Part of the ‘Management Skills’ Series
The management of your own time is probably one of the most difficult areas of management you have!
The management of your own time is probably one of the most difficult areas of management you have to cope with, good time management has always been an important skill, but it is now essential. Widespread corporate restructure, accelerating change, information overload and the need to balance private and working lives have put the squeeze on us all.
What is time management
It is the awareness of and the control of the amount of time spent on individual work activities, analysing that time and prioritising the more important activities. Activities need to be reorganised to concentrate on those activities which are most important, the skills utilised for this process are for example daily time planning,information handling skills, written and verbal communication skills and delegation, just a few of the essential skills of the modern manager.
How will you benefit from effective time management
- Relieve pressure and stress
- You will be well perceived by your peers and will be differentiated from your less well organised colleagues
- Complete important tasks on time
- Become proactive rather than reactive in your management style
- Deal with problems as they arise
- Achieve a good balance between work and personal life
- Leave the office on time
How to start
Document how your time is spent
Document your activities for a period of 2 weeks to establish how your time is spent, ask
- How much of your activity was planned and how much was unplanned
- Was your planning accurate and were your tasks delivered on time
- How many of your activities could be delegated and how much of your time is currently involved with these tasks
- How often were you interrupted and your attention distracted to another task
- What is YOUR time of day, the time when you can accomplish most.
Set your Objectives and Priorities
Make sure that you are familiar with your job description and with what you should and should not be doing within that job description. Agree your precise role, objectives and targets with both your superiors and subordinates so that everyone knows what is expected of you and put this in writing.
What are your problem areas
- Look at each and every task you undertake and ask, what would happen if I didn’t do this task, what is the benefit of completing this task?
- If the answer is nothing with a difficult to quantify benefit then don’t do it in the future, ditch it!
- If the answer is that people would notice and there is a benefit but it is not critical then ask could someone else could do it, find someone to delegate it to that person but keep check to make sure they are carrying out the task, DO NOT DO IT YOURSELF.
- If the answer is that you are in trouble if it is not done, decide if part or all could be delegated, if it can then delegate it, or part of the task and carry out whatever is remaining yourself.
- Finally, be firm but polite in refusing to do tasks which are not your responsibility
It is important to remember that everything you delegate is still your responsibility, you must monitor the tasks to ensure they are completed on time, to your timetable!
To control your time
Make more constructive use of your time by:
- Map out your activities a week in advance
- Spend 5 minutes each morning reviewing your time plan and adjust it if circumstances change
- Build slack time into your schedule so that you do not constantly over run
- You have already prioritized you tasks, above, remember though managing the delegation of work is still a task and should be in your schedule
- Plan time for relaxation as well as work!
- I will repeat, be firm but polite in refusing to do tasks which are not your responsibility
Dos and Don’ts for effective time management
- Clarify your objectives and targets
- Assess priorities and constantly review them as circumstances change
- Be firm and assertive with unwanted time stealers
- Make sure your time plan is efficient but realistic
- Ensure you make time to play!
- Equate being busy with being efficient