8 Ways to Manage Your Time Effectively

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.

Time Assessment

To improve your time management skills, first do a time assessment:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Setting Goals

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.

  1. 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 MC900367508[1]to be realistic when creating a “To Do” list. Don’t try to do more then you actually can.
  2. Delegate: Assign routine duties or special projects to others when you can. This will free you up to do more important tasks.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!
  7. 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.
  8. 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.MC900252687[1]

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2020

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 business”. 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. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management. 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” , “Cracking the Business Code” and “Cracking the High-Performance Team 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, Santa Monica, CA, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.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. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management.

Our Sino-Am Leadership Program helps 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, https://www.lighthouseconsulting.com/performance-management/talent-development/sino-american-management-style/.

We also have an affiliate in the UK who covers all of Europe so we are now a true multi-national company that can support our clients globally.

The Organizational Tune-Up — Time Management Assessment

By Bruce Breier – An excerpt from the book, Cracking the Business Code by Dana and Ellen Borowka

Feeling disorganized? Take the following organizational assessment and see how you can address your specific challenges. Review all the statements that apply to your office below. Now choose which ones you feel are the top challenges and look to the following chart for tips on how to make changes.

 

#

Needs Assessment

Listed below are tools and techniques that increase effectiveness and efficiency. Which ones do you need? Check all that apply in the column to the right.

Select

1,A more balanced calendar (schedule) that enables me to accomplish my priority tasks.
2.Consistent on-time delivery of requests I make of others.
3.Qualitative proactive communications with each of my direct reports.
4.Highly organized, effective, and efficient group meetings within our business.
5.A better master task list system to manage my projects, promises, and priorities.
6.A more proactive weekly and daily planning method.
7.A reduction in the number of interruptions, disruptions, and distractions I receive each week.
8.A stack-free, clutter-free office environment and work space.
9.A better system to organize and manage my email environment.
10.More time each week for personal life priorities.

For the items you selected above, which number represents the biggest need right now?

Next, for the number you selected, see the tips for improvement in the chart below.

Organization Systems

1

Private Work Time (PWT) 1. Schedule 5-10 hours of PWT each week (recurring) 2 Move rather than cancel if necessary 3. Predetermine tasks to be done during PWT

2

Acutely Clear Delegation 1. Be very clear with what and when 2. Provide adequate lead time for non-crucial requests 3. Proofread for clarity if delegating elctronically

3

One-to-One Briefings 1. Customize the frequency and schedule for all staff 2. Begin and end on time (reschedule, don’t cancel) 3. Follow a framework agenda

4

Organized Group Meetings 1. General policy: no agenda = no meeting 2. Always begin and end on time 3. Institute acutely clear endings

5

Master Task List 1. Decide on the best system for you (digital v. paper) 2. Fully populate your list with tasks and due (do) dates 3. Download and upload from the list every day

6

Personal Planning Process 1. Produce a realistic weekly task list prior to Monday 2. Institute the scheduled workday bookends 3. Predetermine the top 3 priorities each day

7

Managing Interruptions, Disruptions, Distractions 1. Diagnose prior to causing or accepting (3 sec.) 2. Establish a company-wide policy re: diagnosing 3. Seclusion and privacy during PWT

8

The Uncluttered Office 1. Perform a total office purge of the unnecessary 2. Organize chronological and categorical filing system 3. Maintain this system during the Daily Wrap-UP

9

Email Management 1. Select the best email management option 2. Setup the option and practice it daily 3. Follow email etiquette and policies at all times

10

Work-Life Balance 1. Develop written and specific personal goals 2. Put applicable personal items on your weekly plan 3. Prioritize “you”

 

Commitments

What’s the one thing you will start doing within the next 30 days to become more organized?

What’s the one thing you will stop doing within the next 30 days to become more organized?

 

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014

Bruce Breier is an Organizational Consultant headquartered in La Jolla, California. Bruce began his consulting career in January 1978 and has many years under his belt as a facilitator, trainer, and consultant. He presents practical tips in the areas of time, paper-flow, information, project, and people management. The primary purpose of his programs is to assist busy people in leadership and management positions to become more successful by becoming more organized. Bruce has been a speaker for Vistage International since 1985 and has addressed hundreds of leaders and managers on this subject. You can reach Bruce at 858.551.8860 or bhbcs@msn.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, dana@lighthouseconsulting.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.

To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code” please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.