Time management, how important is it? Let’s take a moment to compare time and money, as we all know the importance of money. We budget our money carefully to be sure there is enough for the necessities and some to have a little fun; so why would you not do the same with your time? Especially when money is dispensable, but time is something you never get back. Below are some tips, tricks and thoughts to get you thinking about your time.
- Failing to plan is planning to fail.
- Make a to do list (break tasks down into small steps).
- Cleaning a messy room (staring at the mess, feeling overwhelmed, you tell yourself you cannot do it – you don’t know where to start). Once you break it into smaller tasks and begin checking off what you have (make the bed, put clothes away, pick up toys, vacuum), the room is looking better and the overwhelming feeling you once had is turning into a feeling of accomplishment.
- If you have a lot that you need to do, (although it is tough), it is always wise to do the most difficult task first.
- Prioritize to help create more time – Stephen Coveys Four-Quadrant To Do (don’t sort by order received or due date).
- Stay organized, keep your desk clear and decluttered.
- Do all you can to eliminate transactions/touches (ie. emails, papers, phone calls.)
- Don’t spend your valuable time on things that are not important (worry about things that matter, not things you cannot control).
- Learn to say no, it’s okay.
- Time Journal – if you are having trouble recalling where all your time is going, monitor your time for a week (you will be surprised to see how you are spending your time or find areas of waste – ie. in a study from 2017 the average person spent just over 2 hours a day on social media). Similar to budgeting your money (you may not realize how much you spend in a week on coffee – you always spend more than you think). Doing a time journal may help you realize:
- What am I doing that doesn’t need to be done?
- What can some else do (delegate)?
- What can I do more efficiently?
- If you are part of a team, how am I wasting other people’s time (Help to make everyone more efficient, how do you collectively get more done)?
- Delegate – do not dump, do the most difficult job yourself. When you delegate, grant them authority with responsibility, communicate clearly the task and when it is due, and give them objectives, not procedures. Let them surprise you with a way of solving/completing the task which will empower them and lets them know you trust them (do not micromanage as that is a time waster, and you would have been better off doing it yourself then).
- Stay on top and ahead of deadlines – if you have a habit of procrastinating, you are aware of the stress that it causes. To help with this, create a “fake” due date. This way you have it done before the due date, and if for some reason you need a little extra time, you will still have time before it is actually due.
- Meetings: Be sure it is worth everyone’s time, and everyone in the meeting is present/engaged (get the most out of everyone’s time).
- One great suggestion: 1 minute minutes – have a point person record in 1 minute or less what decisions were made and who is responsible for what by when. Have the point person then email it out to everyone in the meeting so the next meeting they come prepared and you don’t have the “who was doing that”.
No time is a better time for you to start managing and taking control of your time. Treat your time like you would your money. Would you throw your money up for grabs? Most likely not. Be protective over your time like you are with your money, as it is valuable and something you can never get back.
Tips, Tricks and thoughts above are referenced from Randy Pausch Lecture: Time Management (video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTugjssqOT0