TIME MANAGEMENT is about getting more out of your 24 hour day. You may complain that you don’t have enough time to do this, that or the other, and yet your colleagues, school friends, siblings, or friends, are managing to get twice as much work done within the same 24 hours.
Everyone has 24 hours per day – you are no exception. Being busy is not a bad thing (far from it), as long as your energy is being directed in to the right projects or tasks. I once heard a student complain that he was too busy to update his CV! What a shock this was to me; how can anyone be too busy to take control of their future? Unsurprisingly, nearly a year after graduation, he is still looking for a job sending out the same, tired, outdated CV. This is what happens when you don’t manage your time properly. You even put off recruiting managers from hiring you as they assume you are either lazy (sending an outdated CV) or give the impression that your life is too busy to fit in a job – that you are not organised.
With budgets being cut, many departments are currently under staffed and so companies need to hire people who can buckle down and be productive, they cannot carry anyone. Below are some tips on Time Management
- TAKE ACTION – There is nothing worse than inaction. When you have a task to undertake then make a decision to: Do, Delegate, Defer, File or Delete.
- SET DEADLINES AND STICK TO THEM – When you start overlooking deadlines or worse, not setting deadlines then you risk having incomplete tasks and projects. Deadlines give you a focus as well as an end date. Don’t let projects simply run, and run and run and run….
- PRIORITISE IMPORTANT TASKS – It never fails to amaze me when people work on tasks in the order in which they are received rather than the order of urgency or importance. How can filing a document take priority over responding to a customer query or complaint or, preparing for CATs?
- BE DISCIPLINED AND CONSISTENT – Consistency allows you to build a good reputation and a good brand. If you tell someone you will complete a task by 15 June, then make sure you do so and if, for whatever reason, you are unable to meet this deadline, then you must inform the person asap. Don’t simply keep quiet and hope the problem disappears – which is how many people seem to deal with deadlines. When you keep quiet people don’t say anything but it is noted and you will not be on their preferred list of suppliers, contacts etc
- BE PROACTIVE RATHER THAN REACTIVE – Plan your schedule a day or two ahead and be realistic rather than over ambitious – 5-6 tasks to complete is realistic. You need to prioritise your list, and allow flexibility in your schedule to allow for unforeseen circumstances which may need to be dealt with that day.
- LEARN HOW TO SKIM READ – You need to teach yourself to read documents and emails quickly without missing important points. My theory is: do something once and do it properly. This is what separates the good from the great in the world of business. The ability to prioritise, be productive, read & digest important information quickly and then take ACTION!
On this note, I wish you all, a Happy New Year. To read more posts by Miriam, click HERE