Time Management Tips


No-Frills Calendar

Things to Consider When Planning

Contributor: Jim Kearney 4/23/2018

All managers do not approach Time Management the same way. Different responsibilities, the way they engage the workday, and management styles can differ wildly over the spectrum of good and effective managers.

Good Time Managers Know This:

  • Being efficient does not mean a manager is effective. Doing some things well has little to do as to whether time is managed wisely or productively.

  • If something is urgent it does not mean it is always important. There are ways to manage time sensitive items without them getting in the way of the more important plans of the day.

  • Everything, even the most basic daily activities, need to be planned. Tools like Daily Task Lists, Things To Do Lists, Scheduling Software and or a Desk Calendar are used.

The following is built with key tips involving Time Management and gleaned from this site's articles written on this blog; just in case you don't want to read all the articles and want just the highlights.

So, here are some tips to consider:

Tip #1 - Plan your day, week, month and year activity. We have many forms on our Blank Planners Page to get you started. There are also many Apps and business software that can be used.

Tip #2 - Don't use your computer or phone to help you manage your day's minute to minute activity. You need to stay focused on immediate important tasks quickly. This is explained in more detail in the Nix the Phone Article.

Tip #3 - Procrastination can be eliminated by adhering to time management principles. In that process ask yourself what is holding you back on an issue. Sometimes it could be that you are not breaking the goal into small enough manageable tasks.

Tip #4 - Make sure you are not procrastinating to avoid a looming big project. Hit it head on and break it into small manageable steps. Dawdle Waver and Delay.

Tip #5 - During meetings use the Parking Lot to place ideas or topics that come up but not enough time is available or it is off topic. Always address the Items in the parking lot in your minutes or on a board to be handled or dismissed. The Bad Meeting Inside The Meeting.

Tip #6 - To help you stay organized use the best practice rule of "Touch it Once". Each document that come to your in-box, whether it is paper or an electronic one, act on it at that moment. You can trash it, file it, put it on your Things To Do List or delegate action. What you can't do is lay it down or close it out with the thought that you'll take care of it later. Touch That Once

Tip #7 - Staying focused on your Things To Do List can be a challenge in any work environment. The key is to carry an index card with your top three things, from your TTD list, that need to get done now. When you get pulled away from your current task simply get in the habit of referring to the index card. That will quickly get you re-focused and back on track to complete your priority task as quickly as possible. It's Things To Do List Time

Tip #8 - If you have a task that is on your things to do list but it is outside your comfort zone it could have a negative effect on your time management for that day or longer. To help you break through the "Comfort Zone Wall" I have three suggestions:

  1. Get more information on the topic. Learn what you need to know by asking questions, check any operational manuals and talk to any mentor(s) you have with knowledge of the topic. The more you learn about a topic you will most likely find that it's not all that complicated and more doable that you thought.
  2. Break the activity down into smaller steps. Sometimes a task may seem harder because your approach is too broad.
  3. Establish a Project Planner. This is separate from your T-T-D list but not far removed. It works in conjunction with number "2" above and as you work through the steps add the next one or more to your things to do for that day.
    Your Comfort Zone Wall

Tip #9 - I recently added a comment to The Logic of Time Management Article. It had to do with how a manager might look at the time elements regarding a project or task. Some projects and tasks are simple and straight forward. Others are more complicated presenting the need for many time elements within; commonly referred to as benchmarks. In either event, I suggest that, a good manager would adopt the philosophy of under promising and over delivering.

It's one thing to promise a certain date and completely another for you to plan your team's activities to meet that very date. All the planning, scheduling and benchmarks need to meet, let's call it, your internal date. How much earlier that date should be, of course, depends on the project, you and your team's other commitments.

Please consider two things:

First, it will be easy to regress back to the agreed upon date when things don't go exactly as you had planned. That's simply a convenient crutch and a management mistake! Make the needed adjustments and get back on track towards your internal date.

Two - Murphy's Law is always looming! Be nimble and quick or risk having to have a difficult conversation on why you may not make the agreed upon date. The very minute the real date becomes THE date, I submit, you're in trouble.

Last Updated 7/30/2018


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It's On My List

Articles:

The Logic of Time Management

Time Management Tips

It's Things To Do List Time

Nix The Phone

Dawdle, Waver then Delay

Touch That Once

Bad Meeting Inside the Meeting

Comfort Zone Wall


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