These are the topics that we will be covering during the next posts:
- Analyze how you currently spend your time and pinpoint opportunities for improvement
- Identify which tasks are most critical to achieving your long term goals
- Plan your time efficiently using scheduling tools
- Control time wasters
- Put your schedule into action, evaluate it along the way, and modify it as needed.
What is Time Management?
Time management is the process of controlling your life through your use of time.
Everybody has the same 168 hours a week. When you manage your time proactively, you determine what you value in your professional and personal life, and you direct your efforts accordingly.
By mastering time management, you will be learning to balance the many pressures on your time and still achieve your goals, this helps your avoid burnout and stress, and allows you to be more effective. Keep in mind that time management is a personal process: only you can judge where you are using your time wisely.
Time management has 3 different phases. These 3 phases do not necessary need to be follow in order, you will to decide which one is more critical for your particular case.
Phase number 1: Analysis
Phase number 1: Planning
Phase number 1: Follow up and evaluation
In the analysis phase you need to find out where your time is going right now, pay particular attention to what drives your use of time, In some cases you will discover interruptions that you can manage with specific strategies. In other cases, time factors are less controllable but may have patters that you can learn to work within.
Review your goals, outline the tasks required to achieve them, an determine how much time you will allocate to each task. It is equally important to identify tasks that do not support your goals and assign a low priority to them.
Once you understand your key tasks, you can schedule your time using a calendar or daily planner. You can also develop strategies for dealing with time wasters like frequent meetings. If your work is affected by factors beyond your control, like the stock market, develop contingency plans in advance so you are prepared for the unexpected.
Follow up and Hansei (Reflection and adjustment)
After you have followed your plan for a reasonable period of time, step back and reflect. (Hansei)
- Did you achieve your goals?
- how well did your schedule work?
- What would be done better the next time?
Using the results of this analysis and reflection, modify your scheduling strategies for the future, then begin the planning process again.
Now I want to make a parallel of this 3 Phases to the well known PDCA Cycle (Plan, Do, Check, Act/Adjust).
The 3 phases that were just described are a variation of the PDCA Cycle. This is just another application of the Cycle on Time management.