In my learning today was the following top tips, which I thought were useful enough to share with others (so I have mostly cut'n'paste them out)
# Avoid instant messaging interruptions - use privacy options to tailor those who can see you
# Avoid instant messaging unless real-time interaction will truly add value to the communication. A one-minute interruption of your colleagues will cost them ten minutes of productivity as they reestablish their mental context and get back into "flow".
# Work with your team/manager to ensure back-up plans are in place for coverage should emergencies arise.
# Set boundaries:
* Establish your work hours
* Discuss your needs with household members
* Manage interruptions
* Stay out of the kitchen
* Minimize household multi-tasking
* End your workday
* Resist the temptation to just "check in" after hours
# Don't check you email all the time.
* Set aside special breaks between bigger projects to handle email.
* Don't let email interrupt your projects and don't let the computer dictate your priorities.
* Turn off you emails programs "Biff" feature (this is the annoying bell or screen flash that notifies you every time an email message arrives).
# Spend 5 minutes of quality "think" time at the beginning and the ending of each day.
* At the beginning prioritize what you must do and then what you want to do.
* Evaluate what you did an carry over what are the first priorities for the next day.
# Make the most of your 'discretionary time'. Allow uninterrupted 'THINK' time.
# Set a goal to control at least 2 hours of your day - block out realistic time to handle e-mail, answer calls, and complete tasks.
# If often helps to map out how much time you actually have for 'real work' - only take on tasks that map to business and team priorities.
# Do things once than automate
* Consider an FAQ, a wiki, teamroom, etc.
* Set up Quick Responses in IM
* Use programmable buttons to type information that is typed repetitively.
# Put information you are routinely asked for in your closing (i.e., admin info, URL's, phone, timezone, etc).
# Use stationary for groups whom you regularly communicate the same information.
# Only have your laptop open and visible when you are engaging in it - checking email every 5 minutes is inefficient (sit down during designated times and clear the Inbox). It will distract from your attention to meetings, for think time and during discussions with others.
# When you're busy or you need to really concentrate on a particular task, let your voice mail pick up messages.
# If your e-mail program is set to ring a bell or other noise to signal new messages, turn this off.
# Avoid multitasking. It might seem that you're getting more work done if you do two or three things at once, but you will be more productive and produce higher quality work if you give your undivided attention to one task at a time.
# Set priorities and deadlines. Figure out which tasks are most important and do these first. Make to-do lists each day or week and re-prioritize as circumstances change.
# Set a time limit on tasks you dislike doing. The task will seem less overwhelming if you know you will stop at a certain time.
# Do quick tasks right away. If you notice that something needs to be picked up or dropped off or you need to make a five-minute call, do it right away.
# Get organized.
I am a culprit of so many bad habits, and when I think of getting a good work-life balance is more about trying to get in more work and not effecting my life! However that is slightly skewed and I just need to get my work done more in the time it is allocated. For most occasions it doesn't need more hours it just needs more focus. Somehow life manages to eat up all the time it needs and if it doesn't fit it doesn't get done and somehow it can queue up. Although Mrs Stretch doesn't necessarily agree with that approach!
The weekend was a success and I think that can be quantified by the fact that Nan enjoyed her birthday party. Nan is can have a grumble like any lady of her generation can and having endured 90 years of life, I think she can find plenty to grumble about. However she doesn't moan that much that I am aware of, I think her kids probably disagree with that. I think as a grandchild, I can have rose-tinted glasses on when it comes to my Nan - and no-one can deny me that.