5 Ways To Manage Your Time Like A Successful Executive
Whats the difference between how successful executives manage their time and the rest of us? Often people think its because they have an army of lackeys waiting to take care of their every whim. That may be true to a point, but each of us is responsible for how we spend our time, focus and attention. No matter how many helpers a person has its up to them to decide where to focus their attention. After working with professionals at all levels for over ten years Ive noticed some common traits among the very successful. Heres a summary of the top 5:1. They all work from a clean desk. I havent seen any highly successful people who have
piles of junk everywhere. Thats because successful people know value their time and avoid wasting it on distractions. And a messy desk is a major distraction. Unfinished work spread around within site silently screams look at medo me and lays guilt on like your mother. This is easy to fix, cheap and available to everyone. 2. They understand that time is a very limited and highly valuable resource. In my experience everyone understands intellectually that their time on this planet is limited. However emotionally most people feel they will last forever. This leads us to behave as if our time is an unlimited which reduces its value. 3. They view time as a precious resource to be invested wisely. They view their time, energy and focus as currency and are as deliberate about investing that as other limited resources within their control. For more information about this concept see my recent Ezine article.
4. They focus on a few important things. They understand that they cant do everything,
so they focus on the three to five big things that have the most impact helping them reach their objectives. If you dont have clear objectives of your own, see this post for a few tips. 5. They have a system (time management system for lack of a better term) that enables them to keep their time and activities focused on those key objectives. They tend to be very disciplined and ruthless in its application and seldom vary from it. using the system has become reflexive which causes them to give it little thought. Watch the highly successful around you and see how these traits apply to them. Think about how their actions compare to yours. What can you learn from them? Note: Ive had several requests for more information about this subject so I recorded a podcast about it. You can hear it now at The On Target Podcast.
Six Time Management Tips for Project ManagersGet the PDF Version By Duncan Haughey, PMP
To be a successful project manager you must be able to manage your time well. The best project managers ensure they are productive for most of their time and avoid time-wasters at all costs. Here are some tips that can help you manage your time more effectively.
Create the PlanWhat does this have to do with time management I hear you ask? Well, if everyone knows what they are doing and have a plan with regular milestones to focus on, you as project manager will spend a lot less time dealing with issues brought about through a lack of clarity.
Remember the 80/20 RuleThe 80/20 rule (or the Pareto Principle) is the idea that by doing 20% of the work you can produce 80% of the benefit of doing the whole job. The value of this for a project manager is that it reminds you to focus on the 20 per cent of activities that matter. Of the activities you do during your project, only 20 per cent are important. Those 20 per cent produce 80 per cent of your results. Identify and focus on those activities.
Not Just Status UpdatesIt's best to avoid team meetings where you go round the room asking each person to give a status update. These meetings have little value and waste time. Instead, spend that time focusing on risks, issues and opportunities. Use the team to brainstorm solutions and create ideas. Team meetings should have an agreed agenda that you stick to. If you schedule an hour for the meeting, make sure it lasts for an hour and no longer. Take big issues off-line if they are likely to cause a meeting overrun. Don't make everyone sit through lengthy technical discussions that don't involve them. Setup a working group to focus on the issues and report to the team at a future meeting.
Stop Micro ManagingAvoid delving into the detail of the work. With software development projects, it's not necessary for the project manager to get involved at code level, leave this to the developers. You've selected the right team for the job. Let them get on with what they are best at, while you concentrate on steering the project to a successful conclusion.
Don't do the WorkMany project managers make the mistake of getting involved in "doing the work." Avoid this at all costs. Managing projects is a full-time job and taking your eye off the ball (even for a short period) can lead to problems. It may be tempting to carryout a few tasks when a deadline is looming, but leave this to others while you get on with managing the project.
Create a To-do ListE-mail fixation is a modern-day problem that can distract you from doing the tasks you need or plan to. Creating a daily to-do list keeps you focused on achieving your objectives. Scratching tasks from your list creates a real sense of achievement and drives further activity.
SummaryTime management is a basic skill for project managers. If you can't manage your own time, how can you expect to manage your teams? Ask each day what you did to move the project forward. Plan your next day, what will you do to ensure your project continues along the straight and narrow. Plan your time, manage your resources with a light touch and communicate effectively. With a little time management, project success should come easier.
How effective CEOs manage their most precious resource: TimeBy Candace Walters Published in the Rochester Business Journal, June 10, 2005 HR Works, Inc. Time is an inelastic resource. No matter how high the demand, we cannot rent, hire or buy more of it. --Peter Drucker Nowhere is the careful use of a leaders time more important than in a growing organization. As a company transitions from startup to a more mature phase, the founder/CEO -- already struggling with an excessive workload - typically faces serious growing pains that create endless distractions and demands. And its those very distractions - and the CEOs time-intensive attempts to manage them - that threaten to derail a companys progress. Research shows that the success or failure of an operation depends largely on how effectively CEOs and senior managers use their time, and how well they maintain their focus on a few major priorities. Its not that CEOs are stingy when it comes to commitment. Research conducted by Mark Helow and Kirk Aubry of The CEO Project -- a business laboratory for fast-growing, middle-market companies -- found that 93 percent of surveyed CEOs work more than 50 hours per week, and more than half put in 60-plus hours. Ask any CEO whether he or she is spending those long hours wisely, and he or she will likely say yes. Yet, Helow and Aubry found results to the contrary: Fewer than 20 percent of the hours put in by the CEOs studied were spent on significant priorities linked to long-term business results. Research published in the Harvard Business Review illustrates a similar picture: Of the managers observed in 12 large companies over a decade, only 10 percent were found to spend their time on work that would have a long-term positive impact on the business. The findings, developed by
Heike Bruch and Sumantra Shoshal, were published in a 2002 HBR article, Beware the Busy Manager. If only 10 percent are spending their time strategically, it seems to follow that 90 percent of managers are getting caught up in the time wasters -- attending endless meetings, putting out fires, mediating disputes, micromanaging talent issues, and devoting time to other matters that would be better delegated, outsourced or ignored. While the HBR research focused on managers, one might reasonably conclude that CEOs function similarly. Why such a widespread misuse of time? At least part of the disconnect, researchers contend, stems from the average CEOs poor understanding of his or her role in the organization. A CEOs job is not merely to make the obvious happen. Instead, he or she is paid to push the business to new heights, to move it forward in innovative ways. With minimal CEO input, most businesses will continue along a well-worn path. Only well-placed senior management attention will push any endeavor to a new level.
Degrees of engagementCEOs and other executives who effectively bring very ambitious goals to fruition, Bruch and Shoshal write, have two traits in common: focus and energy. Focus refers to clarity of purpose and the ability to see a task through to completion. Focused managers are not reactive, the researchers contend. They dont respond to every issue that crops up nor are they distracted by e-mails and other interruptions. They hold tight to their clear understanding of what they want to accomplish each day. Energy, on the other hand, stems from an intense personal commitment that drives the executive to push harder when coping with a heavy workload or meeting tight timelines. Bruch and Shoshal contend that every manager fits into one of the following characterizations, based on the levels of energy and focus that he or she exhibits: Distracted. Forty percent of the managers studied showed a blend of high energy and low focus. These are the well-intentioned, highly active people who lack sufficient focus. Because they are easily distracted, they tend to overcommit. They are always busy -- even frantic -- but they often confuse activity with results. Procrastinators. The researchers found 30 percent of managers exhibited both low focus and low energy. These are the managers who attend meetings and follow up on phone calls and emails, but rarely take initiative and often miss deadlines. Disengaged. Leaders who are highly focused but who lack passion and interest fell into this category, Bruch and Shoshal report. Disengaged managers view their jobs as merely a paycheck. Such managers may be burned out, or their jobs may hold little meaning for them.
Purposeful. Ten percent of managers were found to be highly energetic and highly focused, the researchers conclude. These managers select their goals carefully, and arrange the external environment to support those goals. They do not let other people or organizational constraints set their agendas. To maximize the value of their time, they may corral e-mails, phone calls and visitors into certain times of the day. When challenges mount, they slow down and reflect on what they most want to achieve. They choose their battles carefully. Theyre skilled at reducing stress, typically through physical exercise, hobbies, avoiding unnecessary battles and/or discussing concerns with a colleague, friend or partner.
Common trapsOf course, every CEO thinks he or she is being effective and managing time well. But discerning the difference between activities that will result in long-term positives and those that merely create an air of busyness while draining energy can be extremely difficult. Thats why many companies dont make it. Consider certain feel-good concepts that, while culturally popular, thwart a CEOs effectiveness. Championing an initiative. While the CEO is paid to identify and leverage new products and markets, its critical that he or she delegate responsibility of major projects to trusted managers. By forgoing the champion role, the CEO frees up time to maintain a more global focus, and junior people gain valuable opportunities to develop their own skills. It also moves the organization away from the dangerous thinking that the CEO is needed on a daily basis to get things done. Open-door policies. Is being available to respond to your employees every whim particularly when it interrupts the block of time youd set aside to work on high-priority plans -really a valuable use of your attention? One cannot fully contemplate high-level decisions using only snippets of time scattered through the day or week; focusing on important decisions requires a solid block of quiet time. Responding to urgent needs. While our culture rewards the hero who can be relied upon in a crisis, think about the cost of that heroism. Stepping into every employee dispute or being available to answer every question is not the CEOs job, and it drains valuable time away from strategic, high-impact thinking and decision-making. Peter Drucker suggests that CEOs do their companies a favor when they deliberately make themselves unavailable to staff, perhaps for one full day per week or month, during which time they focus exclusively on higher-level planning. Rolling up your sleeves. How many articles have we read that praise a CEOs willingness to be just plain folk, pitching in to wash dishes, load boxes or make coffee? While such stories may make for good reading, squandering CEO time in the interest of teamwork is a misguided strategy.
ConclusionUsing time effectively to achieve winning results is hardly easy. If it were, everyone would do it well all the time, and far fewer companies would fail. The CEO Project suggests that leaders regularly ask themselves the following questions:
As a CEO, what am I paid to do? Is my CEO effectiveness increasing, decreasing or staying the same? How do I know? What are my three most important CEO priorities? Will what Im planning to do today move the organization closer to our goals? Will what I do today matter in three years?
Drucker reminds us to avoid the common tendencies that repeatedly derail senior managers. Meetings should be the exception rather than the rule; too many meetings signify that an organization is taking too long to get something done. Identify and eliminate things that need not be done at all. Sidestep internal politics and choose external battles with great caution. And, of course, delegate, delegate, delegate!
HR Works, Inc., located at 246 Willow Brook Office Park in Fairport (Rochester), New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving more than 700 clients. HR Works provides benefits administration outsourcing; fulltime, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; affirmative action programs; compensation programs; training of managers and HR professionals; and HRIS and self-service technology.
How Do The Best Leaders Manage Their time, Their EnvironmentWednesday, November 4, 2009 posted by Lee 7:21 AM
What Traits Do Leaders Have, and How Do They Use Them to Maximize Their Potential? This is the fifth part of a five-part series that started four posts ago. If you want to really understand all of this, go back and read the first four parts. that appear in the September 19, September 26, October 3, and October 10 editions. This series is a summary of the 20 Leadership Traits and Talents that the Gallup organization has discovered through thousands of interviews with Leaders at all levels.
Part 5 of 5: Management
How Do the Best Leaders Manage Their Time, Their Environment, and Their Results?
DisciplineLeaders with Discipline:
Are orderly and systematic in their approach to work. Are well organized, timely, and efficient. Like structure and may routinely add it to their lives. Typically display good follow-through and completion of tasks.
Discipline: The need to structure ones time and environment.
Performance OrientationLeaders with Performance Orientation:
Quantify the results expected, i.e., have specific ways to measure progress. Utilize scores and measurements to lend objectivity to their assessment of people. Focus on results more than the process to achieve them. Create clear expectations and provide feedback on performance.
Performance Orientation: An attitude of being results orientedthe need to measure achievement.
ArrangerLeaders with Arranger:
Are flexible in their approach to work. Seek to optimize the contributions people make. Consider alternative methods and work arrangements to increase productivity. Know how to work the system to make things happen.
Arranger: The ability to coordinate people and their activities so that work gets done efficiently.
OperationalLeaders with Operational:
Have a capacity for administering systems to help people be effective. Identify who best can handle responsibility or challenge for particular assignments. Quickly identify problems, define solutions, and move forward. Manage to keep the workflow smooth in operations.
Operational: The capacity for administering the systems, which help people be more effective.
Strategic ThinkingLeaders with Strategic Thinking:
Imagine paths to the future . . . test out best route. Develop alternative routes by questioning What if? Are proactive in their thinking; dont wait for problems to arise.
Strategic Thinking: The ability to do what if thinking as the Leader imagines and creates the paths to future goals.
I hope that this five-part series gave you a better understanding of the 20 Leadership Traits and Talents that make us who we are. No one has all twenty . . . and actually some of us have just a few . . . but like anything, it is what you do with what you have that matters. For the next post I will give you a list of what Gallup calls Talent Absolutes and Talent Preferences. These, too, I think you will find interesting and thought-provoking, as you go about understanding your own leadership talents. . . . LeeThis entry was posted on Wednesday, November 4th, 2009 at 7:21 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
2 Responses to How Do The Best Leaders Manage Their time, Their Environment
Paula DeBoles-Johnson says: November 4, 2009 at 4:09 pm
Lee, You continue to provide insightful and timely information that helps us to continue to hone our leadership skills and make us better managers. Thanks so much for your wisdom and continued support!2. Jim McCall says:
November 4, 2009 at 8:22 pm
. . . but like anything, it is what you do with what you have that matters No doubt and never under estimate your own talents and never be afraid to learn new ones.
Leave a ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.2011 Lee Cockerell, LLC. All rights reserved. Entries (RSS).
RESPONSES TO THE TIIME MANAGEMENT QUESTIIONNAIIREEach of the questions in the Time Management Questionnaire is discussed in the following pages, the numbers here corresponding to those in the questionnaire. 1. UNDERTAKING WORK AS IT APPEARS, RATHER THAN IN ORDER
OF PRIORITY.This is one of the most common sources of poor time management. Many of us work in a haphazard manner, too busy trying to cope with whatever comes our way to invest a few minutes daily in establishing our work priorities. It reminds me of a story of the wood chopper who was so busy trying to chop down trees with his very blunt axe, that he complained he could never manage the time to sharpen his axe. In a similar manner, so many of us work ineffectively, yet we complain that we do not have the time to improve our effectiveness through learning better time management and other stress reducing techniques. Setting Priorities Write down all those tasks which need to be done. Identify them by importance and urgency. If a task is urgent but trivial, give priority to it, but ensure that you do not spend any more time on it than you need to. A task that is both urgent and important should naturally be given high priority. Do not make the very common mistake of spending your time on less important and non-urgent tasks simply because you enjoy doing them or because the most urgent and important tasks appear boring and daunting!
2. ACCEPTING UNIMPORTANT INTERRUPTIONS WHEN WORKING ON AN URGENT TASK.Many tasks require concentrated effort and there is nothing more frustrating than a barrage of relatively unimportant interruptions when you are trying to complete an urgent report or some other task requiring considerable concentration. People who complete a time log over a weeks duration are often astounded at how much time is wasted through unscheduled and unimportant interruptions. Naturally, we cannot avoid all unscheduled interruptions, but we can often take steps to improve the situation. Firstly, practice being assertive with those people who are insensitive to signs or hints that you are very busy. Saying Sorry, Ian I dont have time to talk now, because I have an urgent report to complete can save considerable time and bottled up tension on your part. If you wish to work uninterruptedly, advise your secretary or the switchboard operator that you will be unavailable for anything but the most urgent phone calls. If you have your own office, a closed door is also a reasonable indicator that you do not wish to be disturbed, although there are always a few who choose to ignore this sign. Sometimes it can help to set aside certain times each day for consultations and phone calls. It can also be useful to schedule some uninterrupted time for high priority tasks each day, picking those times (usually early in the morning) at which you operate most effectively.For more information on how to use this publication more effectively, contact email@example.com Jo Gibney of Organise Now! 2006
3. SAYING YES TO WORK REQUESTS, EVEN WHEN UNSUITABLE OR UNREASONABLE.As Edwina C Bliss (Getting Things Done) states, perhaps the most effective of all the time saving techniques ever developed is the frequent use of the word no. Being able
to say no (even to ones boss at times) is an assertion skill which can, and should, be developed. 4. PUTTING OFF TASKS WHICH ARE DAUNTING OR UNINTERESTING. Too many of us are experts at procrastination, but keep postponing doing something about it. Albert Ellis maintains that many of us act upon the irrational belief that it is easier to postpone doing something daunting or unpleasant than to tackle it immediately. Such a belief is irrational because putting off daunting or unpleasant tasks only magnifies the problem a molehill can become a veritable mountain in our own mind and through procrastination, we can help to make tasks become more difficult than they would have been had we tackled them immediately. So often we let the power of negative thinking make a task appear more unpleasant or difficult than it is in reality. When a problem seems enormous or overwhelming, it can be helpful to try and cut it down to a more realistic size. One effective way to cut the problem down to size is to divide it into more manageable parts and then tackle these tasks one at a time.
5. ALLOWING YOUR WORKING SURROUNDINGS TO BECOME DISORGANISED AND MESSY.The problem with a disorganised and messy work environment is that it can create frustration, a sense that you are not getting anywhere with your work and also be distracting when you are trying to concentrate on particular tasks. In addition, significant time can be wasted looking for items which should normally be easily located. In this respect, an efficient filing system can make a big difference and while everything else often tends to get precedence over filing, it is an important task and should be carried out systematically.
6. COMPLETING WORK YOURSELF WHICH SHOULD BE DELEGATED TO SUBORDINATES.As stated earlier in the manual, many managers have problems with this one, for a variety of reasons. Some do not trust their subordinates with jobs of any importance, for fear of possible mistakes. Others will be reluctant to pass on any work involving prestige, challenge or enjoyment and will only delegate those jobs seen as boring or routine. Sometimes managers will not delegate tasks because they consider themselves to be able to complete those tasks more quickly and effectively. Some managers will not delegate because they are not prepared to spend the necessary time ensuring their subordinates understand what is required and providing assistance where needed. Other managers are not sufficiently assertive, being fearful of subordinates negative responses to being given more work. Sometimes your subordinates may not respond as positively to your attempts at delegation as you would like. It may be that they are lacking in confidence and a good deal of demonstrated trust and support is needed on your part. They may have fear ofFor more information on how to use this publication more effectively, contact firstname.lastname@example.org Jo Gibney of Organise Now! 2006
failure, fear of being criticised by yourself or others if they do not perform adequately, or they may complain (justly or unjustly) that they do not have the time, knowledge or resources to complete the task you wish to delegate. In some instances, a subordinate may be just plain lazy and your assertiveness is needed to ensure the work is done. In delegating work and assessing its performance, it is important to be able to give negative or positive feedback, depending on which is appropriate. Unfortunately, too many managers are adept at giving the former, but not the latter. Both have their place.
7. ACCEPTING WORK REQUESTS, WHICH ARE REALLY SOMEONE ELSES RESPONSIBILITY.Refer again to the comments made in relation to Question 3. The ability to say no is important, even if this applies to jobs inherited by you in a new position which are not rightfully your responsibility. If you are uncertain about whether certain work requests
are your responsibility, check your job description or discuss the matter with your superior.
8. RARELY TAKING BREAKS AT WORK.When you are grossly overworked it is tempting to cut out all breaks, including lunch, morning and afternoon tea. However, none of us can work effectively for 8 10 hours without a break and for the sake of both our sanity and effectiveness, we need to take reasonable breaks. Even a quick, brisk walk, some isometric or yoga exercises or a few minutes meditation/relaxation can often give your mind and body the break they need.
9. DEALING WITH THE SAME MATERIAL SEVERAL TIMES, WHEN IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DEALT WITH IN ONE SITTING.Are you sometimes guilty of starting a task, spending some time on it and then baulking at the complexity of the task or difficulty of the decision(s) to be made, you throw it in the pending tray or back to the in-tray? Many of us repeat this process over and over again, preferring to devote our energies to easier or more interesting tasks and waste considerable time in the process of doing so. Whenever possible, finish whatever you start. If a task is too large to be completed in one sitting then attempt to break the task into identifiable and manageable portions and complete one or more of these portions at a time. This procedure creates a great feeling of accomplishment and involves less waste of time re-orienting yourself each time you return to the task. 10. REGULARLY TAKING WORK HOME WITH YOU ON EVENINGS OR
WEEKENDS.It is very easy to get caught up in the habit of regularly taking work home with you on weekends and evenings. In so doing, it may be appropriate to ask yourself a few questions: If I managed my time more effectively, would this still be necessary? Am I continually putting my work ahead of my family and/or friends as a priority? Has work become an escape from a certain unpleasant or difficult situation (e.g. difficulties with a spouse?) If so, is it making the situation worse? Has work become a means of filling a void in my life?For more information on how to use this publication more effectively, contact email@example.com Jo Gibney of Organise Now! 2006
Am I addicted to work because it basically provides the sole basis of meaning to my life? Am I driven by the need to prove myself to be indispensable, or be somewhat of a martyr? I dont wish to suggest that taking home work with you on a regular basis is a sin. Rather, it is important for you to question management of your time, the priorities in your life and the reason for your behaviour, if work is continually depriving you of most of your leisure time.
11. GIVING SUBORDINATES VERY LITTLE FEEDBACK (POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE) ON THEIR PERFORMANCE.You will be able to manage your own time more effectively if your subordinates are doing their jobs properly. Being human, we all make mistakes at times and it is important to provide your subordinates with negative feedback when mistakes are made. However, there are different ways of doing this. Giving negative feedback in a loud, aggressive manner to a subordinate in the presence of other colleagues is not the best way. Furthermore, positive reinforcement is a more powerful motivator for getting the best out of your staff than negative reinforcement. Let them know when they have performed a task well and you can be sure they will want to continue performing well.
12. NOT TRUSTING SUBORDINATES WITH VARIOUS TASKS IN CASE THEY MAKE MISTAKES.
As stated earlier, your subordinates are human and therefore have every likelihood of making mistakes occasionally (dont you?). However, they will not develop new skills and self confidence unless you provide them with learning opportunities. The chances of your subordinates making mistakes are lessened if you give clear instructions and appropriately monitor progress on any delegated tasks (this does not mean breathing down their necks all the time). It is obviously important to give your staff tasks which match their capabilities and skills (or capacity to acquire new skills).
13. NOT REQUESTING EXTRA STAFF OR RESOURCES EVEN IF EXTREMELY NECESSARY.Some of us suffer from a martyr complex, being determined to tackle an exorbitantly high work load for extended periods, even if it kills us (it sometimes does). Others have poorly developed assertiveness skills and are not prepared to make a case for extra resources, even when there is a crying need for them. Inadequate staff or resources can often occur if an organisation is either rapidly expanding, with increased workload not being matched by increased staff numbers, or experiencing difficult times (a reduced number of staff being required to cope with the same workload). You owe it to your staff and yourself to request extra resources if your section is overworked and there is some likelihood (however small) of obtaining additional resources.
14. WASTING CONSIDERABLE TIME ON UNIMPORTANT PHONE CALLS/LITERATURE.For more information on how to use this publication more effectively, contact firstname.lastname@example.org Jo Gibney of Organise Now! 2006
The best way to determine how much time is wasted on unimportant phone calls and literature is to keep a time log for a week. Like many others, you may be surprised at how much time you can save by being more disciplined in this respect. If an abundance of glossy, relatively unimportant magazines and reports passes over your desk each week, consider reading them while going to and from work or during breaks. Alternatively, your secretary (if you have one) can be instructed to peruse such literature and mark any relevant items for your attention. Likewise your secretary can also be directed to pre-screen telephone calls thus saving you the time of having to attend to unnecessary ones.
15. ASSIGNING WORK TO PENDING CATEGORY, WHEN IT SHOULD BE DEALT WITH ON THE SPOT.The danger with a pending tray is that it can become the easy way out you consequently delay making decisions that could be made immediately. Avoid the temptation to develop a massive Pending tray (or one at all, for that matter) by making immediate decisions on all incoming mail and tasks, as indicated in the response to Question 9.
16. KEEPING AN EXCESSIVE (OR INADEQUATE) AMOUNT OF PAPERWORK.Several years ago, the British retail chain, Marks and Spencer, led a war on excess paperwork, by scrutinising all procedures and relying on the motto if in doubt throw it out, to dispense with any unnecessary paperwork. Within a year 120 tons of forms, sheets, cards, etc were thrown out by the firm and the subsequent emphasis on simplified procedures appeared to be at least partly responsible for the substantial profit improvements in the following years. 17. OFTEN HAVING DISORGANISED, UNNECESSARILY LONG OR
OVERLY FREQUENT MEETINGS.The fact that films are made on this specific topic by John Cleese and other celebrities, indicates that meetings can be significant time wasters. While well organised, properly directed meetings can be highly effective, the reverse is also true. Some important questions relevant to whether or not particular meetings are effective are:
Are they really necessary or have they become a substitute for action? Are agendas concise, specifically indicating areas to be covered and the decisions needing to be reached? Are they sent to all meeting participants sufficiently in advance of the meeting? Do meetings start and finish at the schedules times? Are decisions made and responsibilities assigned, whenever possible, for each item covered in the meeting? Are all participants quite clear about these decisions and responsibilities? Are concise minutes of each meeting sent within a reasonable time? Do you need to attend the meeting or can this responsibility be delegated? Have the meetings ceased to serve the purpose for which they were originally established? Does the meeting comprise of an appropriately sized group and do all participants have a chance to contribute, or do one or two people tend to dominate the meetings?For more information on how to use this publication more effectively, contact email@example.com Jo Gibney of Organise Now! 2006
18. LACKING CERTAIN SKILLS OR EQUIPMENT WHICH COULD BE REASONABLY ACQUIRED AND RESULT IN CONSIDERABLE TIME SAVING.The last twenty years have seen tremendous changes in the workplace, with most offices now using standard equipment that did not exist two decades ago. A large variety of electronic and computing equipment is now within reach of all businesses and there is no excuse for not taking advantage of at least some of these time saving devices. More and more managers have found basic keyboard skills to be of great use, and their subordinates would also do well to upgrade their report writing and letter writing skills. One final point many people carry a portable tape recorder and use this on the way to and from work to record ideas, letters for typing and so on or simply to learn a language or listen to inspiring tapes.
19. NEGLECTING TO COMMUNICATE ESSENTIAL INFORMATION TO YOUR STAFF.As a manager, you will be in frequent receipt of information which is not normally accessible to your staff. It is very easy to overlook the importance of providing your staff with such information. Keeping your staff informed, either on an informal basis or through say, weekly meetings, will not only keep them in touch with organisational developments, but will also positively motivate them in their work, as it will give them an increased sense of being part of the team.
20. HAVING CONSDERABLE DIFFICULTY MAKING DECISIONS.If you fall within this category, bear in mind that continual indecision might have worse repercussions than abiding by a decision and subsequently discovering that your rejected alternative was preferable after all. If finding it hard to make a particular decision, you may benefit by asking yourself the following questions: Have I made this decision bigger and more stressful than it needs to be? What is the worst thing that can happen if I make the wrong decision? Do I have an exaggerated fear of failure? Do I always tend to imagine the worst possible scenario happening? How often does the worst scenario happen and to what extent am I encouraging it with my negative thinking? Is my indecision related to my difficulty in being assertive with those people who will be affected by the subsequent decision? Have I properly explored the various possible solutions for this problem or am I caught in a rigid line of thinking?
What decision would a totally objective person make? Some decisions are obviously more important and have more far-reaching consequences than others. Such decisions will need more careful consideration of the various possible consequences than would more trivial decisions. Ultimately, however, there is no substitute for action!For more information on how to use this publication more effectively, contact firstname.lastname@example.org Jo Gibney of Organise Now! 2006
21. ALLOWING YOUR SUBORDINATES TO BECOME TOO DEPENDENT ON YOU AND NOT ENCOURAGING THEM TO USE THEIR OWN INITIATIVE.The answers to Questions 6 and 13 are also relevant here. Your attitude to your subordinates will largely determine the extent of their dependence and lack of initiative. A demonstration of trust, support and keenness for them to develop skills and initiative will have a positive effect with most workers. Some of your subordinates may have come from a work environment where initiative, positive reinforcement and two way communication is not encouraged. In such cases, extra patience and understanding will be needed on your part, while these workers gradually start to act upon the more positive messages they are receiving.
22. NOT GIVING YOUR STAFF THE TRAINING NEEDED TO CARRY OUT THEIR JOB EFFECTIVELY.It is particularly important for new staff to be given the necessary training and support for them to be able to work effectively and to feel an identification with the job, the department and organisation. During the first weeks, a new employee will probably feel stressed and insecure as she/he grapples with the demands of the job, the codes and the practices of the organisation. Clear instructions, continued support and friendly faces make all the difference during these initial weeks. As stated elsewhere in this manual, new staff may be reluctant to approach you regularly for assistance, either for fear of appearing stupid or because they do not wish to place an extra burden on an already over worked boss. In these cases, you may need to reassure your staff that their ability to come to grips with the requirements of their job is of prime concern to you and that they should not hesitate to seek support when needed.
23. WORKING AS A FIRE FIGHTER OR CRISIS MANAGER, RATHER THAN TAKING TIME TO ESTABLISH GOALS AND CREATIVELY SEEK THE BEST WAYS TO ACHIEVE THESE GOALS.Many managers have difficulty in concentrating their energy on larger, important tasks, because of the numerous interruptions they have to contend with each day. In similar fashion, managers often find they are so busy responding to requests and pressure from various sources that they spend very little time on establishing and achieving longer term goals.For more information on how to use this publication more effectively, contact email@example.com Jo Gibney of Organise Now! 2006
24. FREQUENTLY LACKING THE CONCENTRATIVE POWERS TO SEE TASKS THROUGH TO THE END.Many of us waste considerable time attempting to do more than one task at a time, when a particular task might require a sustained period of concentration. Different tasks, be they the drafting of minutes or an agenda for a meeting, the writing of a report or extensive correspondence, etc, require sustained concentration. The principle of priorities applies to these tasks in other words, depending on the priority of these tasks, interruptions generally should not be allowed unless they are particularly important or of a higher priority than the task being undertaken. Wherever possible, tasks should be completed in one sitting, rather than coming back to them numerous
times and having to re-orient oneself each time.
25. SPENDING AN UNNECESSARILY LONG TIME DRAFTING CORRESPONDENCE, COMPLETING REPORTS, ETC BECAUSE OF PERFECTIONIST TENDENCIES OR FEARS OF INADEQUACY.While it is very normal and advisable to strive for excellence in whatever you do, an excessive striving for perfection can be both stressful and counter productive. While certain practitioners (such as doctors, research scientists and air traffic controllers) cannot be content with near enough is good enough, managers need to be able to refine their quest for excellence with a pragmatic understanding of when near enough is not just good enough, but in fact the appropriate course of action. For example, auditors were obsessed with such matters as ensuring that a companys petty cash was balanced down to the last cent. They have now become realistic and cost effective and are presently more concerned with ensuring that a companys procedures and policies are properly adhered to. As a consequence, random checks rather than comprehensive analyses are now made of petty cash and similar items.
26. NOT ASSERTIVELY EXPRESSING THOUGHTS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVING WORK EFFECTIVENESS FOR FEAR OF REJECTION, DISAPPROVAL OR ROCKING THE BOAT.Your work group may be less effective than it could be, simply because you (and other members) are hesitant to contribute suggestions for improving work practices (and consequently, a better use of time). If this is so, it may be that your boss has never actively encouraged positive suggestions or is rigidly set in the traditional way of solving problems. In such a case, you have my sympathies, but you may nevertheless find that suggestions put forward in a very tactful and diplomatic way might meet with some approval. It may be that your organisation is very hidebound by traditional practices and procedures, by the 'right' way of doing things. It is obvious that individuals who are normally creative and resourceful will not use this faculty if it is never encouraged or accepted by the organisation. Managers have considerable potential for either harnessing or stifling the creative abilities of their subordinates, depending on whether they actively encourage or discourage two way communication and the sharing of ideas. Which type of manager are you?For more information on how to use this publication more effectively, contact firstname.lastname@example.org Jo Gibney of Organise Now! 2006
27. LETTING YOUR CAREER PATH JUST HAPPEN RATHER THAN TAKING POSITIVE STEPS TOWARD ACHIEVING DESIRABLE AND REALISTIC LIFE GOALS.Many people who feel trapped in a mediocre job or organisation are extremely good at rationalising why there is nothing they can do to change the situation. Some examples: The jobs terrible, but Ive only three years to go until long service leave. People my age cant change jobs. In fact, Im lucky to have a job. Id need a degree to get any further - all those years of hard work are not worth it. My boss treats me like dirt, but at least the money is good and the other staff are OK. Ive become too specialised, there is no way I could change careers now. Nobody is suggesting that making career changes is easy, but be aware of those situations in which you are simply choosing the path of least resistance, even though you are thoroughly dissatisfied with where your job is now taking you. If you feel you are getting nowhere in your current position, take some time to consider what steps you can take to improve your career, either within or outside your present organisation. You may need to undertake further study, make appropriate contacts or develop extra skills over a considerable time frame to achieve your goals, but isnt it worth the effort?
Since we spend such a high proportion of our waking life at work, surely its worth a reasonable investment of time and energy to ensure that we
57 Time-Management Hacks for College StudentsMost college students learn very quickly the value of their time when theyre struggling to balance work, school and a social life. With so much to do it can be easy to become overwhelmed, stressed and eventually burnt out. Students can help themselves stay sane and still get everything done by developing good time management skills early on. These skills will not only be valuable during their time at school but can carry over later into the workplace. Here are some great ways for students to make the most of their time, stay productive and still have fun. Basics You have to start somewhere, and these tips can help you learn the basics of time management.1. Write things down. With so much going on its hard to remember every little thing you have to do unless you write it down of course. Get a student planner or a notebook to take down all your important engagements, assignments and more.
2. Dont take too many hours. Unless youre ultra ambitious, taking more than 18 hours a semester is unnecessary and will result in extra stress and less time to concentrate on each class. Take a reasonable amount of classes each semester so you wont feel completely overwhelmed. 3. Stay organized. Youll save yourself loads of time later by staying organized from the get-go. Instead of having to hunt around for notes, assignments and misplaced papers, keeping them all in one place makes studying and doing homework easier and less stressful. 4. Focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking may seem like a good idea, but really youll get more done by focusing your energy on one task at a time. Once youve finished one thing you can check it off your list and move onto the next. 5. Take charge of your time. At the end of the day, only one person has control over how you spend your time, and thats you. Take charge of your day, get important things done and learn to say no if you have to. 6. Resist the urge to procrastinate. Everyone knows how hard it is to want to stay in and study for finals when its perfect outside or youve just gotten a new video game. The world is full of distractions, and to really be effective at managing your time you have to find a way to ignore them when it counts. Give yourself little breaks as rewards for not putting off tasks. 7. Avoid taking classes on material youve already learned. This may seem like a "well duh" sort of thing, but many colleges will require you to take courses that may be over things you already know. See if you can test out of these courses instead to save yourself the time and effort of studying things you already know. 8. Get an early start to your day. College students arent usually known as early bird types, but you can be doing yourself a huge favor by getting up early. Youll have more time during the day to work on homework and study, which will leave your evenings free to do things you enjoy. 9. Learn material the first time around. If you dont understand something in your classes dont just gloss over it and assume youll learn it later. Take the time to ensure you learn it the first time. It can help you to more easily understand concepts that follow and will save you the time of revisiting the topic later. 10.Control your surroundings. While you cant always make your study environment distraction free, you can do your best to create an environment that is most conducive to getting work done. Go to the library, put on headphones or whatever it takes to keep you from straying off task. 11.Have confidence in your abilities. Sometimes your schedule will seem almost impossible. Have confidence that you can do things, and you may surprise yourself when you truly step up to the challenge. Youll never know how much you can do unless you test yourself, so give yourself opportunities to shine, even under pressure. 12.Get the most out of class. If youre just going to class to sleep or talk to you friends, youre wasting time you could be using to do other things. Read over class materials ahead of time so you have a rough idea of what class will be about. This will allow you to concentrate on the elements of the lessons that are truly important and make it easier for you to study in the future. 13.Know whats important to you. Everyone has a different idea of what they want to take out of college. Some people want to get perfect grades and
others are more concerned with making friends and building relationships. Figure out what things are most important to you and concentrate the bulk of your energies on those.
Studying While you may not have that many hours of classes each week, you still have to account for the time youll need to spend studying for them. Here are some tips on how you can fit your study time into your schedule.14.Take advantage of downtime. If you take a long bus ride each day or have some spare time while you do your laundry, why not use it to get a little studying in? The less time you waste during downtime, the more time youll have later. 15.Set goals. It can be hard to get motivated to study when you dont have a clear goal in mind. Set a goal of how much you want to get done and try your best to meet it. 16.Use the syllabus. Your syllabus will let you know when and how fast youll be covering topics in your class. You can use it to get ahead when you have extra time or to know when and what youll need to work on each day to keep up. 17.Work to boost your memory. Youll spend much less time studying if you can remember what you study the first time around. Easier said than done, however, but you can play games, read books and eat foods that will help keep you at your maximum memory potential. 18.Learn what works for you. Different methods work better for different people. If youre struggling with a certain way youve been studying, try something else. You may find it takes you less time and that you get a lot more out of it by making a simple change. 19.Study difficult subjects first. Theres no sense in putting off the worst for last it will only encourage you to procrastinate and get less done in the long run. Get the hard stuff out of the way and youll have a much happier rest of the day. 20.Work in short blocks with breaks. You wont be doing yourself any favors by pulling marathon study sessions with no breaks. Studies have shown that the most effective way to get through material is to go through it in smaller sessions and to give your mind and eyes time to rest in between with short breaks. 21.Team up with classmates. Theres no need to study alone if you can get more out of working with your classmates. Sometimes collaboration can be a much faster way to get through material, and it can be a great help if youre struggling with certain concepts. Just make sure your study sessions dont get too off track. 22.Avoid skipping class. While everyone skips a class now and again to catch up on sleep or to get other things done they feel are more pressing, try not to make a habit of it. Going to class will make it easier for you to keep up with the material and will give you the chance to ask questions. 23.Create a strategy. Youll get the most out of your study time if you go into it with a strategy in mind. Focus on certain subjects first or spend a little extra time on topics that you struggle with. Whatever you do, make sure it works for you and makes the most of your time.
Homework Homework is rarely fun but you still need to get it done, and the sooner the better. Here are some tips on making homework as painless and time-friendly as possible.24.Prioritize. If youve got a number of homework assignments, focus on the ones that are due the soonest or that will take you the most time first. Once you get those out of the way youll feel better about concentrating on the others. 25.Dont wait until the last minute. While for most people this is easier said than done, waiting until the last minute to complete homework is not only stressful but it can mean that you get a lot less out of the work that you put in. Give yourself enough leeway with time to ensure you wont have to rush around to get things done. 26.Get ahead if you can. If you find that you have some extra time in your day, use it to get ahead in the classes that you can. Youll thank yourself later, on a day when you have loads of extra work to do and youll have one less thing to worry about. 27.Assign a specific amount of time the project should take. One way to keep yourself moving forward and not to waste time is to assign a specific amount of time that you think a project should take and try to fit it into that time frame. Sometimes this isnt always possible, but if you know about how long it takes you to complete a certain kind of assignment, it can help keep you on task. 28.Find your peak hours. Everyone has hours of the day when they simply perform better mentally. Figure out what your peak times are, and do your hardest work during these times so that youll have the energy to get through them more quickly. 29.Break up large projects. Dont let yourself get overwhelmed with huge research projects. Break them up into sections which will be easier to tackle and will allow you to complete a small part of the project each day. 30.Work smarter. You dont have to work harder to get more done, just smarter. If you know you have two projects that need research at the library, work on both at the same time and save yourself an extra trip. 31.Set mini deadlines. If you know youre a chronic procrastinator, you can help keep yourself working on homework assignments, especially larger ones, by creating mini-deadlines within the assignment. This will help to keep you working through the assignment and prevent it from all having to be done at the last minute. 32.Ask for help. Sometimes youll have assignments that you simply wont understand no matter how many times you look through them. While figuring things out on your own is rewarding, at a certain point it can be much more time efficient to simply ask for help from your professors or classmates. 33.Dont put off projects youre dreading. No one wants to think about starting a giant research project that isnt due until the end of the semester. The problem is that projects like these usually get put off until the end of the semester, and then you have very little time to put them together. If youre dreading a project, do it little by little or just get it out of the way all at once. Youll feel a million times better once its out of the way and you wont have to worry about it anymore.
Scheduling Its essential for time management that you keep a schedule and stick to it.
34.Avoid over-commitment. While it would be great if you could cram in every activity youd like to into your schedule, the reality is that that probably isnt going to happen. Give yourself a little breathing room between classes and study time to simply relax, watch tv or even eat dinner. 35.Use a calendar or planner. Dont try to keep your schedule in your head. Eventually youll forget something, and it might be something pretty important. Keep track of your assignments and engagements on a calendar, either online or off, so you cant forget things easily. 36.Account for the unknown. Even the best schedules can be upset by an unexpected event. Whether you have a birthday party to attend that you didnt know about or you somehow get sick or injured, make sure your schedule allows for enough flexibility to accommodate lifes little surprises. 37.Keep track of how your time is spent. One thing that can help you to make a better schedule for yourself is to see how long it really takes you to get certain tasks done. Keep a record of the time you spend on each thing so you can get a better idea of how much time to allow yourself in the future. 38.Stick to your plan. If youve got a plan of how to get an assignment done, try to stick to it. Its easy to become distracted and to want to slack off, but if you stick to your initial plan youll have more free time in the long run. 39.Work out a schedule at the beginning of each week. Figure out what you need to get done each week on Sunday or Monday so that you know what to expect and how your week will play out. 40.Write down major tests and due dates at the beginning of the semester. Your syllabus will likely tell you the dates when major projects, test and assignments will be due. Put these dates on your calendar immediately so that youll be able to work around them. 41.Set up daily study times. One thing you can easily add to your schedule is a few hours each day that are just dedicated to studying. Sometimes youll need less time and sometimes more, but making room ahead of time can be very beneficial to getting things done. 42.Keep trying new systems. Your first way of scheduling yourself and managing your time may not be as effective as you like, and you may find that youre wasting a lot of time. As the old adage goes, if at first you dont succeed try, try again. Eventually youll find a method that suits you. 43.Create realistic to-do lists. Who wouldnt love to get a whole two page todo list done each day? The reality is that most of us simply dont have the time or the willpower to get that much done in a day. Give yourself realistic goals and you wont end up disappointed when you dont finish everything you planned.
Work Students who work and go to school have to work extra hard to balance their responsibilities. Here are some ways you can make the most of your time at work.44.Find work on campus. Youll save yourself a lot of time commuting if you can find a job thats located on campus. This will make it much easier to go to work between classes. 45.Study and work at the same time. If your jobs allows you to, try reading or working on assignments while youre at work. While not every job will offer this luxury, if you can do it, make sure to take advantage of it.
46.Keep a flexible schedule. Ensure that you find a job that allows you to keep a fairly flexible schedule. Otherwise you may end up unemployed if you need time off to study or to prepare for exams. 47.Try work-study programs first. Many schools offer work-study programs that allow you to work on campus. Some may even give you college credits for your work so long as it applies to your major. 48.Freelance. One way to ensure that you can work when you have time to work is to offer freelance services. Artists can paint portraits and design websites, and many studious types can offer their tutoring services to local high school or grade school children.
Personal Time While doing work and learning is the main goal of college, having a good time isnt far behind. Here are some ways to help you have fun while maintaining your time management.49.Use fun things as motivators. Theres nothing that works as motivation to get things done like the promise of doing something fun once its completed. Use this to your advantage to speed up your work. 50.Always make time for things you enjoy. Whether youre going to college fresh out of high school or going back as an adult, its important to make time for the things you enjoy doing amidst all your school assignments. Ensure that youre scheduling in enough time for fun so you wont get burnt out. 51.Allow time for clubs, sports and other activities. If youre the type of person that loves to participate in clubs or sporting activities, limit the amount of hours you take so that youll have enough time to enjoy playing and bonding with other students. Remember, this is also an important part of your college experience. 52.Take care of yourself. Having too many classes on your plate can sometimes mean that you dont have enough food on it. Make sure you are eating well and that you are making time to stay healthy even when youre super busy. Otherwise you could end up sick. 53.Learn to say no. Perhaps one of the most important things in time management is learning to say no, even to things you enjoy doing. Sometimes turning down friends invitations is an integral part of making your life easier, however hard it may be to do. 54.Dont schedule out sleep. Sleep is incredibly important, and if youre not getting enough, your grades could start to suffer. Always make sure to schedule yourself an adequate amount of time each night to rest and recuperate. 55.Leave time for yourself. While hanging out with friends is fun, sometimes you just need to set aside time for doing things that you like to do alone. 56.Understand that all your time is important. The time you spend doing assignments is no more important than the time you spend relaxing and being with friends. Understand that your life has to maintain a balance, and schedule your time accordingly. 57.Set boundaries. Dont let your schoolwork overtake your life. Set some guidelines as to how much time youll dedicate to work each day and how much time youll dedicate to enjoying yourself. This will help you to maintain more of a balanced life and keep you from getting too burnt out with school.