Timely reminder about time management

Time management is about planning for the future, and for the here and now. By effectively managing your time, you will do and achieve more.

1.   Be clear about your goals and objectives

Ask yourself, what are my goals? What do I need (or want) to achieve and in what timeframe?

2.   Make a plan

Next, make a plan. What do you need to do to achieve your goals and objectives within your timeframes? There isn’t always time to do everything, so you will need to prioritise. The chances are that you can achieve 80% of your results with just 20% of effort.

Remember, planning is a not a one-off process. You need to review regularly, so that you can adapt and respond to change.

3.   Develop your own tools and techniques

Tools

There are plenty of technology tools to help you plan and manage your time, but don’t forget the old fashioned ones which work just as well, particularly for small businesses, and are significantly cheaper: pen and paper, and a watch or even an egg timer!

Techniques

  1. Prioritise. A three column to do list works well
    i. high priority – must do today (limit this to a sensible number, 3 to 5 max
     ii. medium priority – do this week
    iii. low priority – do this month
     
  2. Delegate.
    Don’t think you have to do everything yourself. Ask for help, work as a team and delegate where you can.
     
  3. Create a schedule.
    Block off time in your diary for each task.
     
  4. Set deadlines and stick to them.
    Be realistic when setting your deadlines – break tasks down into subtasks (this will help you to improve your time estimates).
     
  5. Focus.
    Don’t let yourself get distracted by emails, social media and phone calls. Turn devices off if need be.
     
  6. Take a break.
    Don't work relentlessly. Studies from America and the Lighting Research Centre show that people who (i) take breaks, particularly in the form of exercise, and (ii) switch off all devices at least one hour before bed, sleep better and are more productive.
     

4.   Think positively

A positive attitude helps you focus, worry less and achieve more. A mentor, in whatever guise, is often helpful, providing support, encouragement and an outside perspective.

Time is your most precious asset, so use it wisely!

Delia Porter, MD and Founder