“Either run the day or the day runs you.” ~ John Rohn
Time is one of the most important commodities a manager has. The majority of managers admit that they don’t have sufficient time to accomplish all they would like to do. While we cannot increase the number of hours in a day, we can save many of them by managing our time more effectively.
The following form part of a managers’ job and it often happens that some days his day is made up out of all these:
- Reading and dealing with correspondence;
- Scheduled meetings;
- Unscheduled meetings;
- Staff training;
- Making and receiving telephone calls;
- Writing reports.
HOW TO MANAGE YOUR TIME EFFECTIVELY:
LEARN TO SAY ‘NO’
Unless you are firm with some people, you will end up doing something for which you don’t have the time.
LEARN TO DELEGATE
As a manager, it is your responsibility to get things done through other people. Where possible, assign people the jobs that you have been doing yourself.
Accumulate tasks and do them at once, for example, where possible, block off certain times of the day to make your phone calls, sign correspondence and tend to appointments.
Take on only what is possible. Be realistic about what you can do in the time available to you.
Procrastination is the biggest time-waster of all. If a job is important, do it immediately – you will thank yourself later.
PRIORITISE YOUR TASKS
Learn to set priorities. You can do anything, but you can not do everything. Select the tasks most important to you and eliminate those which are not important. Delegate tasks where necessary and leave low priority tasks for later.
DO ONE THING AT A TIME
Try to finish something you have started before you go on to something new.
Make sure you set aside some part of the day as a ‘think’ period. Block the time off in your diary! This is the ideal time to do your planning.
FIND A HIDE-AWAY
To get an important job done, hideaway in a quiet spot such as a co-worker’s vacant office or a meeting room. Working at home for the day may also be an answer to your problem.
Establish which jobs are urgent and which are important. Many ‘urgent’ jobs frequently do not have to be done immediately. Learn to distinguish both and act accordingly.
TACKLE YOUR READING EFFICIENTLY
Consider investing in a speed reading course. It will shave hours of your days.
By setting goals you focus on what has to be accomplished.
USE TECHNOLOGY FOR YOUR AILING MEMORY
If you are a technophobe, use a note book and write things down instead of relying on your memory. If you are more of a modern manager, use an electronic device to make notes.
E-mail, telephones and messengers are all ways of saving your time. Let others or today’s technology to do the running around for you.
ARRANGE YOUR WORK AREA
Keep travel around your office or immediate work area to a minimum. Put often-used items within easy reach. Don’t keep your desk crowded with materials you rarely use.
CREATING AN EFFICIENT WORKING ENVIRONMENT:
- See that you have a clear workspace or desk;
- Make sure you have the right equipment, books and stationery;
- Ensure as much peace and quiet as possible;
- Work in a good light, sit on a comfortable chair at a desk which is the right height;
- Personalise your desk and office with a favourite picture or a painting on the wall. When taking an ‘inspiration break’ look at these to give your mind a break;
- Work out an efficient filing system;
- Organise ‘IN’ and ‘OUT’ trays on your desk and use them;
- Make use of a notice board in your office. This will remind you of things to be done.
OBSTACLES THAT GET IN THE WAY OF EFFECTIVE TIME MANAGEMENT:
- Working piling up;
- Trying to do too much at once;
- Getting involved in too many details;
- Postponing unpleasant tasks;
- Insufficient time to think;
- Constant interruptions from people and telephone calls;
- Too much time spent in adhoc non-business related discussions;
- Flooded with incoming unimportant and spam emails;
- Too many emails to write;
- Paperwork piling up;
- Lost or mislaid papers;
- Too much time spent in meetings;
- Too much time spent travelling.