Managing Your Time Use

“I’m Late, I’m Late…For a Very Important Date” Does it seem like there is just not enough time to do everything on your “to do” list? Well, there isn’t… life is all about selecting priorities and doing those things that are most important and most beneficial to your overall happiness and success. One of the most time-effective people we know is Senior Strategic Partner, Charles Parnell. In this week’s Power Idea, Charles discusses some truths about time, and why getting control of your time use is so important. Enjoy!

It’s a documented fact that successful people are effective time managers. They stay on top of things and do not let things stay on top of them. There are some unique qualities that time exhibits. One thing is obvious: time is a fixed asset. It doesn’t expand or contract. It is fixed and immutable. There is nothing that can be done to increase or to expand time itself, to speed it up or slow it down. Another unique quality of time is its perishability; once it’s gone, it can never be re-captured, re-cycled or re-used. Remember, we all have 168 hours per week to live (7 days per week 24 hours per day). When you waste your time, you waste your life. Time is a resource and it’s essential to the accomplishment of all your personal and organizational goals. We’re asked to be multi-dimensional and perform our job requirements at a sometimes changing pace to be successful. Therefore, effective time management is critical.

Planning the use of your time is paramount. The first step in effective time organization is to determine where your time should be spent according to your personal and organizational goals. The next step is to execute a Time Utilization Analysis to determine how you’re presently utilizing your time. The next step is to allocate your time based on your job or other requirements.

Here are some practical tips for effective time management:

  • Do it now – don’t procrastinate – it’s a common time thief
  • Put your daily plans in writing – have a Things To Do List
  • Execute the A-B-C Priority System – work on the A and B tasks; they have importance and priority
  • Execute the Pareto Principle (80/20 Rule) 20% of the critical tasks produce 80% of the work
  • Delegate with authority for decision making – it provides time for you to work on other tasks and will aid in the development of your team members
  • Develop and execute the ability to say “no”
  • Don’t pick up a piece of paper unless you’re going to do something with it. Don’t put it down until you’ve done something with it.
  • Make brief notes immediately following a meeting or conference – highlighting what was discussed and what decisions were made.
  • Schedule a “quiet time “. This will boost your personal productivity and give you more time to spend on other things
  • Keep “junk mail” to a minimum – don’t read it
  • Get off mailing lists
  • Frequently ask yourself – What’s the best use of my time right now?

Time management is a skill, like any other skill, it improves with practice. Like goal setting, managing your time is not a single event -it is a process that requires a constant effort. By systematically developing a time management awareness, you can discover and eliminate any activities which do not enhance your progress toward goal achievement. When goal planning for success, you must candidly ask yourself if you’re an effective time manager (ETM). If the answer is no, you must develop and execute a plan to become one. There is something in it for you – SUCCESS!