By Craig Lock
I believe the key to effective time management is having
a PLAN. Once you have done that, communicate your plans to others involved
in your life (those nearest and dearest to you), or those people working with
you in business.
SOME HINTS IN TIME MANAGEMENT:
1. Prioritize your goals. Set up the following:
* A weekly plan: Plan for a
week at a time.
* A 'don't forget' list.
* A 'what now'
2. Focus on the important things - the things that really matter
3. Throw out irrelevant bits of paper.
4. No matter what
pressure you are under, try to control your stress level at all
5. Control interruptions (even a 'closed door' policy is not a
6. Don't procrastinate.
7. Prepare a reminder list of
8. Plan to get the routine tasks out of the way as
quickly as possible.
9. Develop routines. Ask yourself this question:
can any (procedures) be eliminated or speeded up?
10. Focus on one
task at a time.
10. Pat yourself on the back each day by
reviewing your accomplishments.
11. Self monitor and self evaluate
your progress on the way to your goals.
12. Set and keep deadlines for
yourself and others (Don't "interrupt" yourself).
13. Learn to say
"no" to others' demands.
14. Slow down for success.
Distinguish the really urgent from the seemingly urgent. Sort out low
priority work. Put it aside for later or eliminate it totally.
Encourage others to get to the point on the telephone or at meetings. Without
being too rude, of course!
Waffle less (I love 'em), yourself!
Respond less formally, but with more speed, eg. a hand-written compliments
slip rather than a typed letter.
18. Make time for yourself to relax;
because this recharges the batteries. I must be running on Dura (not ex) Cells.
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19. Delegate for success. Ask
yourself the question: Is this only something I can do? If not, to whom can
the work be appropriately assigned? Is this person prepared now, or
does he/she need further instruction to complete the
20. Provide clear and realistic expectations. Keep
only the paper you need on your desk (if you are lucky enough to have a
desk, that is!). Clear out irrelevant files. A tidy mind is an effective
mind, but tidy desks are really rarely creative. Thank goodness I have an
21. Communicate clearly to your sub-ordinates
and co-workers. Hard if you are at the bottom of the barrel, like me! Get
messages across clearly the first time.
22. Set aside time to mentally
regroup, to think and to plan. Very important. Review progress regularly to
see which plans are working and which ones aren't. Work with individual
players and set aside time for individuals. Remember everyone is a unique
individual with their own needs.
23. Have direction. Believe in
yourself and what you are trying to accomplish. Review your skills
periodically and pat yourself on the back with your progress to
SELECTING APPROPRIATE TECHNIQUES IN TIME
Note TM is not transcedental meditation as practiced
by those levitating hippies.
No two people approach
TM (time management) in exactly the same way. Identify a few techniques
which work best for you.
There are two groups:
1. The first group
of people focuses on direction
2. in the second are those who
control the pressure in both their work and non work
TIME MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES FOR DIRECTION.
Establishing yearly, six month and three month goals and monitoring them
2. Developing a time scale for certain major
accomplishments and milestones to measure progress.
consistency between personal goals and coaching goals.
4. Planning for
each week with an emphasis on high priority work. Ask yourself firstly, what
is IMPORTANT. Then what is URGENT (eg. answering a ringing
telephone "tring-a-lingo")...and the two are NOT the same.
plans with your colleagues; encouraging feed back and assistance.
Building a filing system based on key activities.
7. Preparing a reminder
list of necessary details and keeping the list with you at all
8. Deciding to complete routine tasks quickly.
sufficient time to complete important projects before deadlines. Continually
monitor the effectiveness of your time.
10. Segmenting (impressive
word) large projects into smaller, more manageable units and using the short
periods of time available during a busy day to work on these
11. Setting and keeping deadlines for yourself and
others using reminders for individuals who tend to be late.
Focusing on one task at a time by mentally establishing successful outcomes
and working back to identify the details that lead there.
out the low-priority work and putting it aside for later or eliminating it
14. Recognizing the importance of delegating work.
Setting limits based on realistic expectations and communicating them to the
team, assistant coaches and parents.
TECHNIQUES FOR CONTROL.
1. Concentrating on controlling demands and
finding time for yourself in the midst of busy daily routines.
being afraid of controlling those demands because of imagined
3. Controlling interruptions honestly by making others
aware of your need for privacy.
4. Preventing procrastination with mental
disciplining cues that encourage starting sooner. Sounds very
5. Patting yourself on the back each day by
6. Organizing your work area to be
comfortable and distraction-free.
7. Avoiding self-interruptions by
locking in with self-directing messages.
8. Writing important details
and developing reminder files with the details for procedures regularly
9. Concentrating on getting messages across clearly the first
time and encouraging others to get to the point on the telephone and at
Sounds like a businessman, my "highly efficient high-powered alter-ego" writing this! Perhaps I'm
a schizophrenic, like my housemate (there's another book).
down the seemingly "urgent" requests by stopping to think before replying.
Take that onboard, Joe!
11. Finding the time for yourself and making it a
part of each day's routine.
12. Responding with less formality and
more speed. "Speedy Gonzalez, why don't you go home?"
aside periods to mentally regroup, to think and plan. I do that on my daily
14. Being sure that important papers can be located
easily and quickly; throwing out irrelevant items. I try to have a big
clear-out of my paper-trail mess from time to time (just ask my housemates!)
I must drive them "cuckoo".
15. Slowing down when you feel pressure and
thinking about your priorities. Develop your own unique program
for managing time. Is it written down? That's a good
Make new habit changes - small rather than major
ones. Monitor yourself; because it's very easy to slip back into old ways.
Focus on your goals and need for control. Periodically analyze your time in
depth. Time charts can identify the source of a specific problem
BELIEVE in yourself. Self confidence is essential for successful
Time Management. If you believe your days cannot be controlled, they won't
be. Believe you are in charge. Remember your past successes, small though
they may be... and not your setbacks. Identify your most
recent accomplishments and give yourself a pat on the back.
lasting habits; because routines reduce stress. Stay in control. Remember
everyone has good and bad days. It's not always rational to explain. You may
feel an imagined slight from a friend, or traffic jams can threaten
your feelings of being in control. Have a positive "I can, I Will"
attitude. With control you increase the likelihood of achieving your personal
and professional goals. All Time Management techniques are related to GOALS
and CONTROL. It's a matter of intelligent time use. Be honest with
yourself (especially about your weaknesses) and try reaching out
Explain your objectives and philosophy to others
(especially your employees if are the boss or manager). They then
know what is expected of them and are far more likely to co-operate with
your aims. Clarify and redefine the organizations objectives. The result:
Enthusiasm is increased. At all times help create conditions for
optimum concentration - both in the home and at work.
"leave me alone" time for 30 minutes each day - for thinking and planning.
Run short to the point meetings with the agenda announced before meetings.
This saves time if people are properly prepared. Encourage your staff
to manage their time. The best way to do this is to set a good example
yourself. Most of your effort should be aimed at helping people reach their
potential. Are you currently realizing yours?
To be successful
believe, really believe in the value of your efforts. Effective management
depends on your willingness to establish direction and create conditions
for optimum performance by your subordinates. Have a vision (a real one)
where you'd like to go, set your goals, then organize the time necessary to
plan strategy to achieve them. Do not expect your employees to change a
great deal.... initially at least. Your changing, growing and preparedness
to learn new ways of doing things will be the best example. Remember,
enthusiasm is contagious.
The art of making time work for
First understand our own attitudes and concepts about
time. Analyze your behavior. Ask yourself: What bad habits do you want to
change? Then take time to change your bad habits. Minimize interruptions
(like unannounced visitors and telephone calls). Improve your powers of
concentration. Delegate effectively.
HOW TO CHANGE BAD
Our lives consist of hundreds, even thousands of habits
that occur automatically or unconsciously every day. Some are good habits
and some are bad habits (eg. drivers always indicating when they make turns,
drivers never indicating when they make turns ("silly old farts/buggers"),
having a drink after work, biting your fingernails, scratching
your 'boom', picking your nose/toenails, etc. Any behavior we respect can
become a habit, irrespective of our intentions, eg. smoking. Even problem
solving, or more particularly our approach to problem solving, can become a
Bad Work Habits and Changing Bad Habits:
Some more (oh
no!): they could be anything from letting work pile up, wasting time,
daydreaming, beginning work each day without a plan (eg. a "to do "list) etc.
can be very habit forming. Not surprisingly, these habits can be
very difficult to change. ERADICATE! (That sounds like a pornographic
word). But change them we MUST...if we are to improve the way we manage our
time... and consequently our lives.
Somerset Maugham is on record as
having said, "the unfortunate thing about this world is that good habits
are so much easier to give up than bad ones". The corollary (what does
that big word, like "earthmover" mean?) is also true, viz/zizz, old habits
are easier to cling to than new ones are to adopt. Writing on the same
subject almost one hundred years ago, the famous American psychologist William James identified three important factors in learning
1. Start off the new habit with enthusiasm and
2. Practice the new habit on every possible occasion
until it becomes a habit, and
3. Start the new habit as soon as
Old habits are not broken overnight, nor new habits put
in place quickly...it takes TIME and we need a plan to change our behavior systematically...and this often involves a great deal of
But IT CAN BE DONE.
DEVELOPING A PLAN TO
1. Define the bad habit you wish to change.
your goal in outcome or result terms.
3. Ensure your outcome or result is
4. List ALL the PROBLEMS of the bad habit.
5. List all
the advantages of adopting the new habit.
6. Enlist others to help and
encourage you in eradicating (nice word) the bad habit.
doing it with positive affirmations. This gives you confidence to change...
and continue improving behaviors.
8. Monitor your performance...use a
graph so that you can see your progress towards your goal.
9. Build in
rewards for successful performance.
A final quotation that I like to
end off this section...
"You cannot run away from a weakness; you must
sometime fight it out or perish; and if that be so, why not now, and where
- Robert Louis Stevenson.
I hope it encourages you to
change your bad habits, as it worked for me.
Manage your time and you
manage your life.
The world has become a complicated
place in which to live. A personal strategic plan can help you get
clarity and focus on your own preferred future. This article shows
you how to create your Personal Strategic Plan.
Prioritizing Your Day To Accomplish More
Prioritizing is a very important function of being organized.
It is another method that puts you in control of your work
responsibilities. In order to effectively prioritize, learn to
recognize the difference between the important, the urgent and
Quiet Time - The Greatest Technique of Time Management
Quiet time is a very effective tool in your workbox. By
committing to quiet time every day, you are being proactive,
and taking control of how to make the best use of your time,
which is a part of being organized.