Time Management Activities
The following time management activities will help you control your time and your workload more efficiently. We all have the same amount of time available to us (24 hours a day), is what we do with it the makes the difference in how effective we are. The first step to better manage time is to find out where it goes. Are you doing what you should? Are you meeting your priorities and your goals?
Let's find out with these time management activities.Plan: Create a week-plan with all your scheduled activities, deadlines, resources and the time required to accomplish each. Mark 2-3 goals for the week together with your top three priority tasks that will help you meet those goals.
Categorize: Organize your week-plan into categories. Group tasks by job functions such as staff supervision, daily operations, agency development etc.
Record your time: Record all your activities for the whole week; all of them, planed ones, routine ones and the time spent on each of them. Be very specific. Every minute must be accounted for. This will give a clear picture of how long each task actually takes, allowing you to plan more realistically in the future.
Analyze use of time: At the end of the week analyze your records. Track your accomplishments as well as the unfinished tasks. Carefully examine what category and task took most of your time. Was it a priority task or "a time waster" ? Did you meet your goals?
Compare your task-log with your week-plan. Assess the differences between the time planed versus the time spent for each task. You will be surprised by the result.
Draw conclusions and implement: Once you have identified the exact time spent for each task, its source and priority, try to decide where you could cut some time and where you would like to add more. This is also a good opportunity to review you role, sit down with your supervisor and discuss your time analysis, make structural changes, hire an assistant etc.
Create a time management plan: Build in time to delegate. Micromanaging holds you back from your priorities and from what you should do to meet your goals.
Recognize obstacles: Assess your unfinished tasks and your unmet objectives and find out why you failed to complete them. Is is interruptions, your disorganized desk or long unnecessary meetings? Identifying the causes of the problem is an important step towards solving it.
Interruptions: Work on s strategy to handle them effectively. You do not have to be open to all "drop-ins". Close your office door during the hours you are most efficient and work on priority tasks. You may also put a note or leave a voice mail to your staff informing them that you will be working on a priority task. This way you not only prevent unnecessary interruptions but also keep your team informed.
Unorganized space: A cluttered space can have negative impact on your effectiveness. However, organizing it is time consuming and frustrating. This is the time when you delegate or hire an organizer. It makes a huge difference. They will help you set up a system that would be easy to maintain in the long run.
If you decide to do it yourself: Clear off your desk completely. As you clean, get rid of things you don't need (if you have not used it for a year, you don't need it). Make a shopping list. Order online at your favorite office depot.
Organize your pile of documents into three sub-piles.
- must do (deadlines, proposals, reports, important meetings)
- can wait
- easy to do
This would help you approach each task accordingly.Meetings: Screen your meetings carefully. Ask for an agenda and other information before the meeting. Avoid meetings that are not necessary or that waste time traveling to. If they are program or product focused meetings, find a key staff that may benefit from that meeting and ask them to go.
When calling a meeting always prepare in advance as it saves time, energy and resources.
These time management activities will make a difference in the way you manage your time, however it's important to remember that time management is not a one time activity. It needs consistency and discipline.
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Time Management Tools
consider themselves a work in progress
Dr Franklin C. Ashby
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