Time Management Essentials
“You can be very busy without being effective. What’s important is to learn how to do what matters most.”
- Hyrum W Smith,Chairman and CEO, Franklin Que
Time management skills will increase your productivity and lessen stress because you will gain a feeling of control. Hopefully you will experience increased job satisfaction because you will be achieving realistic outcomes in realistic time frames.
Time Management is about doing what is most important. Time Management skills will help you to prioritize and focus on your work tasks.
10 Strategies for Time Management
- Work out what your goals are, both in your working life and in your personal life. This is important, so write them down. Write down the steps that are needed in achieving those goals.
- Write down all the things you have to get done, in your work life and your home life. Don’t forget to include things which will get you closer to your long term goals.
- Recognize that you can’t get everything done in one sitting. It may be difficult to adjust to, but you will need to learn to set realistic timelines.
- Prioritize! Work out what the most important things are and concentrate on those. Divide your tasks at work into A’s, B’s and C’s for example.
- Do the A’s first. Then the B’s, and realize that if you don’t ever get to the C’s it doesn’t really matter. There are many unimportant activities which we waste valuable time on. Probably no one would notice if we never did them. For example, do you really need to spend an hour getting that letter just right?
- Don’t delay the A’s. Do them when you have the most energy (usually first thing in the day). Don’t do the easy things first – reading correspondence doesn’t take much energy and should be left for lower energy times.
- Concentrate on the long term goals and keep your mind on them.
- Learn to say no. If you are pressed for time you will need to make some hard decisions about how you spend it. Learning the right way to say no is better than promising something that you can’t deliver. Remember that time management is also about preserving yourself – you are of more value to an organization if you are in good shape – not feeling tired, bitter or disgruntled.
- Keep an organized office. No, a messy desk is not the sign of a creative individual! All those files and papers that you leave on your desk to remind you of tasks will only end up distracting you from the task at hand. Your diary and your To Do list should remind you of all the tasks for the day.
- Plan and prioritize regularly. Daily planning isn’t enough, it is too easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and get bogged down in smaller unimportant tasks. Plan your next day before you leave work at the end of the day. Monthly and yearly planning is also a great idea.
Top 10 Timewasters
- No priorities. If you are going to be effective at your job and in your community, then you need to have a plan and stick to it. Prioritize your work each day and start your morning with your hardest task.
- Procrastination. It is a fallacy that people work better under pressure – recall the dangers of procrastination, and learn instead the relief that comes from getting the number one priority out of the way early in the day. Focus on starting the task, it can help to break the project up into smaller pieces and you will feel a sense of relief for each part you finish. Give yourself deadlines and reward yourself when you have completed the task.
- Inability to say no. It is natural to want to help people, but you must be able to say when you feel like you have too much on your plate. Explain to your supervisor your current workload and ask them what task should be dropped before adding another. Ask for help to prioritize what task should be tackled first
- Unwillingness to delegate. You cannot do everything. There are good reasons to delegate including the fact that delegation helps build skills and confidence and gives you more opportunities for further development.
- Perfectionism. Perfectionism is a waste of time, some things simply aren’t worth the time or effort. Work out what things really need to be perfect, and what things don’t.
- Not communicating your work priorities. As a manger you must learn to prioritize, and let others know what your priorities are. People will not value your time if they don’t know that you have already planned your day.
- Share your weekly planner with your supervisor so they know where you are and what you are working on while you are in the office.
- Gatecrashers. Gatecrashers are uninvited visitors who do not have a legitimate reason to be there. Gatecrashers want someone to gossip, complain or get needless advice from. Often they are busy procrastinating their own work and are looking for any distraction. If it is not an urgent issue say “I’m sorry but I’m trying to finish this task but I can set time aside later it’s really important.
- Phone calls and emails. Do not check your Facebook, Twitter or other social media feeds. Avoid the unnecessary distractions. Turn off your cell phone. Establish a time where you will return important phone calls, and leave the calls until that time. Turn off your email and only check for work related messages every couple of hours. (most emails CAN wait a few hours)
- Attempting too much. Learn to estimate your time better and always add at least 20% to your estimate for unexpected surprises.