TEN TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE TIME MANAGEMENT
There is a constant pressure to be more productive. “Time management” – which refers to the process of making the most productive use of a person’s time – is particularly important today as many people find themselves performing a multitude of different jobs during the course of a single day due to corporate downsizing. Yet, while those same people spend their days in a frenzy of activity, they often marvel at how little they actually accomplish. If this sounds like you, then the following “time management” strategies can help you increase your productivity and stay cool and collected.
The first step is to realize that time management is really a misnomer. No matter how organized you are, there is ever only 24 hours in a day. All you can actually manage is yourself and what you do with the time that you have. Actually time management is really self-management. So how do you manage yourself better? Here are some tips:
1. Find your time bandits.
Where are you wasting time? If you already know time wasters, save some time and skip this tip. If you’re not sure, this tip is important. Many people fall prey to time-wasters that rob time that could be used more productively. Major time wasters include net surfing, reading email, and making personal calls. What are your time-bandits? Spend a week tracking your activities to form an accurate picture of what you actually do. This is the first step to effective “time management.”
2. Set goals.
Remember, time management is actually about changing your behaviors, not changing time. Now that you’ve identified your Time Bandits, set a goal to eliminate one personal time-waster for a week. For example, if personal calls is your time bandit, set a goal that you’re not going to take personal phone calls at work for a week.
3. Track your behavior.
To change your behaviors over time to achieve whatever goal you’ve set for yourself, you need to not only set specific goals, but then track them over time to see whether or not you’re accomplishing them. While this takes more time at first, you more than make up the time by keeping yourself accountable.
4. Invest in time management tools.
The first step to physically managing your time is to know where it’s going now and planning how you’re going to spend your time in the future. Software programs allow you to schedule events easily and set reminders in advance of events.
Before you start your day, prioritize the tasks for that day and set your performance benchmarks. If you have 20 tasks for a given day, how many of them do you truly need to accomplish?
6. Learn to delegate and/or outsource.
Most times, it does not make financial sense to be a one-person show. For effective time management, it often makes most sense to let other people carry some of the load. Consider the value of your time (your personal Return on Investment) and then calculate how much it would cost if you outsourced or delegated it to someone else. If it is more cost-effective to let someone else do it, then outsource it. For example, if your hourly rate is $100 and you are spending time typing reports which you could outsource to someone who is paid $15.00 per hour, then you are actually saving $85.00 per hour and ensuring that you have the time to do those things that truly do require your expertise.
7. Establish routines and stick to them as much as possible.
While crises will arise, you’ll be much more productive if you can follow routines most of the time.
8. Set time limits for time-consuming tasks.
For example, reading and answering email can consume whole days if you let it. Instead, set a limit of one hour a day for this task and stick to it.
9. Set up systems.
To manage time better, manage your systems better. Take the time to organize a file management system. The goal is to be able to lay your hands on what you need within moments. If clutter is really your big problem, hire someone to help you de-clutter.
10. Don’t waste time waiting.
From client meetings to dentist appointments, it’s impossible to avoid waiting for someone or something. Don’t just sit there. Always have something to do with you, such as a report you need to read, a checkbook that needs to be balanced, or a blank pad of paper you can use to plan your next marketing campaign. Technology has made it easier to work anywhere.
Don’t miss ten more time management tips next week!
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“When you waste a moment, you have killed it in a sense, squandering an irreplaceable opportunity. But when you use the moment properly, filling it with purpose and productivity, it lives on forever.”
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson
© 2010 – 2011, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.