We’re all faced with too much to do these days. But one person’s challenge may not be someone else’s. In order to really maximize the use of your time, you need to have a good understanding about what YOUR unique time management challenges are.
As you review the following 12 time management competencies, ask yourself how well you think you are doing in each of them:
- Analyzing. Do you know where your time is actually going? Where are your time management “leaks” that take up so much of your day? Know what they are so you can prevent them from draining your focus and your effort.
- Attitudes. Do you feel you CAN control your time, or do you feel like a victim who can never get on top of it all? You need to feel you want to take charge of your time in order to take the actions necessary to control it.
- Delegation. You don’t need to be a manager to delegate. In today’s world, team members delegate tasks to each other, and everyone is involved. You need to determine what you can delegate, who you can delegate it to, and the best approach to take with that person.
- Goals. Do you know what your most important long-term goals are? Determine what’s really important, then commit it to a written plan. This will help move you forward with conviction to accomplish it.
- Interruptions. Is your day filled with constant interruptions? Is it difficult to stay on track because of them? In some instances, you may unknowingly setting yourself up to be easily interrupted. Learn to take control of these interruptions and have the ability to accomplish what’s really important.
- Meetings. Are your meetings run well? Do they begin with a clear agenda, and stick to the time allotted? If not, make sure that everyone in the meeting understands why good meeting management is important and structure your meetings differently going forward.
- Planning. Do you prepare a plan each week that helps you stay focused on your most important activities? What about a daily to do list? Both of these should list your most important activities to accomplish first. Just be sure to allow some flexibility in your schedule for the “unexpected” things to pop up.
- Priorities. Can you recognize the difference between what’s really important to do, from all the many urgent things that cross your desk? Identify what’s really important, not just urgent, and then make sure those things are included in your weekly plan. Limit them to your 3 most important priorities for the week in order to stay on track. Don’t allow the trivial things to crowd out your really important things.
- Procrastination. When you’re really honest with yourself, can you admit to procrastinating more than you should? When you begin to recognize that you’re doing it, you are more likely to take action. Break it down into smaller, shorter steps and get started. You’ll probably recognize that it wasn’t so difficult after all.
- Scheduling. Do you schedule “quiet time” during your day for important work or daily planning? This can be a short or longer period of time, but it allows you to accomplish more with fewer interruptions. Also, if you prepare tomorrow’s schedule before you leave work today, you won’t risk starting your day by reacting before you consider what’s really important.
- Team Time. Are you aware of the need to conserve the time of others on your team? Has your team discussed the best way to not distract or waste each other’s time? If not, make sure you discuss with each other the best way to reduce interruptions and barriers to team productivity.
- Written Communication. Do you feel buried underneath paperwork and emails? Do you feel everything is piling up? Screen and sort all incoming communications: take action, read, file or trash. Then develop criteria for what to respond to and what to discard or delegate.
Once you have identified where you primary time challenge areas are, begin to take the actions necessary to manage them effectively. When you do, you’ll be amazed at how much more in control you feel… not to mention how much more productive you will be!
Susan Cullen is President of Quantum Learning Solutions, Inc. To learn more about our live virtual Time Management class and time profile, go to
http://www.quantumlearn.com/online-time-management-course/”>our site or call 800-683-0681.