General Background to Time Management

Introduction

. Time management is "self-management of time"

. Definitions

- time has been described as the occurrence of events one after another

- management is the art of juggling competing imperatives

- time management involves controlling events

. There are 5 types of events

i. there are events we cannot control, such as weather patterns

ii. there are events we think we cannot control, but we can, such as traffic jam, ie find another way or travel at another time

iii. there are events we can control, but don't, often due to procrastination

iv. there are events we think we can control, but we can't, such as a train arriving on time

v. there are events we can control, such as our own behaviour patterns

"...the common factor that all successful people share......is that they know what is important and that they know where to spend their time..."

Peter Drucker as quoted by Brian Greedy, 2003

Exercise

1 What are your 3 most critical time-management problems?

a)

b)

c)

2 How many minutes per day do you spend on planning? (circle the most appropriate one)

Minutes

0

1 - 10

11- 20

21 - 30

30 +

3 How much time do you use to prioritise activities? (circle the most appropriate one)

Minutes

0

1 - 10

11- 20

21 - 30

30 +

4 Successful people have the ability to focus on their vital priorities. For example, list your activities under the following headings

A (vital to you, your position and organisation)

B (important but not as important as As)

C (some value)

D (complete waste of time!!)

List some

As

Bs

Cs

Ds

Compare your results with others in your group as a reality check

Another way to do this is to complete this table

 

Vital/Important

Not vital/Not Important

Urgent

1 (Quadrant of Personal Leadership)

3 (Quadrant of Deception)

Not urgent

2 (Quadrant of Quality)

4 (Quadrant of Waste)

Comments on the matrix

The tasks in Box 1 are the highest priority and generally should be completed first

The tasks in Box 2 will generally take time and be complex. On the other hand, the tasks in this box provide the best pay-offs

The tasks in Box 3 often have higher priority than those in Box 2. If they are relatively small, you may wish to do these sooner rather than later

The tasks in Box 4 may not require any action at all

The hardest tasks to do are those that are vital but not urgent

An example

 

Vital/Important

Not vital/Not Important

Urgent

Crisis

Pressing problem

Deadline-driven project, meeting, etc

Interruptions, some phone calls

Some mail, some reports

Some meetings

Many popular activities, etc

Not urgent

Preparation

Prevention

Values clarification

Planning

Relationship building

Empowerment, etc

Trivia

Junk mail

Some phone calls

Time wasters

Escape activities, etc


Remember

People who have worked out the most suitable work-life balance for themselves are able prioritise their life and focus on the high priority areas, especially in work. As result they do not waste time on low priority areas.

More tips on time management

Emails

- look at them in blocks of time, preferably twice a day
- turn-off auto signal to inform you that you have an e-mail
- have a conversation on the phone or face-to-face instead of using e-mail

Meetings

- have stand-up meetings
- reduce all meetings to maximum of 1 hour
- have an agenda
- excuse yourself from meetings whenever possible

Saying No

- learn to say no to unreasonable request
- don't take on a new project unless it fits clearly with your goals

Plan your day

- plan your day tomorrow.... and every day after

Take breaks

- to assist your focus: 25 min of concentrated effort, followed by a 5-minute break

 

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