All too often when it comes to trying to find time management solutions we will go on a time management course or alternatively go onto amazon and buy the newest book with the most innovative ideas to finding the best ways to manage your time.
Rarely do people take a few minutes out to look at what they are currently doing with their day. It is so easy to look at where your time goes by just making a time log and keeping it on your desk, so that as you start and finish each task, you log it down with the amount of time it took, as each interruption happens you log it down what the interruption was and how long it took and every time you leave your workstation or desk you do the same.
A time log does not have to be complicated it can be an A4 piece of paper with different headings for example:
|Task||Start time||Finish time||Could it have been delegated||Interruptions
Who why what
You can make up as many or as few columns as you like, you just need to make it work for yourself.
Some of you at this stage are probably saying that will take more time and yes of course it does, but you only need to do this every day for about a week. You will then start to see patterns emerging, from these patterns you can then decide what if anything you want to do about it.
Too many times people are typing keywords into search engines such as “how do you manage your time better”. The strange thing about this is if they just did a basic time log for a week there is no doubt it will help. In fact the results it will show may well be quite alarming to them. Time logs will identify time thieves and the reasons for the interruptions, they will identify tasks that maybe you could have delegated and they will also show you were you waste time yourself or procrastinate over tasks that you should have done.
Finally it will alert you to just how well structured your day is or how unstructured it is.
Often people will go into work and feel that they know what they do all day, but in most jobs the reality is they don’t. A lot of people will arrive at work check their emails and start reacting to the next email or the next comment that someone makes. Of course if you are in a real reactionary type of job this may be the way your job role is and you may not be able to plan and structure your day.
An example of this would be: if your work is manning a telephone line help desk or on an internet live chat and that is your only task, then yes, you may be in a position where whatever you do, it will be difficult to come up with new time management solutions, because your role is totally dependent on reacting to the wants and needs of others.
The purpose of this blog is to just ask questions to make you consider are there time management solutions that you can work on straight away.
Before going into the questions it is always said in business that in order to change you must really want something, in other words you need to know the benefits for you. The question you need to consider before going any further is this:
“If through learning new time management tips or discovering best ways to manage your time ,you suddenly found you were able to leave work on time each night, not bring work home, have a better work life balance, see more of your family and do things you wanted to do, how would you feel?”
But more importantly what would you do with that new found time?
The problem with trying to find best ways to manage your time is that if there is not a strong reason to do it, we will procrastinate over it and not proceed and pardon the pun but it will all be a waste of time!
Here is a self-assessment list of questions that may help you to consider your current situation regarding managing your time and taking control of your day.
- Are you happy with the number of hours you spend at work each week?
- Dom you have to bring work home at night or work at home on weekends when you wish you didn’t have to do this?
- Do you complete a daily to do list each day without fail?
- Do you check to see if there is anything on that list you can pass to others?
- Do you prioritise that list to ensure you are working on the most important task?
- Do you set appointments with your tasks to do them at a specific time that day?
- Do you assign time limits or guesstimate times to those tasks you have booked appointments with?
- Do you keep a clean desk policy at all times?
- Is the only thing on your desk the piece of work you are working on at that time?
- Where possible in an open plan office do you have your desk situated so you are not facing people?
- Where possible in an open plan office is your desk not near the coffee machine, water cooler or printer/photocopier?
- Where possible is your desk not on the run towards the bathrooms or canteen?
- Do you group similar tasks together, in other words if you need to make calls do you try and do them all together?
- Do you know your own body clock, are you a lark or an owl, do you work better in the morning or afternoon and do you prioritise your task around your best times for working?
- Do you delegate correctly to colleagues?
- If you travel do you have tasks you can do while waiting?
- Do you stop to answer questions from others at unplanned times?
- Could some of these questions be avoided if the training was better?
- Do you frequently sit with nothing to do while waiting for others?
- Do you try and find quiet time every day uninterrupted to achieve your most important tasks
- Do you have your email audible auto notification switched off, so as you are not disturbed by new emails coming in?
- Do you choose specific times during the day to check your emails instead of responding each time a new one appears?
- Do other people feel it is okay to stand at your desk and talk?
- Do you ever take on too many tasks because you find it difficult to say no?
- Are you guilty of interrupting others the same as they interrupt you?
When we look at time management tips, time management solutions and how do you manage your time better, we really need to look in the mirror and examine our current situation, in order to see what we can change ourselves that may help.
Time and time again there are small things that can be done to improve time management, some are easy to implement and some are not so easy. If we are serious about looking to see how do you manage your time better, a time management log is important to do.
Also by looking at these 25 questions and answering honestly you may be able to make a few small changes that will help you to put control back in your working day and create a better work life balance for yourself.