The reality of today’s world is that time has become a hinder for most of us due to the demand to do more in less time - this can easily consume us on a daily basis especially in our jobs. Living in a fast paced world where everything needs to be done immediately, if time is not managed correctly we can easily run into complications with the superiors or clients.
“Time, quality and cost are in a constant state of tension and competing with each other, especially during hard economic times and the speed in which the world is changing,” says Neville De Lucia, New Business Development Director at Dale Carnegie Training. “What we often see happen is one or two of these factors take priority and playing a prominent role in the planning, setting of priorities, decision-making, and other time management issues. Time is a scare resource for managers and managing it correctly creates an equal balance between these elements.”
There are no short-cuts when it comes to managing your time effectively. It’s all about investing your time in the most productive way possible. With only 1 440 minutes in a day, here are a few tips to manage this efficiently:
1. Record All Activities: Write down everything that needs to be done for the day and week. This allows you to prioritise each task and to easily see what needs to be done. This also helps you to remember to do everything, when tasks are not written down its easy to forget to do something that may actually be very important.
2. Determine Primary Goals: What do you want to achieve that day or in the week? By making sure your goals are at the top of your list you can easily knock them off first, one at a time and then get stuck into the next items on your list.
3. Consider 80/20 Rule: Also known as the Pareto principle, the 80/20 rule is determining which 20% of the tasks will yield 80% of the results. Instead of starting with the small and quick tasks, first tackle the ones you know will result in the bigger outcome.
4. Evaluate Important vs. Urgent: Importance and urgency are two different factors that need to be considered equally, also taking into account which of your activities have an effect on others. If someone is waiting for you to complete something before they are able to do their job, you will need to determine the importance and urgency of that particular task.
5. Rank Tasks: Ranking tasks will also help to determine their importance and urgency. You can come up with your own system or you can simply rank each task using A, B or C, for example:
· “A” tasks have high priority and must be completed immediately
· “B” tasks are moderately important but can be done after the “A” tasks
· “C” tasks are of low-level importance and can be tackled in your spare time
6. Create a Schedule: Once you have determined which tasks need to be completed first using the above tips you can create a schedule outlining which tasks need to be completed by which date, in essence setting deadlines for yourself to help keep you on top of everything.
7. Revisit Goals and Adjust: After working on each task and knocking off a few, revisit your schedule to see if your goals and deadlines are realistic and adjust accordingly. Tasks that weren’t urgent before may suddenly become urgent and need to be bumped up to the top of your list.
8. Purge: Time will tell which tasks may never be completed so use your initiative and cross out those items at the bottom of your list that seem to be lingering for a quite a while.
These eight simple steps can be applied to almost anyone in any profession. These are just a guideline which can easily be adapted to suite individual needs. “Time management has become a key aspect to any business ensuring everything gets done within the correct timeframe. Time is money and ensuring your employees’ time is being utilised appropriately is in the best interest of any organisation,” adds De Lucia.