Time Management at Work

How is it that by the end of the day, we know we were very busy, but we just don’t know what got done? What’s worse is, we didn’t reach our most critical goal for the day.

What happened? The answer is simple – time organization (or should we say, lack of time organization). I want to share with you four major time management practices that will help you be more productive throughout your day.

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to sit in on a fantastic session given by Greg Simone, Certified Business Coach and Owner of Riveredge Enterprises, Inc. (Focal Point). Greg  discussed time management, prioritization, and delegation. Greg proved his point that “Multitasking is worse than a lie”  with an exercise. He had our group write the sentence previously quoted, count the number of letters, and then write out those numbers, 1, 2, 3, and so on. We did this on average within 27 seconds. The next step entailed writing that same sentence, and same corresponding number, in order; except to write it one letter, then one number, at a time. M, 1, U, 2, L, 3, etc. Try it, and see how long it takes you.

Being busy is not the same as being productive. We need to be single-minded when managing multiple priorities. Ask yourself, “What is the most valuable use of your time?” Another way to approach  this is to ask, “What task will have the greatest consequence if I don’t get it done?”

Plan

It is said that one minute of planning, saves ten minutes in your day. Therefore, at the end of each day, write down your bucket list of to-do items. Learn to calculate how long various tasks may take. When reviewing your list of things to do, keep your list priorities to an estimated calculation of seven hours of time. Your goals should be reasonable and attainable. If a task outside of your income generating business skills can take you less than 10 minutes, than you can tackle it. However, anything longer should be delegated.

Prioritize

This is as simple as A, B, C, D, and E. Decide for yourself the following, as in what task:

  • Absolutely has to be done.
  • Better get done, (but it is not the most important task to complete).
  • Could get done, (but would the task make or break a business deal).
  • Delegation can be handed over, (realizing you only have so many hours to accomplish all of your tasks).
  • Elimination can be made. (Just get it off your list of things to do).

Process

Everything has a process, so learning to batch your tasks will help. As mentioned above, choose the top three things to work on. When making this choice, recognize that every project has smaller tasks to manage. For example, when you cook a meal:

  1. Check what ingredients you have on hand
  2. Go to the store – purchase the ingredients you don’t have
  3. Gather ingredients on the counter
  4. Measure the ingredients out
  5. Put the unused ingredients back into the cabinets
  6. Gather the bowls, utensils, and pans necessary to combine the ingredients,
  7. Set the oven temperatures
  8. Put the main dish in the oven
  9. Wait an hour or two for that roast to cook.
  10. What do you do with that hour or two that you have as you wait for the meals to be cooked? You probably will find another task to do.
    1. Clean the kitchen. (Wash the bowls and utensils, clean the counters, clean the sink, etc.)
    2. Load of laundry
    3. Dust.

Remember that each task has subtasks that entail a process.

Proactive

Greg De Simone, Certified Business Coach and owner of Focal Point, emphasizes that new business owners need to learn to say “No.” Not “No, never”, just “No, not right now.”

There is a commercial on television lately that sells identity theft protection. It shows a husband and wife discussing the purchase of this protection over the phone, while they are being robbed and thanking the robbers for taking their belongings. The commercial gets the point across very well.

It is the same idea with our time. Try to picture each favor or unexpected event as a time thief. Communicate to friends and family how it would benefit everyone if they just tell you advance when they need something. You can still help complete the favor; you just need remember to to account for the time loss, and make it up to the business. There is always the unexpected the “I need a favor, can you help me…” scenario; however, we have to remember that time is money. So try and put favors off until after work hours, and focus on what will earn income.

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