Time Management: Everyday for Everyone
Being experts in managing everyone else’s time, we thought we’d spell out some simple rules for you, better managing your own. While we’re at it, let’s take a look at your team too.
These are the Nine Most Important Time Management Principles for you to use, and for you to promote and use with your department, team, area, zone or gang of co-workers. However you’re diving them up, it helps to keep on top of everything.
1) Goals are Set at Every Level
Team Goals. Department Goals. Professional Goals. Personal Goals. At every level, you need to have a perfectly clear idea, in mind, or on the wall, of where you’re going. Managing priorities is a lot easier, and so is arriving where you’re hoping to go.
2) Lists Need to Drawn Up
Learn to manage multiple to-do lists. Keep them clean and layered but keep them every day. Priorize—according to your goals—and according to whatever you system you prefer. You can use software or a simple lettering or numbering system. But don’t neglect your lists and don’t let anyone else neglect them either.
3) Distractions Need to be Managed
Tasks need to scheduled, (see above) with regard to your biggest distractions. Time management means eliminating, overcoming or, simply better managing all the things that are going to keep you from your goals. Chats, emails and phone calls all take their toll. So do favors, anxiety, and extra-curriculars of all kinds. Set limits and designate times for attending to all of them—say 15 minutes for every two hours you’re working on actual goals. You really can deal with everything in that short time.
4) Priorities Are Openly Discussed
Those priorities that are developed in pursuit of your goals need to be taken very seriously. And depending on the level (professional, departmental, etc.), they also should be discussed in depth with the relevant people. Personal goals are better understood when they’re bounced off your best friend. Team priorities might involve the whole team or the leadership. In every case, priorities that overlap or affect other people should be discussed and developed with those same people.
5) Inflows Need to Be Managed
This is a big one. We’ve all had situations where we just can’t say no. We’ve also been in situations where we really can’t delegate and where micro-managing every detail is the only way to get anywhere. Time management means not only managing the people you’re delegating too, but also managing how much you’re taking on. Saying yes to everything sometimes means saying no to realism. Be realistic and learn to solve other people’s problems without doing their jobs.
6) Busy All the Time Does Not Equal Productivity
Anyone can be busy. Likely, some of the least productive people in your organization are busy. Many of them will brag about the multi-tasking they’re doing. Don’t fall for it. Working smart takes less time, less stress and a lot less energy. Manage busy-body tasks just like you manage distractions. Some of them will be necessary. Don’t let them interfere with the goals and the priorities.
7) Breaks are Mandatory – For Good Reason
Group breaks do work for groups. Hard-breaks, out of the office, walks, coffee or TV; all these things will work and will do more for your focus than worry or stress. Schedule the same as you schedule checking your email, and managing other distractions.
When the whistle blows, you should be able to see your accomplishments in the crossed off lists, and even check back over many weeks or months. All of these things work better than a Windows folder full of documents or an abstract recollection of “what you did.” Make it hard. Make it real. You’ll see the results and so will your team.
Photo this page:
GENERAL VIEW OF STEAM WHISTLE – Anderson-Christofani Shipyard, Innes Avenue and Griffith Street, San Francisco, San Francisco County, CA © Creative Commons Lic. by Boucher, Jack E. on Wikimedia Commons