Time Management

02 Sep , 2020
Time management skills are important because they help you structure your work & personal life in a way that allows you to accomplish goals.
Managing your time well also allows you to have space to be creative and proactive with your goals. When you have a specific time set aside to complete your tasks, you can also allow for time to think about the big picture for yourself and your company.
One challenge most people have in personal and professional relationships is time. Although there are only 24 hours in a day, at some time in our lives, we have all wished for more!
For people who are stressed in life, there is often a connection between feeling overwhelmed and not having enough time. The purpose of this measure is to help you understand how you use time; not to get you more time, but to help you reorganize your priorities so you can make better use of the time you have.

To make better use of your time, you will need to maximize your mental state to become a 'peak performer'. People generally operate in five different states:

Peak Performer State — This is when the person works in a state where life and work are fun and easy. They plan out their life and work to be efficient, so they have life balance. They work on what is of value and what is important to them without being in crisis.
Crisis State — This state is where the person feels they are always responding to what is urgent – crisis management. We need to be able to operate in this state, but when we live in it all the time, life becomes stressful and unfulfilling.
Unbalanced State — In this state, a person feels so overloaded and stressed that they look for distractions. These sometimes lead to addictions, such as food, alcohol, or drugs, as the person tries to control their state by adding a pleasure. The problem is that it works only to improve their state and does nothing to reduce the original stress.
Trivial State — This is a state that people use to balance stress by doing small, trivial tasks, so they feel a sense of accomplishment. They like reading the newspaper cover to cover, and reorganizing to reorganize. The person feels they are 'doing something' daily, but they claim to 'never have enough time'. Someone who reads the paper one hour a day reads a total of seven hours a week. Most peak performers do not allow time to slip through their hands like this. This is not to suggest that reading the paper or doing something like that is wrong, but if they say they have no time for their children . . . then they have just found seven hours each week!
Numb State — This is where the person uses a tool such as TV to tune out the world. The average person spends four hours a day watching TV – 28 hours a week.

Time Management Tips

The Value of Setting Goals
The best place to begin is always the beginning, and that always comes back to goals. We need an effective method to get to the results we want to achieve. Setting goals allows you to focus on the results you want to target.
SMART Goals SMART Goals are goals that are:
    • Specific – Chocolate chip cookies, not just cookies.
    • Measurable – A dozen, not just some.
    • Actionable – We can identify all the steps one must take to bake a dozen cookies.
    • Realistic – We need to have some experience with the skills needed.
    • Time Measured – This evening, not sometime.
Planning Your Time
  • Starting an activity when you’re not sure what you’re supposed to do, making mistakes on a project because you are rushed, wondering where huge chunks of your day have gone – each of these is among the numerous frustrations associated with poor or no planning, and all are huge time wasters.
  • To plan your time, start with a SMART Goal, and keep the following in mind when mapping out the steps that will help you achieve it:
    • Write your plan: it is too easy to get distracted and forget what you had in mind.
    • Generously estimate the time each task will take and give yourself a buffer.
    • Review your plan daily and revise as you progress.
    • Establish how much time you to reach your ultimate SMART Goal.
    • Divide large tasks into smaller, more manageable ones.
    • Tackle the tough jobs first.
Prioritizing Work
  • The main considerations for prioritizing work have to do with comparing the potential consequences of doing or not doing certain activities. One of the simplest ways to prioritize your time is using the A, B, C, D method.
    • A Activities – “Must-do” activities, important and often urgent. If they do not get done, negative and sometimes severe consequences may occur. Such activities include turning in reports to your manager, delivering scheduled presentations, and preparing for and attending important meetings.
    • B Activities – These are tasks that are key to your job success, but may not be urgent (e.g., you may not need to accomplish any or all of them immediately).
    • C Activities – Activities that, if not done, probably will not have short-term consequences that impact job success. These may include reading journals, maintaining computer files, and/or networking with peers.
    • D Activities – Here are the don’t dos. These are tasks you should delegate or distribute. These may include, for example, something on your desk that really belongs to someone else or reorganizing your paper files when they are already organized.
Handling Drop-In Visitors
  • Drop-in visitors can be one of the greatest distractions we face in the workplace. In our client-focused industry, the desire to appear friendly and welcoming to our on-site sponsors and line managers can overwhelm the need for time to complete essential tasks. Below are some techniques that may help reduce the time spent dealing with these visitors without seeming unwelcoming or averse to serving the client.
  • Screen your visitors for urgency, and, if the visit is urgent, tell them you have five minutes before your next appointment. q Stand to greet visitors who enter your area.
  • Rearrange your office so your chair does not face the door.
  • Ask them to walk and talk – while you go to the elevator, to grab coffee, etc.
  • If it becomes clear that you cannot provide them with an answer to their query, refer them to a more qualified source.
  • Be warm and let visitors know you are interested in them, even if you are pressed for time now.
  • Inform visitors that you want to give them your full attention but cannot now.
  • Thank your visitors for respecting your priorities and give them your undivided attention when you do listen to what they have to say or ask.
Managing the Telephone
  • Forward your telephone to voice mail when you need undisturbed time.
  • Tell people the best time to reach you.
  • Train people to be specific when providing and asking for information.
  • Leave detailed voice mails. q Batch telephone messages and make several calls together.
  • Be prepared – jot brief notes on points to cover before making phone calls.
  • Have your calendar handy to schedule or change appointments.
  • Stand when you make phone calls.
  • Project your time with phone calls and monitor their length.
  • Keep socializing to a minimum.
  • If you or the other party is not fully prepared, reschedule.
  • If you are not available, ensure that your outgoing voice mail message details when you will return and provides an alternate contact, if possible.
Managing the Email
  • Get off group lists that are not essential for you.
  • Do not use your peak energy times for email review.
  • When you send an email, make sure the topic is clearly stated in the subject line.
  • Do not email more than a few lines. If you have additional information, send an attachment or make a phone call.
  • Do not send an email where the recipient must scroll back over the trail to get to the primary issue; cut and paste the initial question or problem and summarize the concerns.
  • Clean up your email files no less than once a quarter
Dealing with Unexpected and Crisis Situations
  • It is essential that you create room in your daily and weekly schedule for the unexpected, create back-up plans, and, if you delegate responsibilities, that you establish monitoring mechanisms to oversee their progress.
  • If the crisis is not yours, do not get sucked into someone else’s sense of urgency. When the crisis is yours, consider these five rules:
    1. Take a moment to plan.
    2. Get help if you need it.
    3. Breathe! Make sure you get oxygen in your brain so you can think clearly.
    4. Go back to your plan for the day and revise. Negotiate any deadlines or other activities. Secure any help you need for those tasks that you will be unable to complete.
    5. Evaluate the situation and determine if and/or how it can be avoided in the future.
Successful Meetings Preparation:
  • Make sure the appropriate people are invited.
  • Consider allowing people to attend for portions of the meeting if they are only needed for certain agenda items.
  • Send out an agenda ahead of the meeting time with reminders on specific action steps that the participants agreed to complete.
During the Meeting:
  • Start the meeting on time.
  • Make sure important priorities are addressed first.
  • Decide on a decision-making structure and adhere to it.
  • Re-cap all action items at the end of the meeting and send a follow-up email detailing each item and its deadline.
  • Always encourage leaders to establish ground rules and agendas.
  • Discuss in private with the leader any suggestions you have to help the meeting be more effective.
  • If you determine that you are not essential to the meeting, identify another method to stay in the loop by reviewing minutes or getting an update from another participant.
  • Offer to facilitate the meeting.
Balancing Your Personal and Work Lives
  • Start your day with a few minutes of quiet time.
  • Establish transition rituals that support you in moving from work to home mode.
  • Give up guilt – do not worry about work when you are at home, or home when you are at work.
  • Honestly clarify your priorities and make accommodations.
  • Schedule time for yourself on a weekly basis.
  • When you can, spend time with people who energize you and decrease or eliminate time with people who deplete you.
  • Schedule activities strategically.
  • Make time for regular physical activity.
  • Have ONE planner for home and work.
  • Schedule your family and self-time like any other meeting.
Source Adapted from: Levin, Beth, and Tracy Riddiford. Time Challenged: Participant Workbook. 2001, Our Bizniss Productions

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