3 Tips for better Time Management
The term “Time Management” is a misnomer. You can’t actually manage time, you can only manage how your time is spent. A more accurate term would thus be “Self Management”.
Failing to manage how you spend your time at work effectively can lead to undesirable consequences, such as missed deadlines, poor quality of work and higher stress levels.
“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” – William Penn
Let’s look at some tips for better Time (Self) Management:
Determine what your biggest Time Wasters are
I often hear people say that their biggest time waster is dealing with interruptions, like drop-in visitors and telephone interruptions, throughout the day. It has been said that up to 80% of our interruptions can be rated as “little to no value”. Dealing with these effectively can help you save a lot of time (up to 3 hours on average per workday) in the end.
Limiting your phone calls to 1 minute and phoning back at an appropriate time is one strategy you can use to manage interruptions. Scheduling time to meet with drop-in visitors to discuss a specific issue can help limit time wasted on unnecessary chit-chat which can easily eat away at your precious time.
Do a Job-Time Analysis
Take a look at your Job Description and identify your top 10 mission critical tasks. Now ask yourself:
1) How much time, if any, am I actually spending on these tasks?
2) How much time should I be spending on each of these tasks in order to carry out my job successfully?
Now work on closing the gaps. This will help refocus you on what’s important.
We will look at the following 3 strategies that will help you get organised: Clear the clutter, Set Priorities and Manage your E-mails.
Employees spend up to 15% of their day looking for information. Deciding on an effective labelling protocol for your electronic and paper files can go a long way in clearing clutter in your office space, as well as on your electronic device/s. Think filing prefixes, version control and retention period.
In order to help you determine priorities, ask yourself whether something is urgent or whether it is important. Often we get so caught up with urgent matters that we never get to the important stuff. If it is both, it is definitely a priority. To help you stay focused on your priorities you can set goals for yourself. Make sure the goals have a clear deadline to ensure that you schedule time to action them.
When it comes to e-mail, we often get so caught up that we end up spending way too much time on it (up to 30% of our time), which means we are putting ourselves under more time pressure to get the important things done. Try scheduling a few time slots throughout the day where you dedicate yourself to your e-mails. This will help keep your focus on important projects and tasks for the remainder of the day. Another helpful strategy would be to set your e-mail package to open onto your calendar instead of your inbox. This way you can check and stay focused on what needs to get done for the day without getting distracted by mails in your inbox.
We hope you found our tips useful. At the end of the day, Alan Lakein put it best: “What is the best use of my time right now”? Each time you get distracted, just ask yourself this question to get yourself back on track.
Orion Business Solutions presents a two-day Time Management Workshop for those of you who would like to learn more. If you find yourself thinking: “I don’t have time to…”, then you probably need this more than you’re willing to admit. Check out our dates on our Training Calendar.