7. Use email to set up a phone call.
Hopefully, if you missed the January training, "Maximize, Manage and Prioritize Your Time", this summary of tips from Diana Wolgemuth's wonderful presentation will give you the essentials for jumpstarting your time management re-boot for 2016! Remember we all have the same amount of time - it's how we use it that matters.

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Cicero, New York 13039
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* Check Program details to confirm location of meeting.

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