Sunday, March 22, 2009

Time Management Series Post (2) Understanding where your time goes

Do you really know where your times goes?
Often people wish there were more hours in the day when the answer lies in spending the time they have more wisely.

If you are able to get a better picture about where you are spending your time, you will see if this time is being spent effectively or if it is being waste in activities that do not contribute to your goals.

A lot of people underestimate how long things really take, if you try to do an experiment to find this out, you will be amazed all the time you spent in trivial stuff and quick phone call, these 2 could add up to 2 hours of your day.

Understanding when your are at your peak can help you schedule your time more effectively, for example if you know that right after lunch you struggle staying awake or you find it difficult to concentrate, do not use this time to read emails or go through complicated documents, instead use this time to group meeting or something different that prompt you to stay awake.

In order to find out where you are spending your time, try logging all your activities for a week. Try to record where you are spending your time. You should identify how much time are you spending on:
  • Scheduled appointments
  • Telephone calls
  • Fire fighting
  • Unexpected meetings
  • Being interrupted by others
  • Report writing and analysis
  • Administrative work
Once you have identified all these activities, try to identify patterns in your time usage. You might find very interesting things like : unexpected visitors always come after lunch, or Fridays you are always spending more time on the phone.

Ask the following questions during your analysis:
  • Does your time usage match your key responsibilities?
  • How’s the payoff? you do not want to spend most of your time on activities with minimal payoff.
  • What can be delegated? Remember, your role as a manager is to direct your team

It is important that you have a clear understanding of what your goals are and what you want to accomplish. Having this clear will help you identify activities that you should avoid or in which you should spend less time.

Next: The true North - your Goals

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