How Do You Spend Your Time?
By Clare Evans
If you’re not sure where all your time disappears, keep a log of your time for a week or so. Make a note of everything you do through your normal working day.
Include work and personal time, from when you wake up, how long you take for meals (too much, too little?) until you go to bed. There are no right or wrong answers, at this stage you’re just getting an idea of where your time goes.
Now, complete the following questions to see where you are spending your time in the course of a normal working week.
• When do you plan what you’re going to do… today, this week, this month?
• How do you prioritise your tasks or do you do them as they come up?
• Do you usually finish what you planned to do each day?
• How much of your time is spent dealing with crises or unexpected matters?
• How do you manage interruptions from upsetting your work?
• How much time each day do you spend on paperwork?
• What proportion of your time spent at meetings is productive?
• When in the day/week do you get interrupted most?
• When in the day/week do you get interrupted least?
• Do you choose how to use your time, or do other people manage your time?
• Are you able to say “No” to your colleagues/boss?
• What tasks do you tend to delay or put off?
• What tasks do you tend to avoid completely?
• When is your most/least productive time of day?
If you had another hour every day, what would you do with it? What can you change about your current work pattern work to gain an extra hour in your day?
Look at how and where you’re spending your time and decide what changes you need to make in order to use your time more effectively.
Could you get up an hour earlier or go to bed an hour later?
Spend a few minutes at the beginning of each day to plan your working day and you’ll be able to get more done and be more productive. Look at where you potentially ‘waste’ time and decide what you can do to change it.
Make sure you’re getting enough breaks during the day. It’s all very well working hard but how productive is that working time? If you're getting tired, you won't be as effective, take frequent breaks.
In order to make the most effective use of your time you need to make sure that you're focusing on what's important. Prioritise your tasks and actions in order of importance or urgency. Ensure you spend most of your time focusing on the important to avoid them becoming urgent later on. Get the high priority tasks done first and break larger tasks down into smaller ones.
Copyright 2007: Clare Evans
About the Author:
Clare works with individuals and small business owners to enable them to plan and organise their time more effectively. Learn how to prioritise, plan and delegate, organise your perfect life, organise it effectively and enjoy the process. Spend your time doing what matters and stop worrying about the things that don't.
Sign-up for her free monthly newsletter at www.clareevans.co.uk or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and receive free tips on managing your time.