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Published Articles by David Balovich

Title: Pardon Me, Could You Spare Some Time?
Published in: Creditworthy News
Date: 4/28/04
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.

Our institutions 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.

Effective time 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.

Successful 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:

  1. Things important and urgent. 

  2. Things important but not urgent. 

  3. 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.”

  1. Something we must do. 

  2. Something we should do. 

  3. Something we could do.          

When we 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:

1.    How much do I really want to do this?

2.    How important is it?

3.    What will happen if I do it?

4.    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.

Time management 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.  

This 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.

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