How often do we hear the phrases “I don’t have enough time” or “There’s too much to be done and not enough time to do everything”? These are common sayings used by many people who are frustrated at what seemingly is an Everest of work to climb every day. It is particularly true for someone who is new to a job, who can only see everything as having a high priority and needs to be done today. So what advice can be offered?
Firstly, we need to understand a little about time management. Whether we like it or not, time in an organisation is constant and irreversible. To be effective, time needs to be effectively managed to be effective.
The first step that most people need to do is to analyse how they spend their time and implement a few time saving methods.
In an analysis of time management, these are some of the biggest time wasters:
- Indecision and procrastination
- Creating inefficiencies by implementing first instead of analysing first
- Crisis management – seeing everything as having a high priority and having to be done now
- Doing urgent rather than important tasks
- Lacking priorities, standards, policies and procedures
What advice can we offer? The following are examples of time savers.
- Concentrating on one task at a time
- Establishing daily, short-term, mid-term and long-term priorities
- Establishing personal deadlines and ones for the organisation
- Getting rid of ‘busy’ work
- Ensuring time is set aside to accomplish high priority tasks
- Using checklists and To-Do lists
- Setting aside time for reflection
A simple time management plan should incorporate the following:
- Get started – procrastination is a classic time waster
- Get into a routine – use a diary, planning calendar etc & stick to it. There are some ‘planners’ on the net which may prove useful. Try a few until you find one that suits your style.
- Do not say yes to too many things – learn to say no graciously.
- Do not commit to unimportant activities.
- Divide large tasks – by creating small, manageable tasks, the entire task will eventually be completed
- Deal with it once and for all – either deal with it right away or decide when to deal with it
- Do not put unneeded effort into a project – save the perfectionism for the tasks that need it
- Set start and stop time – challenge the theory that work expands to fill the allotted time
- Plan your activities – schedule a regular time to plan your activities