Time Management is vital, if every manager, leader, supervisor and small business owner is going to create the best value in their work.
Getting around this vital problem makes work efficient and effective; leaving time for those things that your life is really about.
This is not about managing time – you can’t do that. It is about you managing you and nothing else…except just maybe about how you manage others too!
Top Ten Things About Time Management
Actively engaging in managing their time effectively, by making the effort to make things work for them instead of against them, marks out those who excel – and it shows.
So, the very best at Time Management…
- Are Organised
They know what they have to do and when they have to do it by. Apart from planning their day, those best at managing their time are way ahead of the game. They have few surprises.
- Do What’s Important
By focusing on where they personally add value, the experts at managing time do less; make more. They leverage the contribution they make to the max.
- Manage E-mail and Phone Calls
By having a simple set of rules for themselves, these people are not held to ransom by others. They literally switch off their phones sometimes. Deal with e-mails in an organised and focused way.
- Make Time to Think
In control of their diary, exponents make space for the important things in their business or organisation. These are the strategic things, creating business growth, people things. Even personal things. These are red-circled diary items that cannot be touched.
- Closed Door/Open Door
Whilst they are fabulous with their people, they have rules. One of which is that ‘key time’ where they do not wish to be disturbed, they take. It makes them much more efficient that way.
- Tolerate Nothing
They also build understanding that individuals have personal accountabilities and do their job. Great advocates of time management get that very, very clear. They also make sure that they do not feel that they are attached to the issues of others. There are few things they feel they ‘should’ do.
- Do What They Do Best
Content with their personal talents, they focus on where they can perform best and avoid those things which they have little skill for. They are good at recruiting people who can.
- Stop Doing Things
They are really, really good at stopping doing unproductive things and look inwardly regularly at their own preferences, habits etc.
- Break Things Up
Because where tasks are huge, they look so daunting they seem insurmountable and as Henry Ford said:
“Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.”
Which made quite a difference to the success of Ford!
- Take their Breaks
By ensuring that they retain focus, with regular breaks, those great at managing their time refresh regularly and perform far, far better.
Ten Ways to be Better at Time Management
- Be Firm
Decide where your time is wasted, review what you do that isn’t value-creating and stop doing it.
- Show Honesty
If something just cannot be done – say so! And when help is offered, say YES. It is hugely valuing to others to be able to help
and very, very valuable to you.
- Push Back
And saying NO sometimes creates a reality in others which they had not realised. If you always say ‘Yes’ to work, do you wonder who gets all the workload! This is a very powerful step to take. Be realistic – say No sometimes.
- Develop Tricks
Whatever games you need to play, to get things done, take time to create them. Often it could be that you learn more about giving some things to others to do – because they are better at them than you. It can be that you spend 5 or 10 minutes every day, first thing, just planning your day – as your priority job before all else. Whatever time management tactics work for you.
- Find your Best Time
Some people are morning and some are evening. Learn to understand your body and then forgive yourself. You are human. It’s a
myth to believe that everyone else is perfect! Accept your shortcomings and you will get what you need to do done in record time.
- Make a Start
In his excellent book ‘Get Everything Done and Still Have Time to Play‘, (see below), Mark Forster encourages simple acts like ‘Just Get the File Out’ – making a start, truly gets the job done.
- Eliminate Distractions
Sometimes you are interrupted, by the phone, by that irritating ding-dong from ‘Outlook’ or by people barging in. Creating rules for the use of your time which are clear and consistent, which people understand, will go a long way to providing you with clear space to get the job done. Switch off your computer, unhook the phone, have a sign on your door which says ‘Busy’ – it’s as easy as that.
- Pass the Monkey
In Ken Blanchard’s great book. ‘The One Minute Manager meets the Monkey‘, (see below), he talks about making sure that someone else always leaves with the ‘monkey’ The monkey is the next stage in a process, a project an activity. making sure that others leave with it means you don’t. It’s easy sometimes to say, ‘I’ll do that’, than to say, ‘Can you do that?’ Make accountabilities stick with the person best placed – and it won’t always be you (whatever you might think).
- Have Rewards
Little hint here. Treat yourself every so often. Even if it’s just a walk in the park at lunchtime or a coffee break, be sure that you do it and have it ready to look forward to after a period of focused work.
- Build Skills
Whilst delegation is just perfect for creating your spaces, you have a bigger role here. By empowering others to take slabs of your current workload, because you have developed them enough so that they can, you are creating a spiral of growth and time for yourself. Give up the addiction to fire-fighting and get smart!
5 Simple Actions You Can Take Today!
- Stop doing five things you regularly do and see what happens!
- Say ‘No’ to more things which you cannot do and ‘Yes’ to help when offered.
- Delegate some things – and give support to those you delegate to.
- Ask yourself this, ‘If I only had half the time, what would I do in this business?’
- Check out the things you do that someone else, at a lower cost, could do perfectly well.
Read some great books – like:-