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Managing your time better

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We all want to get more done and have more free time to spend doing what we want to do.  How do we do it?  It seems we are all so busy and we do not have enough time.  Actually we have all the time there is.  Sixty minutes are in every hour, it is how we use the time that is important.  This idea is from the beginning of a very good book on managing your time that I highly recommend.  It was originally published in 1972 and updated most recently in 1997.  The 3rd edition of The Time Trap written by Alec Mackenzie is available for less than $15.00 at most large retailers.  Mackenzie is an accountant so I am perhaps a little biased by his analytical and systematic approach.  In his book he listed twenty things that waste your time at work.  In hundreds of recent studies and opinion surveys six of his original twenty are included on the list of the seven consensus time wasters.  To be brief I will list Mackenzie’s six time wasters and a few paraphrased bullet points for the causes and solutions.

Management by Crisis or “fire fighting”

Cause: Failure to anticipate & develop contingency plans         

Solution: Prioritize potential problems and list solutions

Cause: Treating problems as crises (Not a crisis for you)         

Solution: Respond appropriately, ignore if possible or delegate

Cause: Unrealistic time estimates    

Solution: Build in a cushion of 20%

Telephone Interruptions

Cause: No plan for handling 

Solution: Screen/delegate/consolidate  call back when good for you

Cause: Inability to terminate conversations 

Solution: Develop techniques: use timer, cue an ending, be candid

Cause: Socializing to avoid routine, dealing with urgent

Solution: Keep your priorities in front of you

 Drop In/Unexpected Visitors

Cause: No plans on how to handle 

Solution: Arrange appointments & have a no drop in policy

Cause: Ego, feeling of importance 

Solution: Don’t overestimate the importance of your availability

Cause: Open door policy

Solution: Have planning/quiet time, open only means accessible

 Procrastination

Cause: Inability to identify

Solution: Ask others to help, easier for other people to recognize

Cause: Thinking “I work best under pressure”

Solution: Pure rationalization, no one works better under pressure

Cause: Lack of deadlines 

Solution: Use a deadline for major tasks, develop sense of urgency

 Meetings

Cause: Lack of purpose/agenda 

Solution: Never have a meeting without agenda or written purpose

Cause: Wrong people/too few/too many 

Solution: Have right people arrive when needed dismiss when done

Cause: Not starting/ending on time 

Solution: Stick to schedule

 Socializing

Cause: Your need for the occasional mental break

Solution: Go for a short brisk walk, don’t bother others not on break

Cause: Personal affinity for socializing 

Solution: Stick to priorities, socialize with others who are on break

Cause: Poor physical location

Solution: Consider relocation/escape to unused quiet area if possible

I hope this encourages you to look how you can manage your time more effectively.  It is an investment that can pay nice dividends.  Most time management experts claim that you can save up to 2 hours per day by managing your time.  Even if it is only 1 hour that is a huge boost in your daily production.  Good luck.

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Written by pacelinebiz

October 26, 2009 at 9:25 pm

Posted in Business

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