Oh, the hideous topic of time management. Remember that this can apply to a whole variety of situations from simply turning up late to meetings to not finishing a task in time or always seeming to rush to meet deadlines. The good news for anyone who suffers from poor time management skills is that there are a number of simple steps you can take to remedy the situation. Truth be told, you can fix the problem.
1. Forget about the horse and buggy
We all need a calendar to help us use and manage our time effectively. Mobile devices today contain some of the best calendars around. Of course you will have some written diary or desk calendar at work but being able to tie in your written list of meetings and activities with those on your digital device means you are better equipped to manage your time. Take advantage of the technology.
2. Think globally, act locally
We all know what this means in terms of saving the environment but the same principle applies when we want to manage our time effectively. Of course we have an overall goal that we will succeed in our job and help the company and boost profits and so on but the way to achieve that is to focus on a daily plan. Forget about the fact that you have a five-year plan to take over the globe and build a magnificent corporation. That will happen if you concentrate on the here and now. If you look after the pennies the pounds will take care of themselves.
3. Learn how to say no
One of the best ways to manage your time more effectively is to establish boundaries. You have a task to complete. Set a time by which you will complete that task. Stick to your timetable. Of course you need to be strong but by setting boundaries and rules and adhering to them, all of a sudden your clear up rate improves out of sight. All of a sudden you become a good time manager.
4. Have practical reminders
If you have to complete a task by a certain time or if you have to go to a meeting at a certain time, set up alarm clocks. Set up reminders whether it’s somebody on your staff who will page you or whether a flag pops up on the screen of your mobile or whatever — set up reminders. It certainly helps if you have easy access to a clock.
5. Keep records
Sometimes we find ourselves doing all sorts of tasks and the with the best of intentions still manage to fail miserably when it comes to time management. Now the late Professor Julius Sumner Miller would ask, why is that so? If you are failing inbasic time management skills you need to know why. Carry out some simple tests. Track the way you work. Keep a diary of how you operate. Did you interrupt a particular task to take a phone call and if so how long did that phone call take? Go back over your journal entries to try and pinpoint the reason or reasons why you are failing at time management. Once you know the problem you can do something about the solution.
6. Are you being distracted?
We preach long and hard to our children about doing their homework effectively by not watching television or listening to their favourite music. But the same principle applies when we go to tackle something in our job. We allow distractions to interrupt our flow of work. Now of course there will always be some form of distraction when it comes to doing your job but are you giving yourself the best possible opportunity to work unimpeded? Is the furniture you use and the lighting you operate conducive to you working effectively? It could be something as simple as a lack of ergonomic furniture or bad lighting which is causing you to fall behind in your work and therefore to fix your time management abilities.
7. Can you draw up a priority list?
One of the reasons why so many people are poor time manages is that they are unable to draw up a list of the tasks they need to do and then list them in order of priority. One of the ways you can organize the list is along the lines of either you doing the task or you delegating the task. If you become good at that simple task, that is knowing when to delegate and went to tackle the job itself, you will immediately improve your time management skills.