|TAPP Time Management Book|
March 5, 2012
Time management is not so much a strict discipline as understanding how to do the right things at the right time for you personally. There are many things that can get in the way of reaching your goals and having a good plan for managing your priorities, just as there are excellent ideas to help with time management. Consider the 4 suggestions below when managing your time.
Start by writing down every task you need to do on a single "to do" list. In other words, do not rely on stacks of paper or sticky notes to remind you what to do. When writing things down, break your bigger projects into many smaller manageable tasks that you need to get done. This will prevent procrastination in ignoring important projects because they seem too big for you to do. Then prioritize your work using only 3 priority levels. Always work on your higher priority tasks before working on lower priorities. Sometimes you may be tempted to do the easy stuff first just because you can do it quickly and get it out of the way. Remember lower priority items may not be the best use of your time. Go for the best quality work you can do in order to eliminate the possibility of future rework for you. However, keep in mind that your work does not have to always be perfect to be good enough to accomplish the need. It is important that you do not over schedule yourself or get bog in the details of every task you need to accomplish.
Also, put all your appointments on a single calendar so you do not have to rely on your memory for appointments. If you leave it to your mind, you will forget something or be late and that something might have be very key to meeting your goals. Consider leaving some flexibility in your planned day otherwise interruptions may spoil your plan and cause you unnecessary stress. Instead of having eight hours packed with meetings and tasks, plan only 6 hours of medium to high priority items and then fill in the remaining two with whatever comes up. You can always pick up the slack time, if any, by completing a lower priority or getting a jump on the tasks for the next day. Be sure to use an agenda for your meetings to keep it on track and end on time. If it is your meeting, be early. If it is someone else’s meeting, don’t be late to the meeting as this is rude and often disruptive to the meeting flow.
Do not fall into the “just say NO” trap. This is not the best solution to keeping your "to do" list on the light-side. If you say yes too often, you may experience work overload. However, do not say no so often that people overlook giving you the opportunity to get in an important project or be part of a possibly career enhancing team. Always consider what you might have to give up when planning a new task or project to your workload. Instead, you should agree to think about new projects within a certain time period and then give your response or offer alternative methods for help to the person requesting your help as soon as you can.
Finally take advantage of technology to save time. Whenever possible, use time management, spreadsheet, email and other internet or communication applications to your advantage for reducing time writing or when doing calculations. But do not become a slave to technology by letting your cell, PDA, pager, or email control your time too much. It may be okay to turn them off or tune them out for a short while as long as people know how to get hold of you in an emergency.