Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
I don’t know about you, but there are many days that I must ask myself, where did the day go?
We get busy, often with unproductive time wasters, to soon realize that we have wasted many valuable hours of the day.
Time Management Is A Focused Discipline
Teaching people how to manage their time has become a booming industry.
If you search for office time management books on Amazon, you will find 60,000 results.
This demonstrates the universal need that people have with managing this limited resource.
Moreover, every one of us is challenged to make good use of our time.
We all struggle with managing our time and controlling those things that steal our precious time.
Things like social media, unproductive emails, Internet search rabbit trails, or conversations that go off on time-wasting tangents.
These are all examples of things we do that rob us of one of the most valuable resources we have—our time.
Good Use Of Time Equates To Success
Personal time management dictates how well we can juggle our work responsibilities with our home and social obligations.
The most successful organizations have figured out the importance of helping people spend time on those things that align with strategic objectives.
A 2013 McKinsey Quarterly report suggests that of 1500 executives interviewed, only 52 percent spent their time on strategic objectives. Time management is increasingly becoming an organizational issue they need to manage.
“Leadership time…too often gets treated as though it were limitless, with all good opportunities receiving high priority regardless of the leadership capacity to drive them forward.”
Organizational time management is a cultural issue that leaders must address at the strategic level.
When the organization’s senior leaders are accountable for how they use their time, other levels of employees will follow suit.
“[F]ew organizations treat executive time as the finite and measurable resource it is.”
Follow these six tips and find that time is not an enemy.
6 Ways To Better Manage Your Time At Work
1. Confront the Perception
A misguided perception for all levels of an organization is that time is infinite.
Confronting and challenging this perception is the first step in improving time management for everyone.
For instance, discuss time management at regular staff meetings. Facilitate a conversation with employees and simply ask them where they think time is wasted. Use this conversation to spark thoughts and ideas on how to recapture some of that lost time.
2. Create Time Budgets
Budgeting and allocating employee time is as important as budgeting and allocating financial resources to organizational programs and initiatives.
Create time budgets by determining what percentage of time employees should spend on key responsibilities.
This can be as simple as a daily time schedule.
For example, I worked with an executive who was only available for business meetings in the morning so he could spend his afternoons working on key responsibilities. He set the standard for time management for the rest of the company.
“Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed,
nothing else can be managed.”
Peter Drucker, management consultant and author
3. Stop Doing Too Many Things
This one traps all of us.
For instance, we have a great idea for a new project or program to support global strategy.
Unfortunately, we often neglect the important step of looking at current projects and initiatives that may no longer add value or contribute to organizational priorities.
It’s important to intentionally look at and routinely review what initiatives are no longer viable to free up limited time resources for new initiatives.
Taking the time to weed out unnecessary tasks will ultimately free time for everyone.
Do this, and your employees will thank you!
Learning the skill of re-prioritizing and knowing which piece of paper to push to the front of the pile are skills all leaders must learn to master.
An urgent matter today may resolve itself by tomorrow.
Staying aware and intentionally prioritizing is a critical step toward time control.
For instance, emails, texts, and phone calls inundate us.
It’s necessary to focus on those things that are mission-critical while allowing time for urgent matters perhaps to resolve themselves.
This is when strategy and goals play an essential part in time management. You simply prioritize tasks based on how they support strategic goals.
5. Hire Strong Administrative Support
Good administrative assistants are worth every penny because they help leaders balance competing priorities and manage their limited time.
These support people can help a manager stay focused on key priorities by handling other issues and tasks in the office.
For example, have the admin take notes at planning meetings and ask her to follow up on team member job assignments.
Delegate those things an admin can take care of, and you will be able to add valuable time to your day.
6. Keep a Time Log
Spend a few weeks keeping a time log.
Make a list of those things you do that are the most important to meeting objectives and pay attention to how much time you spend doing them.
Include a category for time killers.
This exercise can be an interesting revelation and helps to identify those things that rob our valuable time.
There is never enough time in the day.
We all know that there is never enough time in a day. Successful organizations are confident they’re spending their valuable resources doing those things that help to achieve objectives.
Spending a little time thinking about how to use time can result in your most productive time spent!
What things do you do that waste valuable time every day?