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A brief guide to time management


We would all like to get more done in a day, and often we hear people talking about “not having enough time”. However, some people do get everything they need to get done in a day, and they have the same amount of time as we do. Time can’t be managed – it is uncontrollable. What we can manage is ourselves and our use of time.

The skills we need to apply include the ability to plan, delegate, organise, direct and control. However, there are some common time-wasters that may be stealing our days. Here are some of the most frequent reasons for inefficiency in the workplace:

Interruptions – telephone
Interruptions – personal visitors
Tasks you should have delegated
Procrastination, indecision
Acting with incomplete information
Dealing with team members
Crisis management (fire fighting or troubleshooting)
Unclear communication
Inadequate technical knowledge
Unclear objectives, priorities
Lack of planning
Stress and fatigue
Inability to say “no”
Desk management and personal disorganisation

Tick the ones which are the major obstacles to your own time management. These are your “Time Stealers”. Now that you have identified them, try to cut them out, reduce them or change the way they affect you.

It’s all about self-management
Learn to say “no”. Remember, every time you say “yes” to something unimportant or time-consuming, something else will not get done. Learn to live by your own priorities and not someone else’s.
Know your breakpoint.
Know how much stress you can deal with and when to take a break. Too much stress is counter-productive, so take that break when you need it!
Get physical.
Exercise is an excellent outlet for stress and will give you more energy to accomplish your tasks. Whether it’s a short, brisk walk or a full workout in the gym, exercise is always a good idea.
Use your “down time”.
Make time in between important tasks to regroup, review your schedule and your priorities and make adjustments where necessary.
Have fun.
Be sure to have fun while you are working. Normally a sense of humour helps to keep things in perspective.

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