Effective Time Management
by Duncan Brodie
Many of us remember the days when it was claimed that computers and other technological advances would give us so much more time. The reality is that all these gadgets have in many ways made it more difficult to manage our time. In the past we had letters and phone calls to respond to. Now we also have e-mails and text messages where people seem to expect instant responses. So given all of these challenges, how can you effectively manage your time?
1. Be clear on what your overall aim or deliverables are in your role and don't lose sight of this big picture view
2. Each day and week, take the time to determine what is important, what is not important, what is urgent and what is not urgent. In doing this remember to keep asking yourself whether a particular task is moving you toward or away from your overall aim
3. Recognise that many things that are urgent are highly visible and get your attention like a new e-mail may not be that important
4. Remember that activities that fall into the important but not urgent category are of key importance. These are the activities where you build foundations for the future through things like working on business plans, relationship building, making time for staff reviews, etc
5. Keep a diary of where you spend your time during the working day. When I worked in professional services, it sometimes felt like a bind accounting for every 15 minutes of the day but it certainly made it very visible to you where time was going
6. Use the information on where you are spending your time to set goals around changes you want to make
7. Track your success in making changes to how you are using your time
8. Set up appointments in your calendar for things like checking e-mails and returning calls
9. Review what meetings you go to and determine if there are some that could be delegated to someone else
10. Build some time into your schedule for the unexpected as it will arise from time to time
While managing your time is not always easy, taking control is a vital first step.
Duncan Brodie may be contacted at http://www.goalsandachievements.co.uk
Duncan Brodie of Goals and Achievements Ltd (G&A) works with individuals, teams and organisations to develop their management and leadership capability. Sign up for his free e-course and monthly newsletter at http://www.goalsandachievements.co.uk