A common reply to the question of why a particular task has not been completed is, “I have no time.” Is it really the lack of time or an absence of time management? Do we manage time or does time manage us?
Every one of us has only 24 hours in a day. Some manage to make optimal use of these hours, whereas others always find themselves wanting more hours every day. How well we utilise the 24 hours is what leads to good time management.
I offer these tips for time management based on my career and life experience:
- Analyse IOL.
In our factory, we had a machine where frequent tool changes resulted in reduced productivity. As a means of improving this we analysed the IOL – IN Time, OUT Time and LOST Time. IN time is when time is fully utilised for useful activity. LOST time is really time wasted on unnecessary activity — what I would call garbage The success of this concept lies in doing all preparatory work during OUT time (outside the machine) so that the machine was stopped for a very short time for tool change. Using this concept helped productivity, since the amount of IN Time was increased and LOST Time was reduced by avoiding wasteful activities.In time management too, the concept of IOL can be followed effectively by reducing the time lost in unnecessary activities, multi-tasking wherever possible during the leisure time, and maximising the effective action time.
- Be organised.
A lot of time is wasted trying to locate things or even notes /information on one’s computer. If we follow the principle of “a place for everything and everything in its place,” a lot of LOST time can be saved.
- Keep communication concise.
Many of us do not seem to know when to stop a phone conversation. Here again a lot of precious time is wasted in trying to be unnecessarily polite and not limiting the talk time to the absolute necessity.What applies for telephonic conversation, applies equally for face-to-face conversation. Here too, we waste time trying to get our point of view across at any cost. This normally leads to arguments and waste.
Clear communication whether written or spoken is another area where time can be saved. Quite often, communication is done in a lengthy and circuitous way, leading to the time of self and the receiver being wasted.
- Prioritise important over urgent.
The other most common issue affecting our ability to manage our activities is the urgent superseding the important. As a result the important activity always gets pushed to the back, and we complain that we do not have time. A good question to ask is if the urgent is truly urgent. The best way to overcome the urgent superseding the important is to set a time/plan for the important and in spite of whatever urgent matter comes up, attend to it after tackling the important.
- Plan ahead for meetings.
In offices, one of the most common areas of wasted time is in meetings. People tend to make sure their voices are heard whether necessary or not. Moreover the number of meetings being had itself can be questioned. There is a popular saying that in some offices there are meetings to decide when to have the next meeting.I have found that planning the number of meetings to be had weekly and at specific times is the best way to ensure that people talk to the point. We had a meeting plan and every executive made updated status presentations. As a result, meetings never exceeded the time plan. One other way is to schedule meetings near closing time wherein members would be keen to call it a day sooner than later, thereby avoiding unnecessary rambling on.
- Be punctual.
Punctuality plays a large part in our ability to manage time. Whether it is office meetings or a commitment to meet or do a thing, lack of punctuality is a major spoiler. When a meeting is called for at a particular time, if a person is late by even one minute, the actual time lost is number of minutes late multiplied by the number of people waiting. Delay by one person upsets the time plan of the other(s).
I once had a boss whose time sense was so good that you could set your watch based on his arrival.
- Learn to delegate.
Many people suffer from an inability to delegate. This partially comes out of the fear that the subordinate might outperform them and thereby overtake them. By not delegating, a person performs the function that someone less senior could do and thereby loses time that could have been utilised better.
- Get a head start on your day.
Some people sleep late and consequently get up late. As a result they are in a tearing hurry and their plans for the following day, invariably go through the window, with the morning off to a rocky start. Another consequence of this approach is the build-up of stress. A stressed mind is a big enemy to good time management.
- Map out the day.
Clear planning of one’s day well ahead helps with optimal use of one’s time. Ability to stick to the plan religiously would be a major step towards time management. Of course, planning should include a slack of maybe 15 percent to attend to urgent matters, if any crop up.
- Be determined.
I do realise that managing one’s time perfectly is by no means easy. My father always used to say, “Where there is a will, there is a way.”
Effective time management contributes to a peaceful and happy life for all concerned. No wonder the saying goes Time is Money, and I would add … Harmony.
About the Author
Thiagarajan has over 40 years of organizational experience including Harita Seating Systems Limited (formerly Harita Grammer) as CEO for one of their division ; was also Marketing Head of Best & Crompton . He is currently a Management Consultant for companies in Asia Pacific Region. Qualification include : BE Mechanical , MBA from IIM (Ahmedabad) ; specialized courses on Senior Management from Stanford University /NUS Singapore and TQM by AOTS Japan.
Link : https://thiagustales.wordpress.com/2019/01/01/10-tips-to-manage-your-time/