The "Smart" Art to Time Management
Where can I find the time?
This is not an easy question to answer. How can you be expected to find the time, when so many of the demands against that time are out of your control ....? The truth is, you will never find the time, you have to create the time. Not by changing the clock or the calendar, but by balancing schedules, priorities, and responsibilities through a series of carefully crafted tips and techniques. The first step in time management is to assess the extent and scope of your problem. To gain perspective on any potential time management problems, you can begin with an examination of the problem itself, followed by any impact to your reputation and the perceptions of others.
1. Do you find yourself running late for meetings and if so, how often?
2. How long does it take you to return phone calls?
3. Is that response time considered acceptable in your organization?
4. How long does it take you to respond to e-mails?
5. Is that response time considered acceptable in your organization?
6. How often do you miss assignment deadlines?
7. How often do others (end-users or managers) have to repeatedly ask you for information that you may have forgotten to provide?
8. How often do you make careless mistakes or omissions because you feel rushed and pressured?
9. Is your workspace messy and cluttered?
10. Can you easily locate files and other information when you need them?
11. Have time management problems damaged your reputation and or credibility with end-users or management (i.e. are you perceived as someone who can get the job done when pushed, but can't manage through busy periods)?
12. Do you feel that alternative approaches to time management could be used to improve your professional performance, alleviate stress or just give you more free time?
13. Have time management problems been a source of negative performance reviews, impacting potential promotions or salary increases?
14. Are you personally satisfied with your current ability to make the most of available time?
TAKING SMART STEPS TO FIX THE PROBLEM
Effective time management boils down to a series of steps and techniques designed to organize work, keep committments realistic, and communicate issues and problems:
1. Define and document priorities and activities - organized to create a picture by day, week and month.
2. Set a specific and regular for reviewing mail, returning e-mail and voicemails, and other administrative matters.
3. Eliminate desktop clutter and try to handle each piece of paper only once - act, delegate or file.
4. Make notes before phone calls or meetings so that you are prepared with comments and questions.
5. Learn to say no -- or, at the very least, explain the impact of the unexpected on your schedule and other deliverables.
6. Beware of overly aggressive commitments - keep schedules realistic.
7. Account for the unexpected - schedule projects and other commitments to allow for problems and unwelcome, yet predictable, interruptions.
8. Revise schedules frequently and as appropriate ... if you can't meet a deadline, it is better to let everyone know as soon as possible.
9. Forgive yourself for problems, delays and the occasional bout of procrastination.
10. Ask for help or delegate whenever possible.