What are your best time management techniques?
In most careers, time management is of paramount importance. As your time is a finite resource, scheduling your work in order to stay within budget, within scope and within the deadline can be a gruesome process that often results in sleepless nights and long working hours. How do you do it?
Every person has its own way for time management and skills. It also depends upon the professional background and experience and accordingly, you have to adopt the time and skills out of 24 hours. I did whatever had to be done and that was my priorities and postpone the things which can be delayed---not be a compulsive in things which are not important. Priorities should be the back bone for the time management. Pradeep Berry
I personally love outlines and writing down exactly what I need to get done everyday. I will figure those tasks out by greatest priority first and also how long I presume each to take. I will schedule in more time on each just to be safe. If I finish early then possibly ill dig in to my tasks for the next day or just enough my free time! Organization is key and personally, writing things down and crossing them off once they are complete is a great feeling!
Some simple steps help as follows:
1. Plan your day into slots for each type of activity, transactional, communication with internal and external customers/partners, meetings and review/planning. This ensures that you cover all areas which are important as well as urgent, tactical, strategic and routine.
2. Never overload your plan....make sure you keep reallistic targets and stay on top.
3. Be outcome focused....don't spend time as planned if task can be completed in less time.
4. Use slack time available to execute tasks planned for a later. .
5. Keep hard stop as more time doesn't assure results or quality.
6. Delegate and involve people.....do not try to do everything yourself. Work should be done at the lowest level where competence is adequate for the task.
I find that if I cut out one thing a day or take half hour off something and I don't notice, then I keep it that way, also putting a finish time on meeting invites is a great time saver, it tends to focus people attention!
I don't believe you can manage time. I only believe you can manage people. So, instead I look at my Return on Time Invested. Each day I do these three things:
1. Only have 3 priority items to get done that will ring my cash register
2. Work on the things that take my true energy and focus first thing in the am
3. Make sure I work in 90 minute blocks completely interruption free - no phones, no email, no distractions
4. Then I take 15-20 minute physical breaks from work
5. Pre-schedule everything on my calendar
6. Ask myself: is this really important to help me/my company reach our financial goals? And if not, don't do it
7. Ask myself: Does this task take me or my brilliance or can it be dumped or delegated?
8. And never ever touch the same paper or email more than once
Hope this helps.
I have a multitude of techniques but the best is List everything down and priortise the list from Urgent to None Urgent ! and keep transferring the tasks that you have not actioned to the following day and make sure you do it the following day.
Also SET GOALS!
State each goal as a positive statement - Express your goals positively “I will reduce my expenses by 10% this year", not "I would like to reduce my expenses by 10% this year."
Be precise: Set precise goals, putting in dates, times and amounts so that you can measure achievement. If you do this, you'll know exactly when you have achieved the goal, and can take complete satisfaction from having achieved it.
Set priorities - When you have several goals, give each a priority. This helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by having too many goals, and helps to direct your attention to the most important ones.
Write goals down - This crystallizes them and gives them more force.
Set performance goals, not outcome goals - You should take care to set goals over which you have as much control as possible. It can be quite dispiriting to fail to achieve a personal goal for reasons beyond your control! (In business, these reasons could be bad business environments or unexpected effects of government policy)
If you base your goals on personal performance, then you can keep control over the achievement of your goals, and draw satisfaction from them.
Set realistic goals - It's important to set goals that you can achieve. Other people can set unrealistic goals for you. They will often do this in ignorance of your own desires and ambitions.
I use six sigma principles - focus on CRITICAL things only - hence time management, resources optimisation, budget control etc become easier and manageable
Even if a non critical activity becomes critical, it can happen due to many factors, handle that, do course correction and make it non critical again
The biggest loss of useful work time comes from refocussing after being interrupted by a new email, so..
1) Turn off *ALL* your email alerts...
2) ...then set aside time to check/manage email...
3) ...and then change your email signature to inform people as to the response-time they can expect from you (or if it's urgent they should phone).
I use Google Calendar to manage my time and Wrike project management tools to organize my tasks.
I actually wrote my time management techniques in a novel form called: TimePeace: Making peace with time. It's a great and fun way to explore difference time management techniques. We follow our hero, Dereck Wilde (an investigating reporter) as he tried to uncover the dirty little secrets of the TimePeace Institute.
I also have an online eCourse called 10 Hidden Time Wasters.
(For more information on that book: http://www.lauraleerose.com/timepeace-making-peace-time-2/. For more information on online course: https://www.udemy.com/10-hidden-time-wasters)
There are two skills to master to be successful. This is advice I was given early in my career. Those skills are time management and communication. There is not a simple answer to your question. What I will say is mastering a to do list is step one. Make sure your to do list is realistic and not a wish list. Schedule time each day for planning, sleep and interruptions. All will occur every day. The other step with a to do list, is PTE, Pure Time Estimate. How long will it take to complet the task you list, uninterrupted. Do that for each task, and add the total. Cannot be over 24. this will give you a start.
The best technique for time management is to prioritize.
Allocate a specified number of hours each day for each task on a spreadsheet at the beginning of the week. Be sure to include the routine activities like email, social media time and other stuff. Complete the small tasks and always do some part of the big tasks until it is completed. At the end of each day review the spreadsheet and note your completions and if necessary adjust the following day's allocated tasks. The spreadsheet management should not take more than a few minutes at the end of each day.
Focus on one task, organize your desk, answer important emails first, and prioritize tasks.
The best and simplest thing to do is to prioritize your workload. Use four categories: Now, Soon, Later, Sometime.
Time management is all about being more productive.
To be great in time management you need to
1) Be proactive.
2) Be a good communicator.
3) If possible trust and delegate. (unless you are the person who is doing everything. Then the time management is slightly different.)
4) Use tools that will help you to be productive.
I would be looking at the things / processes that are draining your time.
And addressing them.
For instances. For meetings.
Circulate Minuit before hand. with feedback before the meeting. that way you only have to address outcomes and actions. and not spend time going over the notes again.
Request short progress reports based only on exemptions to progress.including recommended course of action or countermeasures.
Have small meeting standing up. they always reduce time.
Start and finish your day 1 hr earlier / later. It's amazing what you can do in that time frame.
Set aside a DND time for 1 hr 2 x each day.
Use your email tools to set flags, appointments, tasks and follow ups to your delegation. Let the tools remind you. That way you only have to focus on what is before you, not on what is coming up.
Look at how you can minimize the number of times a document is touched.
Be clear with your directions and expectations. Follow up based on your agenda. Once you have done this a few times, people will get to understand that if you say I want / need this done by Tuesday. Come Tuesday you are looking for it. They will very soon understand that it had better be there by Tuesday am. or even Monday. You should only have to ask Where is it. and why is it not ready. followed by when did you plan to tell me this..
To make time management to work, it must work on both sides. You do not want to be spending time chasing people, however in the first instance you will need to train people, in terms of you mean what you say. And you are expecting on time open communication if the time line can not be achieved. before time.
In short, with time management you get things to work for you. So that you are the master, If not they will become the master, and you will end up being the slave to time. And that will end up with you going faster and faster.
"Is this the best use of my time, RIGHT NOW?" This question is always top of mind.
1. Making a list of duties
2. Give every duty an essential timeframe to be done
3. Make a Priority table
4. Delete the most less duties (if they are not done, there is no negative point)
5. Do the duties by Priority
As I have 'Been there... Done that' (that is the least qualification of being a Consultant, I guess...!), I would like to point you to 2 links - first is my post about the subject matter on my blog, you can read it here -
and other is my answer to Denise Mock’s question ‘How do you upgrade your skill set while working a full time job?’ posted yesterday on mosaichub only. I hope it helps. All the best!