“You will never find time for anything, if you want time you must create it.” Charles Buxton
Time is money, it is fixed. Realistically, you have only 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (except leap year – 365 plus ¾ day). You have the choice and opportunity to allocate and use your time as you wish. You cannot stress the time; you can only explore it wisely.
Do not delude yourself about multi-tasking, except you are a multi-person or engage several persons to work on some tasks in parallel, where and when possible. In computing, the concept of time slicing, with single processor, was called multi-tasking; however, real multi-tasking was achieved through multi-processors. In essence what most people called multi-tasking is juggling multiple tasks, using time slicing. Time slicing re-allocates a processor time to a newly active task while a previously active task is temporarily inactive or idle.
The way you use your time makes a significant difference to your life and the result you accomplish. Remember the 80:20 rules. It has many plausible interpretations. For example, 20% of productive people’s time is spent adding 80% value to total productivity. It means most people spend 80% of the time on things that add little or no value. Hence the difference between great outcome and just okay outcome could be the effective management of the same time available to all of us.
Know your limit. Considering the effect of the law of diminishing returns, working long hours does not usually correlate to delivering more. Knowing and keeping to your optimal functioning limit promotes good health, alertness and effectiveness in delivering successful and quality outcomes. Healthy workforce is a highly productive workforce.
It does not matter how busy you are, the important thing is what you are busy doing. Spending most of your time doing quality and valuable things that help push the limit is very critical to the success of your outcome. Hypocrisy and mediocrity are two things that you have to deal with, as a project manager or leader, by assigning well defined work packages or activities, with agreed quality, time and cost, and ensuring timely feedback on show stoppers. You have to be on your guard and take nothing for granted.
The key to effective time management is not just about techniques and tools, it is about practice, practice and practice. Prioritize effectively; eliminate tasks that add no value. Aim before you shoot. Practice delete, defer, delegate and act. Whenever you have a new action item, you should decide whether to act on it now, defer it, delegate it, delete or keep it for information only.
Table 3 shows a sample time/priority management matrix. Time/priority management matrix enables you to manage your daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly priorities in a way that enables you to focus on the first thing first. The goal is to focus your attention on current and top priorities, track and monitor their status.
|Timing – March, 2009(Daily, Weekly, Monthly etc.)
The items in the boxes could be project work packages, activities, tasks and other work activities. Customize if for your specific needs. Be realistic – limit each box to 3 items. Priority groups include