Time Management Tips Part 1

March 20, 2003

Take Control Of Your Time

By: Gregory P. Smith

Louis Boone, a poet and novelist once said, "I definitely am going to take a course on time management ...just as soon as I can work it into my schedule."

The most important skills I learned in life were not taught in school. Time management is one of those skills needed in today's 24 x 7 work life. A person who can't manage time hurts teamwork. Poor time management makes for a poor salesperson. A teenager who doesn't show up for work on time will get fired. Best of all, managing time well reduces stress and anxiety. Included here are a few time management tips I've picked up over the years.

1. Know what is important. Clearly define the most important aspects of your job and the effort that generates key results. If you don't know what that is, ask questions such as, "What has the greatest impact or value on your staff members or clients?" "What will increase sales?" Focus on the 20% that generates 80% of the results.

2. Prioritize and make "To Do" lists. Now that you know what is important about your job, make a master weekly "To Do" list. Write "A," "B," or "C" next to each item based on importance. At the beginning of each day make a daily "To Do" list. Stop and think - which item absolutely must be completed today? This does not include items you'd like to get done today, but only the item(s) that MUST be completed today.

3. Avoid the "feel like its." Poor time managers base their actions on their feelings and moods. You know the type, "Yeah, I know the building is on fire, but I just don't feel like leaving right now." Effective time management is more about habit than feelings. Most people do the easy and simple elements of their job first ... like reading their e-mail, scanning the newspaper, cleaning off their desk etc. Good time managers do what is important first, regardless of their feelings. As Nike says, "Just Do It!"

4. Schedule your biggest project for your peak energy period. It took me many years to figure out not everyone is a morning person like me. I hop out of bed before the sun comes up ready to head off to the office, while others don't hit their stride until 3 p.m. Therefore, during your peak energy period focus your mental and physical resources on the largest projects.

5. Learn to delegate. A person who refuses to delegate will likely be very busy, frustrated and heading for burnout. It is not necessary for a manager to personally handle every item. One very successful regional sales manager readily attributed part of his success to the fact that he trusted his administrative assistant to handle routine items that did not require his personal decision. This left him free to concentrate on working with sales personnel outside the office.

Gregory P. Smith shows businesses how to build productive and profitable work environments that attract, keep, and motivate their workforce. He is the author of the book, Here Today Here Tomorrow: Transforming Your Workforce from High Turnover to High-Retention. He speaks at conferences, conducts management training, and is the President of a management consulting firm called Chart Your Course International located in Conyers, Georgia. Phone him at 770-860-9464. More articles available:http://www.chartcourse.com

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