Monday, December 24, 2012

Time Management – Key to success

Time is precious and how we can better use our time, is something interesting to all of us. I take this opportunity to share some of my thoughts and experience on the topic, in brief.

1. Developing time management skills

We need to become aware of how we use our time as one resource in organizing, prioritizing, and succeeding in the context of competing activities in the field of business, profession, work place, society, family, etc. Effective Time Management needs practice of good tips in our life. Our goal should be to help ourselves.

2. Myths about time

  1. Time can be managed

  2. Longer or harder you work the more you accomplish

  3. If you want something done right, do it yourself

  4. You aren't supposed to enjoy work

  5. Doing the most in the least amount of time – makes u better

3. Importance of time

  1. Time is money. However, we can make money; but we can't make time or increase time of 24 hours a day available to all of us. An inch of gold cannot buy an inch of time.

  2. If we attend in Time, it is meaningful and also brings respect.

  3. If we wish to lead a satisfied life, we need to devote appropriate time on various activities, and why it is necessary is reflected in the following lines :

Take time to work, it is the price of success

Take time to think, it is the source of power

Take time to play, it is the source of youth

Take time to read, it is the source of wisdom

Take time to love, it is the privilege of God

Take time to serve, it is the purpose of life

Take time to laugh, it is the music of soul

4. Strategies on using time

  1. Effective utilisation of time: It is possible. Let us learn to utilise the available time to achieve personal as well as professional goals. Pareto principle: 20% of your time will produce 80% of your productive output. So let us properly manage at least that 20%?

  2. How do you spend your time each day: Peter Drucker said : "Make sure you know where your time goes." Make chart for last one week - how productively you spent your each hour.

  3. Daily/weekly planner : Don't depend on memory. Create a simple "To Do" list. Write down appointments, and meetings in an electronic/mobile phone or physical paper diary chronologically. First thing in the morning, check what's ahead for the day and always go to sleep knowing you're prepared for tomorrow. You may use a monthly chart so that you can plan ahead. Long-term planners will also serve as a reminder to constructively plan time for yourself.

  4. Prioritize your assignments : Set priorities for daily and weekly tasks. Better to get in the habit of beginning with the most difficult task. You'll be fresh, and have more energy to take them on when you are at your best. For more difficult courses of activity or task, try to be flexible: for example, build in reaction time when you can get feedback on assignments before they are due. See that your time is spent as per your priorities and to fulfil core responsibilities.

  5. Try to concentrate : Determine a place free from distraction. If necessary, cell phone or text messaging may be avoided so that you can maximize your concentration and be free of the distractions that friends or hobbies can bring! You should also have a back-up space that you can escape to, where you can be anonymous, if so required. A change of venue may also bring extra resources. Like, I used to go to a third place for writing of my book as I could not fully concentrate on the book in my normal office. So if all else fails, hide i.e. work from unusual place.

  6. Avoid too many Interruptions and unnecessary drop- ins : Unnecessary calls may be avoided if you have facility of having a Secretary. Try closing your door or arranging your office with a view to discourage unnecessary dropins.

  7. Prior appointment : Develop system of meeting people with prior appointment.

  8. Postpone unnecessary activities : Postpone tasks or routines that can be put off until your important task is finished. This can be the most difficult challenge of time management. Distracting activities will be more enjoyable later without the pressure of the urgent assignment, etc. hanging over our head. Think in terms of pride of accomplishment. Instead of saying "no" learn to say "later".

  9. Learn to say no : Realise that you can't please everyone. So we need to learn to say no, politely expressing our inability in attending some less important programmes or activities.

  10. Keep deadline in mind : It is admirable to be a perfectionist but don't be so at the cost of deadline. So sometime you need to say : Let it go.

  11. Resist the temptation to do small, insignificant tasks first.

  12.  Delegate and outsource what you can : Delegation begins with a deep sense of the value of your own time. Delegating the more routine or predictable part of one's job is only the first step. Delegation is not abdication. Some degree of monitoring and control needs to be maintained. Do not spend time on a work that can be done, by your sub-ordinate. Delegation saves your time and develops sub-ordinates. It improves results by making fuller use of resources. It also implies transferring initiative and authority to another. Delegation is a great motivator. It enriches jobs, improves performance and raises the morale of colleagues / staff.

  13. Information : Gather relevant and complete information before any meeting.

  14. Avoid management by crisis : Avoid management by crisis or fire fighting. Better plan in advance and execute well in time.

  15. New technology : Adopt new technology and get rid of traditional methods of working.

  16. Get better organized : Our work place need to be properly organized to ensure that deadlines are not missed, opportunities are not overlooked, time and money is not wasted, paperwork does not pile up, clients/customers are not lost due to poor service or delay.

  17. Identify resources which might help you.

  18.  How to handle meetings : Make sure it's a working meeting. Don't attend unless there is a set agenda. Ponder : Can the problem be solved or decision reached without a meeting? Ensure that the meeting starts well in time. It is better to ensure that the meeting has a set ending time.

  19. Handling communications and papers to save time : Whenever you go through any communication, examine whether it require action on your part. Does that paper or information already exist elsewhere. Please see whether it is irrelevant or outdated. Ask : Will I really require to use it again? Are there tax or legal implications, if the paper is destroyed? What's the worst thing that could happen if I don't have this paper/info? Does anyone else need this info? – If yes, better send to him.

  20. E-mails : Better Check Email only twice or thrice a day, unless necessary in a given case. Filter and take action, if necessary. Don't print out messages. Better follow the Concept of Green office. Weed out or delete, what is not to be preserved. One major exception: addresses/contact nos.

5. Procrastination or avoiding doing certain jobs

  1. It is world's number one time waster. Banish it from your life. There is no time like "present" to do any work. Let us ask ourselves : why am I putting this off? If there is no valid reason. Better do it.

  2. Do not confuse "reason" with "excuse".

  3. Why do we procrastinate :

  1. Don't know where to start from

  2. To avoid an unpleasant task

  3. Lack of confidence : We're afraid to fail

  4. Waiting for more information

  5. One may think: if you put it off, someone else will do it

  6. You're over-committed

  1. How to overcome procrastination :

  1. SWAP the jobs

  2. Realise : you do not work well under pressure

  3. List the things you have been avoiding

  4. Prioritize them

  1. Get yourself started. Try to do at least one of them each day until you catch up. The Chinese adage of the longest journey starting with a single step has a couple of meanings: First, you launch the project! Second, by starting, you may realize that there are some things you have not planned for in your process. Details of an assignment are not always evident until you begin the assignment. Another adage is that "perfection is the enemy of good", especially when it prevents you from starting! Given that you build in review, roughly draft your idea and get going! You will have time to edit and develop later. What is a first step you can identify for an assignment to get yourself started?

7. To conclude

Yesterday is a "cancelled cheque", Tomorrow is a "promisory note", Today is "ready cash". So, let's use our time in best possible manner. When feasible, delegate. Do not postpone work. Identify time waster(s) and resolve to eliminate them. Add time for relaxation and recreation in your schedule.

Narayan Jain, Advocate   source :