Year after year
one of the most popular topics we speak on is time management. Every
organization seems to have difficulty managing time and therein lies the
problem with many organizations. If time is not well organized chances are
projects and people won’t be either.
of learning manage time reasonably well. School days and months are
tracked or scheduled by periods, semesters, quarters, and tests, often
managed by bells. Although they excel at practicing time management it is
the one subject they fail at teaching.
Many believe the
purpose of time management is to get as much done as possible. Actually,
the purpose of time management is to accomplish the most important things,
timely. Who among us has not experienced a day where we feel as though we
have accomplished nothing? It is those days we have failed to practice
effective time management.
management involves identifying what “most important” means to us. Is
it something with an urgent deadline? Is it something the boss wants? Is
it something the customer needs? Is it something we want to accomplish? It
can be one, all or none of them. The choice of what is “most
important” is something that each of us has to identify and
“important” things will vary by individual.
Time management puts things in perspective.
Time management helps us control what we
can do and when we can do it.
Time management is using correct tools and
habits to improve what we do.
Planning is an
essential tool towards effective time management. Many believe that taking
the time to plan is a waste of useful time that can be used to accomplish
several tasks. The reality, proved through numerous studies at Stanford,
Harvard and Princeton business schools, is that one-hour of planning saves
three-four hours of wasted time. Effective planning guarantees the most
important things are accomplished.
planning cannot be achieved without prioritizing. Prioritizing is an
essential habit in effective time management. Priorities are the ABC’s
of planning. Generally, we identify the ABC’s as follows:
Things important and urgent.
Things important but not urgent.
Things urgent but not important.
The majority of
us are good at handling A's, which often fall under the “fire
fighting” categories, but how many B’s do we work on each day? Another
way to describe these priorities is to substitute with three words,
“must,” “should,” and “could.”
Something we must do.
Something we should do.
Something we could do.
prioritize in this manner we realize the B priorities often become more
essential to the success of the organization because we often fail to do
the things we should. These are the tasks we often find ourselves
correcting because we failed to do them correctly or at all in the
beginning. Anytime we have to correct ourselves or repeat a step that is
an incorrect use of our time. In many cases it not only effects our time
but the time of others as well.
One of the
biggest time wasters in every organization is procrastination. We often
procrastinate because we are indecisive about whether to engage in an
activity or not. To help avoid procrastination, when faced with a decision
whether to proceed with an activity or not, ask these four questions:
How much do I really want to do this?
How important is it?
What will happen if I do it?
What will happen if I do not do it?
The answers to
these four questions should assist in determining whether the task is an
A, B or C priority.
is a learned skill. It cannot be learned in an hour, day, week or month.
It is something that must be continuously practiced every day and if
properly done can save us, on average, two hours a day through planning
and prioritizing. That’s ten hours a week, over five hundred hours a
year. What could you do with
an extra five hundred hours?
I wish you well.
information is provided as information only and not legal advice.
Legal advice should be obtained from a competent, licensed attorney,
in good standing with the state bar association.