Very few of us have been born with an understanding of why managing or time is important. It may take years of running around, stressed by having too much to do and so little time in which it is accomplished. Here are a few basic tips to help your lack of time get the best of you.
1. What is your time worth?
a. Especially at work, are you performing tasks that could be accomplished by someone else? Figuring a 40-hour week, working 50 weeks a year at an average wage of $50,000 works out to an hourly wage of $25 per hour. Ask yourself, Can I be doing other things to justify my wages, which will accomplish more of a return on my investment of time.
2. Are you a time-waster?
a. When given a job to do, how much time do you spend figuring out the best approach? There is no question that proper planning saves time in the long run, but a job that should only take two hours to complete should not take two hours to plan.
3. Are there monkeys on your back?
a. If one of reports asks for information, do you offer to look it up for them? By being Mr. Nice Guy, they do not have to do anything until you get back to them. What is wrong with informing them where to find the information and then asking them to get to you to let you know what they found out.
4. When in Charge, do you take Charge?
a. Do you continue to do parts of job your position required before being put in charge? If so, you have not accepted the fact that you are responsible to make sure all those who work under you get their jobs done on time. You have different accountability and must set renewed priorities.
5. Define Priorities
a. Every day begins with a new set of priorities, which can change in an instant if a higher supervisor walks in with his or her own priorities. When establishing your daily “To-Do” list, always make two entries a high priority: Time for planning the day and Contingency time to cover the unexpected.
6. Small Scale Planning
a. When establishing your action plan, make a list of what needs to be done to meet your objective. Go through the list and scratch off anything that can be done when the project is completed. If there are larger tasks to be accomplished, break them down into smaller tasks the same way.
7. Concentrate on Your Strengths
a. How many people do you know who are really good at absolutely everything? Well, neither are you and the sooner you accept there are others who can do certain things better and faster than you can, the easier it will be to delegate jobs to others.
8. Use an Activity Log
a. To determine who and/or what is taking up your time, use an activity log for a week or two and track your day in 15-minute increments. Be sure to write down those times when someone else wants to just sit and chat.
9. Set Effective Goals
a. Do ever set a goal and miss it? We all do because we fail to effectively set goals. For example, you may have a goal to read your new book, but somehow your time gets away from you and you do not do it. Instead of saying, the book will be read by a certain date, set a time each day to read a set number of chapters to help you finish it by that date.
10. Manage Time Effectively
a. Concentrate on the results and not on being busy. Rely on the 80/20 rule as 80 percent of your unfocused energy only produces 20 percent of the results. By focusing on the result, you can realize that 80 percent of the results come from 20 percent of the effort.
Raymond Lee has been in business management for over 20 years and is the owner of the R Howard Agency for management training and development. Visit http://www.rhowardagency.com for more information.