Time management is the process of planning and exercising conscious control of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity. The best time management techniques improve the ways you work. Time management refers to managing time effectively so that the right time is allocated to the right activity. Learn more about the five steps for effective time management viz. study, identify, analyze, decide, and implement.
The process of time management can be divided into the following five steps:
Now let us discuss these steps in detail:
In order to identify the quantity of the time spent in various activities and how it is spent, you can maintain a daily diary and plan out your time and analyze how time is being spent on various activities. You should also plan the hours you need to spend on various activities (daily and monthly).
Time utilization studies consist of systematically observing and noting downtime against the activities which are carried out by individuals under study. The time-logging may be done by the concerned individual himself (by keeping a detailed diary with notes on actual spending of time) or preferably by someone else around.
Time may be recorded to the nearest five or ten minutes. The manager should classify all logged activities to determine what proportion of total working time is spent in each type of activity. To get a fairly complete picture of the pattern of utilization of time these studies are needed to be repeated to include day to day or seasonal variations in the working pattern.
If the analysis reveals that excessive time was spent in one category and insufficient time was spent in an equally important category, the manager should make arrangements to correct the imbalance.
Analysis of the pattern of present time-use enables a manager to identify time periods not utilized efficiently to achieve the desired objectives. These periods may be counted as time-traps. In certain types of activities probabilities of unproductive utilization of time is high.
A few examples of such activities where time gets trapped are unproductive meetings, unscheduled visitors, prolonged periods of traveling, burdensome paperwork, and unnecessary interruptions by frequent telephone calls. Unproductive meetings lacking in planned agenda and inefficient discussion with leaders steal a lot of productive time from the workers.
Under-utilization of time may be due to the faulty system or faults of manager/officer/leader or due to lack of planning. There could be many factors driving the procrastination behavior like system issues, personal work habits, lack of delegation, personality traits, bad working habits of the leader, failure to tackle interpersonal conflicts, obstacles, and lack of far-sightedness.
Learn more about these reasons in the next article.
After studying and analyzing how time is spent, why time is wasted, and where time is wasted you need to decide about the changes required for effective utilization of time. For this purpose, a large number of remedial measures can be taken by you. The first and foremost determinant of a planned and purposeful utilization of time is to develop consciousness of the value of time at all levels of the organization. Planning, goal setting, and defining priorities are concerns to addressed immediately.
Once you have identified, analyzed, and decided on the course of action, now it is time to put your plan to the implementation stage. Start working on the strategy and you will find that you are becoming better day by day in your time management. The best time management techniques improve the ways you work help control distractions and lock your concentration. Knowing how to spend your time, setting priorities, using planning tools, getting organized, scheduling, delegating, and avoiding procrastinating, wasting time, and multitasking are key to effective time management.