Good time management puts one in control of his life. It reduces stress and enables progress. Some ideas to enable you manage time wisely are explained below.
Prioritizing is about making choices of what to do and what not to do. To prioritize effectively you need to be able to recognize what is important, as well as to see the difference between urgent and important.Look at the diagram below to see how Mrs. Pereira, a High School Principal, has prioritized tasks for the week.
Mrs. Pereira takes up important and urgent jobs on a priority basis. She totally ignores those that are not important and not urgent. Urgent but not important tasks stand knocking at your door. They have to be dealt with and hence cannot be totally ignored.Mrs. Pereira directs them to the right department. By delegating some of these tasks, she can deal with them and at the same time not waste time. Tasks that are important but not urgent should not be kept until the last, then they become urgent and important. It is wise to consider some of these jobs as and when time is available.
With good prioritizing skills, complete all the important urgent tasks, the ones that would get you into a crisis if not done. Then, you focus your attention on those most important, but not urgent tasks, the ones that are most rewarding in the long run. When you set priorities in to do lists, also keep asking yourself if any of your tasks can be eliminated or delegated.
|Prioritize your tasks for the coming week. Try to follow the same. You may also have to deal with unplanned tasks. at the end of the week, review your time management skills
For scheduling, be sure of what time you set aside for your work.Make time available for absolutely necessary actions. Review your list of things to be done and check if anything there can be delegated.Set aside some contingency time for interruptions. The rest of the time available with you is time available to deliver your priorities and achieve your goals.This is the time you actually get to work. Many managers complain there is no time left at all.Then you need to reconsider the previous steps... are you delegating enough? Could some of the interruptions be eliminated? Read the following Case study and identify strategies used by Mrs.Jones for effective scheduling.
|Mrs. Jones manages a school that has about 500 students.She is in school from 9 am to 3 pm. Every night, she makes a list of tasks to be done. Here is her list for a particular day:|
1. Meeting the Educational Authorities.
2. Interviewing candidates for the post of a counsellor
3. Checking weekly planning schedules presented by the teachers
4. Meeting a representative of an educational software company
5. Speaking to parents of underachievers
6. Checking the expenditure for the month
7. Correspondence work
She realises that tasks numbered 1, 2 are absolutely necessary and decides to take them up on a priority basis. She cannot delegate these to any one else.She delegates task number 4 to a team consisting of the Supervisor, two senior teachers and the teacher in charge of the audio visual section. She asks them to report to her after speaking to the representative of the software company. She sets aside time for task number 5, where she will speak to the parents for about 20 minutes and then ask a Senior teacher to speak individually to them and guide them. For the correspondence work in task 7, she seeks the help of the Office staff. Most of the correspondence has been saved in files and she just directs the staff to make the necessary changes. That leaves tasks 3 and 6 to be done but Ms. Jones is sure she will find some time in the day to do this.When she actually starts her day, three unplanned for tasks prop in. A student was caught in a brawl and he has injured another.Mrs. Jones spends some time dealing with the case as the student is a habitual trouble maker. This time she sends him to the Counsellor. Mrs Jones herself spends time talking to the boy. This is done to prevent future complaints and avoid wasting time ahead.The second unexpected event was that a past student dropped in to say Hi. He was happy to share the news that he was selected for an International Award. Mrs. Jones has to spend about 20 minutes with him, disrupting her schedule. But she does not regret this. "Infact speaking to and listening to James has boosted my spirit and I can work with zest". So what seems like a "time waster" is actually a motivator. Then there was a teacher who had to urgently speak to Mrs. Jones about a personal problem. Mrs Jones decided to give her fifteen minutes keeping in mind that the teacher's mental health was vital for the effectiveness of the school. "Well unexpected tasks and interruptions do come up. But even there one needs to delegate what can be delegated, deal with what has to be dealt and delete what can be"
What special features did you notice about Mrs. Jones' Time Mangement Skills?
Golden Rules to Manage Time Wisely
1. Avoid procrastination
2. Get organized. De clutter your workspace, your computers and your mind. Arrange necessary files together. Practice good filing patterns.More often than not precious time is spent searching for material that is misplaced.
3. Have a to-do list. Mobiles, notepads, computers ---all can be put to good use for making to-do lists. Strike out each task as it gets done.
4. Use techniques as prioritization and delegation.
5. Never keep tasks until the last minute. Try to complete it as soon as you can.
6. The first time you do something do it well. Revision and reconstruction can be done. But a well done task saves time later.
7. When you expect tasks done by others, spell out clearly what is expected. It saves the time of others and your own.
8. Avoid time wasters as gossiping.
9.Certain tasks can be done collectively. Example: You want a few print outs,get them at a stretch rather than going to the printer several times.