TIME MANAGEMENT: Choosing the best route to destination
Professionals and organisations often begin to address Time Management from a crisis point: predictable delay in delivery of products/services; chronic overtime; stressful and on-edge work atmosphere.
When discussing the challenges of Time Management, Symposium Learning begins by reviewing each person’s daily route to the workplace. It is our direct experience that Effective Time Management stems from the same talents which we apply to get to work each day: imagination and the mind-mapping skills
“Imagination” assists with FORWARD THINKING and DECISION MAKING. “Mind-mapping” supports the creation of a ROUTINE and PLANNING.
When we travel we apply thoughtlessly those skills: the familiar way is DECIDED and it can be drawn on a MAP. Aware of the overall length of the journey, we assess traffic and weather condition and decide instantaneously if it is more convenient to change route or keep on it. Optional ways have been tested and when a different route is taken, we do not forget to contact the office and notify a potential delay due to unusual traffic conditions.
Keeping with us the image of our experience of stepping on the bus or taking it left at the traffic light – here the bullet points for a stress-free Business Time Management.
- Break it: address your job in small sections and create a list of “action/tasks/projects” –Include your breaks and travel to and from the office.
- Time it: for each “action/task/project” estimate a time for it completion (how long.)
- Categories it: assign categories: “Critical” “Important” “Basic” “Once-off”
- Escalate it: pick from the list enough work for 1 week –
- Enter repetitive tasks each day (e.g. lunch)
- Mix actions/tasks/projects from all categories.
- Respect a 10-hour day including travel.
- Leave 30 minutes of your day BLANK to allow for unplanned events (best after lunch break).
- Do it: start from the top and CROSS OUT what has been completed as you go along for the entire week.
- Review it:
- Revise the category assigned
- Revise the mix (was one day more stressful than another?)
- Adjust estimated time
- Add new actions/tasks/projects
- Move to Week 2 and repeat successfully.
Phase 1 – Break it – involves list making: essential step in Time Management. A list gives a tangible sense of achievement by crossing out completed task/projects. It will also help to remember what is to be done.
Phase 2 – “Time it”, “Categorize it” and “Escalate it” – involves planning each item on the list. If newly assigned projects require discovery, consider if each step of project planning should be added to the weekly list.
Phase 3 – “Do it” & “Review it” – especially after the first week, revision must be completed. For example, a weekly meeting with a co-worker might always need more than 1 hour as it beings and ends with a friendly coffee break. Do not under-estimate the importance of your social interaction, which might include connecting to your Social Network – make time for it daily.
Time management will result in the adoption of organizational skills that parallel the routine of getting to work each day. Adapt a Weekly planning to allow vision of individual project tasks over time, as it is TIME which is managed in this process (not projects or tasks).