This document contains a selection of time management tips for anyone interested in improving their productivity and lowering stress in their workplace and personal lives.This is particularly important for project managers who must be able to manage their own time efficiently, if they hope to run successful projects. This document highlights common areas of failing and suggests a simple technique to help you improve your time management.
Let’s start by thinking about time. Here are twelve important characteristics of time:
- It is an economic resource.
- It cannot be expanded or contracted.
- It is irrecoverable and irreplaceable.
- It is expensive and precious.
- It is highly perishable.
- Most of what is called ‘cost’ is the cost of time.
- It is a flow from past to present to future in the context of experience.
- It is a flow from future to present to past in the context of planning.
- The flow is one way and irreversible.
- It is quantifiable (seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years).
- All processes that we manage are time processes.
- Time is the dimension in which change takes place.
2. How and Why We Waste Our Time
You cannot save time, you only buy it and spend it. Saved time is bought or spent byreinvesting it in other activities.
Here are some examples of how we waste our time:
- Do our own photocopying and filing
- Make our own flight and hotel reservations.
- Find it easier to do things ourselves than train someone else to do repetitive tasks.
- Socialise instead of communicate.
- Work at tasks for satisfaction of physical accomplishment.
- Haven’t the courage to say no nicely and take on too much work.
- Don’t distinguish between important and urgent.
- Procrastinate and/or are indecisive.
- React to constant external impacts, with no planned system to shield us, tohelp get results.
Why we waste our time, our personality orientation:
- Task/Achievement: personally doing (working) versus managing and delegating.
- Leadership/Dominance/Decision: taking charge and doing (working).
- Impulsive/Physically Energetic: doing (working) and not planned.
- Socially Warm/Gregarious: people not task oriented.
- Theoretical/Detail/Structure: paralyses by analysis.
- Change/New Experience/Feeling: bored with routine, unstable, not a teamworker.
- Fellowship/Defensive/Aggressive: to please others, bureaucrat, performance for accolade, argue with others.
3. How to Discover Your Time Wasters
You’ll discover that you waste time in the same way every day. You must discoverfor yourself where this waste occurs. Here is a simple technique that can helpeveryone to start improving his or her time management.It is not enough to learn from others.
You need the amazing revelation of the great portions of time that you are working and wasting, but not achieving goals and results. Discovering them is easy. You need to use a simple time log for a couple of weeks to make a major breakthrough in your time management.
1.Take an A4 sheet of paper and divide it into columns.
2.Take the page and write your typical daily activities in the columns across the top.
3.Break up the horizontal rows into quarter hours from 06:00 hours until 00:00 hours, midnight.
4.Photocopy a number of pages for the coming days.
5.As you work through the day, from the time you get up, until the time you go to bed, place a dot in each quarter-hour of the relevant activity.
6.At the end of the day, add up the quarter hours in each column and enter this total at the bottom of each column.
7.Add up all column totals across the bottom of the page to give a grand total.
8.Convert each column total into a percentage to factually and quickly discover where and how you spent your day.