By Dana Borowka – An excerpt from our book, Cracking the Business Code
Time management is usually a challenge for most people. We’ve put together a step-by-step approach so you and your team can begin to put together a time management plan of action.
To improve your time management skills, first do a time assessment:
- For three days, keep a log of everything you do and how much time it takes, including both work and non-work activities. You can break your day into sections or track activities on an hour-by-hour basis.
- After three days, add up the time spent on each activity. When complete, the results should give you a good indication of which tasks you spend the most time.
Goals help us to stay focused and make successful changes. After your time assessment is completed, think about what goals would be of personal and professional value to you.
On a regular basis, set concrete, realistic short and long-term goals, perhaps once a month.
Time Management Techniques
Once you have assessed your use of time and set some goals, you can implement some techniques to improve your time management skills.
- Prioritize: Each day, organize your tasks on a “To Do” list in order of importance. Concentrate first on essential and high priority tasks, and then later on low priority tasks. Incorporate your goals and deadlines into your “To Do” lists. At the end of the day, evaluate any incomplete items and see if any can be eliminated from your list. It’s important to be realistic when creating a “To Do” list. Don’t try to do more then you actually can.
- Delegate: Assign routine duties or special projects to others when you can. This will free you up to do more important tasks.
- Learn to Say No: I would venture to say that saying no is the most important part of effective time management. Many people constantly over-commit themselves to projects and tasks, rather than having quality time for themselves and their family. If you have problems saying no then you might want to get some assistance to further develop this skill.
- Break It Down: A very effective method to starting difficult projects is to break it into smaller, more manageable tasks. This can help to avoid procrastination, and transform overwhelming projects into easier tasks. If procrastination has become a chronic habit for you, dig beneath the surface to find out what is stopping you from getting things done. Some people procrastinate, because of some fear, like failing to do the project right or perfect. Discovering the source helps to heal the problem. Again, get help when needed.
- Organize Thyself: Strive to eliminate clutter from your workspace by creating an easy to access filing system and keeping your work areas cleared off. Don’t let reports and papers pile up — either file or dispose of them as soon as you can. File trays, horizontal or vertical, are very helpful to store paperwork that is currently being worked on or there are many electronic filing systems available.
- Throw It Out: Every two to three months, set a day aside and purge your files — both computer and regular files. Put this day on your appointment book and keep your appointment with the trash can. You’d be amazed how much stuff can be tossed or deleted and how good you will feel!
- Quiet Time: Designate a quiet hour or so to work on major projects. If possible, close your door and post a “Do Not Disturb” sign or make sure everyone in your area knows not to disturb you to avoid interruptions.
- Treat Yourself Right: Be sure during the workday to take walks, get something to eat or close your eyes for a few minutes. Also important is a healthy diet and an active exercise routine. This will help improve your concentration and productivity.
Time management is an opportunity that we all can work on. Start with some small steps and you can begin to measure your progress. Soon you will find you are controlling events and tasks that are within your power, rather than them controlling you.
Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2016
Dana Borowka, MA, CEO and Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC with their organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. They also have a full service consulting division that provides domestic and international interpersonal coaching, executive onboarding, leadership training, global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training, operational productivity improvement, 360s and employee surveys as well as a variety of workshops. They have over 25 years of business and human behavioral consulting experience. They are nationally renowned speakers and radio personalities on this topic. They are the authors of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.
If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, email@example.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.
Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.
We recently launched a new service called Sino-Am Leadership to help executives excel when stationed outside their home country. American managers in Asia and Asian managers in America face considerable business, personal, and leadership challenges because of the cultural differences. This unique program provides personal, one-on-one coaching. For more information visit, http://www.lighthouseconsulting.com/performance-management/talent-development/sino-american-management-style/.