I got a chance to read about the time management and i am also following this one from this article. I could not remember where i got this article. Autoher please excuse me for not getting permission from you for posting. I hope this will be useful for you to manage.
Time Management With Exercise
HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR TIME ?
If I waste a minute, I waste an hour; if I waste an hour, I waste a day; if I waste a day, I waste a
Solzhenitsyn, The Cancer Ward
One of the major factors controlling how close you are to being the person you would like to be is your skill in managing your time. If you can control how you spend your time, you can control your life. In order to put your time management skills into practice, you need an overall view of how you spend your time.
Don’t be misled; just because you happen to have had a few fruitful evenings lately, you may believe it is always that way. Likewise, if you’ve encountered a few snags in getting things done recently, don’t be discouraged into thinking that it will always be that way. Looking at the whole picture will help you see how close you come to spending your time in the way you would like.
THE WHOLE PICTURE
The following exercise will help you see the whole picture by categorizing your time and illustrating that how you actually spend your time may differ from how you want to spend it.
MONITORING YOUR TIME USE
How you spend your time says a lot about what is important to you, just as how you spend your money says a great deal. If you wanted to know if you were spending your money in
TIME USE CATEGORIES
This exercise will help you develop categories to use in identifying how you spend your time.
Examples of these are –
2. Household maintenance
In the space below, list some categories that fit your lifestyle :
Using as many time categories as you need, divide the first circle on the next page into wedges reflecting how you currently use your time. Do the same with the second circle, reflecting how you would like to use your time.
a manner consistent with your priorities, you would probably prepare a budget and keep track of expenses. Do the same with your time. Like a money budget, this may not be something you want to do all of the time, but it is a good exercise to go through at least once a year.
Why do you need a formal system ?
Because people are not very good observers of their own
behavior. In fact, they tend to be quite unreliable ! One of the best examples of this is a classic experiment in which a psychologist asked a group of people who wanted to lose weight to write down everything they had eaten during the previous two days. They were then fed only those foods for the next two days, and they all lost weight ! They had not remembered everything they had eaten.
To become a more systematic observer of your own behavior, you need to develop a record keeping system. This is one of the preliminary steps in bringing about change, and it is called
“gathering baseline data.”
It is important for two reasons.
First, from this information you will determine if you are spending your time the way you want.
Second, after you have made more effective and efficient use of your time, you will be able to assess your improvement. For example, Alice, a graduate nursing student, was feeling guilty about not spending more time with her family. She felt that she was constantly pulled between her family and her work. When she analyzed her time, she was amazed to discover how much time she spent talking to her friends.
Alice decided to tell her friends that since she would be preoccupied with her family and school work, she would have little time for socializing until the end of the summer when she would complete the requirements for her degree. She was then able to reorganize her commitments to be consistent with her priorities. Without knowing precisely what was taking up her time – without collecting baseline data – she would not have been able to do this.
To begin, keep track of how you use your time for one typical week that reflects both weekday and weekend routines. Be careful not to take your data during an atypical week – for example
when you have out-of-town guests, are involved in an unusual project, or have to work overtime.
The 24-hour schedule Divide your time into the categories below and note on the schedule in Exercise # 10 the actual time spent at each category. When you finish, you will find that there is a certain amount of time that never varies : for sleeping, doing regular household chores, and so on.
You won’t be changing this time very much, but rather will analyze the variable times described below.
a. Shared time This is the time you set aside for being with others who mean a lot to you : wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, children, and so on. After entering these times on the schedule, circle them with a red pencil and total the number of hours you spend this way.
b. Private time This is the time you set aside to do your own thing : working out at the gym, having a special night out with friends, reading, etc. Circle these times with a green pencil and add up the number of hours spent.
c. Work time This is the time you spend working at all aspects of your job, whether the job is outside the home or housework. Circle this time with a blue pencil and add up the number of hours.
d. Project time This is the time you spend on projects such as home improvements, crafts, evening classes, sports, and so on. Circle these times in black and total the number of hours spent
Some of the most common ones follow. Do you recognize yourself ?
“I don’t know how to do this.”
1. “In general, I like to put everything off until tomorrow.”
2. “I’m too tired.”
3. “I procrastinate mainly by doing various household jobs that need doing sometime, but not right now.”
4. “Tomorrow I’ll start and when tomorrow comes, it’s again…well, tomorrow is soon enough.”
5. “I make a list containing too many things to get done in the allotted time and just don’t get to those I dislike or am having trouble getting started at.”
6. “I don’t have time to do this.”
7. “I always look at the time and feel that there certainly is more time than I need for a project so I can do something else first.”
8. “I’m too busy with day-to-day work to get any projects done later.”
9. “I tell myself I need food or sleep to be able to do something. Then I tell myself I can’t work on a full stomach.”
10. “I usually need a break, even when I haven’t worked on anything.”
11. “I can’t work in a cluttered atmosphere, so I clean up instead of doing what I should be doing.”
12. “Baseball and hockey games are only on television two seasons, so I can’t miss them.”
These are just some of the comments people make to rationalize not doing what they had planned. Perhaps you have made these statements yourself. Look at your excuses and determine
if you are merely procrastinating. Discover what is stopping you from completing a task and then try to overcome that.
For example, you may be delaying because you lack certain information; obtain it so you need not wait any longer. You may be procrastinating because you can’t make up your mind about something; consider all your alternatives and make your decision. You may be hesitating because you don’t know how to take a calculated risk; determine what your potential gains and losses might be and take the plunge.
Look at the procrastination survey in Exercise #13.
Think back to the last time you postponed doing something and decide whether you really had to wait. Write down the excuse you used then. Consider other times you delayed starting a project and jot down your rationalizations for hesitating. Look over these comments, and see how many were justified. Were you
If you have hesitated – procrastinated – for some very good reason, then perhaps you need to examine your time schedule or your goals. Perhaps you have set overly ambitious goals for yourself. May be you took on too big a project all at once without breaking it down into its
component parts or planned your day with too many activities. You need to be realistic in scheduling your activities; allow for flexibility and unexpected changes in plans.
1. Set specific goals
A general goal is hard to meet. Be specific, and you’ll accomplish your task. You’ll also find it easier to begin and be less inclined to delay.
2. Talk it out
Talk to someone about what you wish to do. By telling a friend and discussing ways to go about it, you will gain a clearer picture of your goal. You will also find that once you have heard yourself, you’ll recognize your rationalizations and will gain insight into organizing your task.
3. Get more information. Read about what you want to do if this is the first time you have attempted it. If you are building
a fence, buy a book on the subject so you know how to order equipment, mark the lines, and set in the materials. Or ask others who have done similar things – get the advice of your neighbors.
But guard against the tendency to spend so much time gathering information that you procrastinate actually doing the job. Determine at what point you have enough information and get started.
4. Make instant tasks
Coax yourself into doing something. Use a small, time-limited activity to get you going. For example, if you have to write a report for a local service group, put down the first sentence, even
if it isn’t completely the way you want it. That first step breaks the ice; it is easier to go from that point on.
5. Start with the pleasant parts first
The important thing is to get started. If you have trouble doing that, take the task apart and select one aspect that is more pleasant than some of the others. Doing something will inspire you to continue with the remainder.
6. Do it with someone else Some jobs are simply more enjoyable if you do them with a friend. For example, it may be faster and more fun if you and a friend get together to paint your house. Many quilts would never have been made if it weren’t for quilting bees, for example. Or have a friend sand that antique rocking chair so that you can paint it.
7. Set time-limited goals
Parkinson’s Law states that work expands to fill the time available for its completion. If you have six hours to complete a task, you will stretch out the work to take all those hours, even though
under other circumstances you might have needed only four hours. The efficient person tries to limit the amount of time allocated for each task. By setting a finishing time, you help your efficiency in two ways : the set time period will limit the amount of time you can procrastinate, and the limited period will force you to work more efficiently during that time.
Let’s consider an example. Most recently, my goal was to write this book. When I was to start, I found myself spending a great deal of time procrastinating. I wasn’t sure I could do it, I didn’t know if I knew enough, there was a lot of material on time management, and I didn’t know if I had anything new or different to say. Then I would spend hours in the library reading about time management or working on other projects that I had going or thought I was interested in. By the afternoon, I was too tired to write. However, I worried about not writing 24 hours a day, and I rarely got anything else done either. I set up a program for myself where I allocated three hours each morning to working on the book, and all my activity during that time had to relate to the project. Then, finally, I began to write the book.
Parkinson’s Law particularly applies to housework. Shirley Conran, in her book Superwoman in Action, notes that “[housework] expands to fill the time available plus half an hour : so it is
obviously never finished. The important thing is not to do the housework but to decide how much time you are going to allow for [it]. What doesn’t get done in time is left undone (perhaps
for next time, perhaps forever).”
Don’t get caught up in the maze of obligatory chores such as housework. If you strive for perfection and try to complete a task that is basically open-ended anyway, the amount of time
you spend doing it will only increase, and you won’t be using your time efficiently.
8. Give yourself choices
Take two activities that you equally don’t want to do, and give yourself the choice of doing one or the other. For example, Joe didn’t feel like putting the snow tires on the car; it was already
cold and seemed like a miserable job. He also didn’t want to clean out the garage, but he made a deal with himself that one particular Saturday he had to do one or the other. Having the choice
between the two things gave Joe at least a sense of freedom. You can make your choice, too, and your chores will seem less onerous.
9. Make your jobs seem fun Write down the chores on little pieces of paper that you and your spouse have to do, and put
them into a jar. Each Saturday have a draw to see who gets what chores to do. The element of chance makes it fun and again takes away some of the burden. By making your tasks more fun,
you’ll avoid procrastinating. And by sharing the chores, you’ll get them done faster and with less hassle.
10. Use a list
Many busy executives keep a “to do” list at work because they find it the best way to get things done. Your Time Scheduling Sheet is one type of list, but you may find it useful to keep shorter,
day-to-day lists of things to do. You’ll find you will get to doing the items on your list sooner and they will take less time to do, since you’ll be doing them more efficiently.
11. Reward yourself
For years industry has used incentives to help increase employee productivity. Psychologists have also known for a long time that if a person wants to increase the frequency of a particular
behavior it is best to reward that behavior. You can use the same principles to make yourself do what you want to do.
There are two main reward systems that you can use : a daily reward – that is, some reward for each time you perform the desired behavior, or put in the desired amount of time – and a final
reward for after you have completed your project. For example, Keith wanted to get into better physical shape. His daily reward for exercising was a sauna after he worked out at the gym. If he
kept to his program and exercised three times a week for a month, he could have the new gym outfit he wanted. He found that monitoring his behavior – that is, keeping track of the number of
times he exercised and looking at the accumulated tallies and thinking of the reward of the new gym outfit – helped him stick to his program. By the end of the month, exercising had become
part of Keith’s routine. The reward of feeling physically good was enough to maintain that routine, but his program helped him to make the start and overcome his inertia.
For your program, think of rewards that you can use to help yourself get started. Set up both daily and final rewards. It is also important to note that the value of a particular reward may
change in the course of time. Take these factors into account, and come up with a new reward when necessary.
Although this method may sound simplistic, it works – and works well. Try it the next time you have a goal. Keith’s reward sheet is shown as an example in Sample # 1. (A blank reward sheet is
provided in the Appendix for your use.)
12. Punish yourself
Under the right circumstances, self-punishment can be very effective in overcoming inertia. With this method, you take something away or forfeit a pleasure if you fail to perform a task you had planned on doing.
Peter was a staunch supporter of a major political party, and he strongly disliked the leader of the opponent party.
Peter also had a very important project to complete – his final paper for his university degree. He asked a friend to act as his banker, and then he made out a series of post-dated checks for the “enemy” party’s election campaign. His agreement with his banker friend was that for each week Peter did not meet his quota of work on his paper, the friend would mail out a check to the “enemy” party’s headquarters.
The first week Peter did not work on his project and he looked on in agony as the check was mailed. The second week he did some work but still fell short of his quota. Even though he promised to make up the work, the check was mailed; there was no provision for make-up (only legitimate sickness), as stipulated in the agreement. The third week Peter fulfilled his quota. The same was true for the fourth and fifth weeks. By now working on his project had become his
natural activity, and getting the paper finished had become its own reward. The agreement was terminated.
If you opt for this type of arrangement, remember that self-punishment only works as a deterrent; the trick is to make the penalty so harsh that it is seldom applied. And if you find that your self punishment program is not working, consider modifying your plan because your quotas may be unrealistic.
13. Make a written contract
In the previous example, Peter had to make an agreement with a friend. A similar plan is to have a written contract with yourself. The written contract serves as a reminder, especially if you keep
it in a strategic place. If you want to lose weight, for example, place your contract on the refrigerator door. If you want to cut down on the amount of television you watch, place it near
the TV. Sample # 2 illustrates this kind of contract. (A blank contract is provided in the Appendix
for your use).
14. Chart your progress
For some projects, you’ll have a hard time sticking through to the end unless you have some feedback or see some progress along the way. If the project does not provide such signals, then
you need to establish them yourself. Keep track of the time you spend by making it down on a chart. Over time, your chart will give you a visual summary of your progress and a boost to your
sense of accomplishment.
15. Go public
If you want to really increase your chances of success, make your project known to others. The encouragement you’ll receive from friends and the social pressure you’ll feel to continue will be
great motivator. Post your chart where friends and family members can watch your improvement.
MANAGING LEISURE TIME
The purpose of this chapter is to help you to develop a balance between work time and non-work time, to improve the quantity and quality of your leisure time, and to increase the satisfaction you
derive from your leisure.
a. DEFINING LEISURE
I wanted to start this chapter with a definition of leisure, but I didn’t realize what a difficult task that was until I started reading through the literature and found that up to one-third of some of
those texts are devoted to the topic. Instead, following are several definitions of and quotations about leisure to encourage you to develop a personal definition of what leisure is.
· “Leisure is a state of mind.” - Old Greek definition
· “Leisure is a state of being in which activity is performed for its own sake.” – Aristotle
· “You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a lifetime of conversation.” – Plato
· “Man does not cease to play because he grows old; man grows old because he ceases to play.” – George Bernard Shaw
· “Work is whatever a body is obliged to do… Play is whatever a body is not obliged to do.” – Mark Twain
· “…There runs a persistent belief that all leisure must be earned by work and good works. And second, while it is enjoyed it must be seen on a context of future work and good works.” – Margaret Mead
· “Leisure is the portion of time which remains after work and basic
requirements for existence have been satisfied.” – James F. Murphy
· “Lacking an understanding of leisure, many of us become more and more alienated from life and from ourselves.” – Alexander Reid Martin
· “There was a time when we could sit and listen to our individual, internal rhythms, but now they can hardly be heard over the din of the mechanical clocks set up by school and business and society. Now we have commuting and TV, three-day weekends, and twelve-hour workdays, March migraines and April ulcers, twenty-one-year-old addicts and forty-five-year-old heart attacks.” –Dr. George Sheehan
To determine what leisure means to you, complete the leisure survey in Exercise # 14.
b. LEISURE ASSESSMENT
To begin assessing the quantity and quality of your leisure time, take another look at Exercise # 9
in chapter 3. How close in size are the wedges representing leisure activities in your current time use circle to those in your ideal time use circle ? What are you saying to yourself ?
If you want an accurate idea of how much time you spend on leisure and how much you enjoy the time you spend in various activities, complete the leisure activity log as illustrated in Exercise # 15. This may seem an unleisurely activity, but as you probably realize now, your leisure time is a limited and valuable commodity. Wouldn’t it be prudent to see if you are spending it wisely ?
c. ASSESSING THE QUALITY OF YOUR LEISURE TIME
We are all of us compelled to read for profit,
party for contacts, lunch for contracts, bowl
for unity, drive for mileage, gamble for charity,
go out for the evening for the greater glory
of the municipality and stay home for the
weekend to rebuild the house.
One way to assess the quality of your leisure time is through the concepts of “pure” leisure versus “contaminated” leisure. By pure leisure I mean the same thing as Dennis Sparks and W.
Furlong when they describe, “Flow experiences.” In his article “The Flow Experience : The Fun in Fun” (Psychology Today, 1975, Vol. 10, pp. 35-38.), Furlong wrote –
Flow experiences are activities that cause Individuals to lose all sense of self, time, and the external world. These experiences involve
Just as you previously examined your attitudes toward work, you are now going to examine you attitudes toward leisure. Complete the following sentences as thoroughly a possible.
To play is to
To relax is to
To be at leisure is to
To be at peace is to
To experiences solitude is to
If I were to increase the amount of leisure activities I engage in I would
If I were to improve the quality of my leisure time activities I would
LEISURE ACTIVITY LOG
Date Leisure activity Time
Who did you do
it with ?
(If by yourself,
(0% - 100%)
(to be noted
(0% - 100%)
(to be noted
g. LEISURE RITUALS
Jean and Allan are a dual-career couple, each with high-pressure jobs. Shortly after they were married, they took a trip just to get away from it all. Their trip was such a success that they
decided to make it an annual event, and throughout the years they have managed to keep it up.
Some years, depending on mood and finances, they go to New York City, stay in their favorite hotel, and take in the theater. Other years, they stay at a lake resort or go camping. Jean says,
“For us it has become an important yearly ritual – no matter what is happening to us in our careers or the current crises with our teenage children.” Allan says he looks forward to it every year since it gives them a chance to renew themselves as a couple. Establishing your own ritual will add motivation for you to keep up special leisure activities.
OVERCOMING THE SOMEDAY PLOY
List 25 things you would like to do before you die. Then, go over it a second time and mark each activity that is suffering from the someday ploy. Go over it one more time and mark those activities you will start, no matter how small the start is.
ACTIVITY SOMEDAY START
1. ____________________________________ __________ _______
2. ____________________________________ __________ _______
3. ____________________________________ __________ _______
4. ____________________________________ __________ _______
5. ____________________________________ __________ _______
6. ____________________________________ __________ _______
7. ____________________________________ __________ _______
8. ____________________________________ __________ _______
9. ____________________________________ __________ _______
10. ____________________________________ __________ _______
11. ____________________________________ __________ _______
12. ____________________________________ __________ _______
13. ____________________________________ __________ _______
14. ____________________________________ __________ _______
15. ____________________________________ __________ _______
16. ____________________________________ __________ _______
17. ____________________________________ __________ _______
18. ____________________________________ __________ _______
19. ____________________________________ __________ _______
20. ____________________________________ __________ _______
21. ____________________________________ __________ _______
22. ____________________________________ __________ _______
23. ____________________________________ __________ _______
24. ____________________________________ __________ _______
25. ____________________________________ __________ _______
· Most successful vacationers make a clear division between work time and holiday time.
· Avoid being overly optimistic in what you expect from your vacation (you will only be disappointed).
· Do not turn your vacation into another form of work by trying to do or see too many things; part of the reason for taking a vacation is to escape schedules and deadlines.
· Do not overdo things leading up to the holiday. Ian, for example, is a worrier.
Two weeks before his vacation he decided he wanted to get everything done at work before he went away. He started taking fewer breaks than usual and pushed himself to work harder than his usual frantic pace, using the excuse that his vacation was not very far away and then he would be able to rest. Ian started his vacation exhausted. It took him the first week to get over being
exhausted, and it took him the second week to unwind, so it was not until the
time he as ready to go back to work, at the end of the second week, that he was actually ready for a vacation !
The first step toward achieving a better balance between the value you place on leisure and your actual leisure behavior is to develop a better appreciation of the role leisure plays in your life. I
hope this chapter and its exercises have helped you begin doing that.
However, if you still feel that you are not using your leisure time as well as you would like, think about seeing a leisure counselor. They can be found at YM-YWCAs, other community recreational agencies, university departments of recreation, some industrial and business settings, and some mental health facilities.
You have more options than you think, but an option is not really an option until you know about it. Your leisure counselor can help you assess you interests (or possible interests) by talking with
you, or perhaps by administering one of the many leisure interest inventories available. Once your interests are assessed, your counselor will help you to identify those resources in the
community where you can pursue them and encourage and support you so can carry them out. As George Sheehan states, the ultimate responsibility is yours : As with everything else in life, if you would
be educated, you must do it yourself. Heed the inner calling to your own play. Listen if you can to the person you were and are and
can be. Then do what you do best and feel best at. Something that gives you security and self acceptance and a feeling of completion.
WHAT COMPANIES ARE DOING TO ENCOURAGE FITNESS
So far we have concentrated on things individuals can do to take initiative in setting up physical fitness programs for themselves. Many companies have also developed programs and policies to
develop the physical fitness of their employees, for example :
· Xerox built a multimillion-dollar gym at its headquarters.
· Japanese workers start the day with calisthenics.
· Noon-hour fitness programs are conducted at some manufacturing plants.
· Gulf pays 80% of its employees’ costs of joining a fitness club.
· A telephone company pays for the fitness testing of its employees.
Is there a department or a person at your company who is in charge of motivating the employees to better fitness, locating local resources, etc. ? If there is not, should there be one ? If your
company needs help in setting up this kind of program, try talking to the YM / YWCA in your area.
I am very satisfied with the way I use my time off the job
It is very important for me to use my time off the job effectively
I make the best use of my time I possibly can
I feel in control of my time
At the end of the day, I feel good about what I have accomplished.
I feel certain of whom I am and where I am going
I am willing to take a risk to get the important tasks of the day completed
I seldom find myself wasting time
I work fast and efficiently
ASSESSING YOUR ABILITY
The key to successful management is the possession of good time-management skills. Find out how well you manage your time by responding to the following statements, and mark the options
that are closest to your experience. Be as honest as you can : if your answer is “rarely”, mark Option 1; if your answer is “always”, mark Option 4; and so on. Add your scores together, and
refer to the Analysis to see how you scored. Use your answers to identify the areas that need most improvement.
1. I arrive on time and prepared for meetings.
1 2 3 4
2. I ensure that a clock is visible in the room where meetings are held.
1 2 3 4
3. The meetings I organize achieve their purpose.
1 2 3 4
4. The meetings I organize finish on time.
1 2 3 4
5. I open my mail as soon as it arrives on my desk.
1 2 3 4
6. I “skim-read” any relevant newspaper and magazine articles.
1 2 3 4
7. I cross my name off the circulation list for magazines and journals I do not read.
1 2 3 4
8. I read my faxes on the day on which I receive them.
1 2 3 4
9. I am able to complete tasks without interruptions from colleagues.
1 2 3 4
10. I decide how many times I can be interrupted in a day.
1 2 3 4
11. I reserve certain hours for visits from colleagues.
1 2 3 4
12. I close my office door when I want to think strategically.
1 2 3 4
13. I tell telephone callers that I will return their calls, and do so.
1 2 3 4
14. I limit the duration of my telephone calls.
1 2 3 4
15. I allow a colleague or secretary to screen my telephone calls.
1 2 3 4
16. I decide how may telephone calls I can deal with personally in a day.
1 2 3 4
17. I “skim-read” internal memos as soon as I receive them.
1 2 3 4
18. I read internal memos thoroughly later.
1 2 3 4
19. I keep the contents of my in-tray to a manageable size.
1 2 3 4
20. I clear my desk of all paperwork.
1 2 3 4
21. I delegate tasks to colleagues that I could do myself.
1 2 3 4
22. I follow up on the work I have delegated.
1 2 3 4
23. I encourage subordinates to limit their reports to one side of paper.
1 2 3 4
24. I consider who needs to know the information I am circulating.
1 2 3 4
25. I achieve the right balance between thinking-time and action-time.
1 2 3 4
26. I make a list of things to do each day.
1 2 3 4
27. I keep work to a certain number of hours every day – and no more.
1 2 3 4
28. I make an effort to keep in touch personally with my staff.
1 2 3 4
29. I concentrate on the positive attributes of each of my colleagues.
1 2 3 4
30. I make sure I know about the latest information technology.
1 2 3 4
31. I store e- mail messages in order to read them later on screen.
1 2 3 4
32. I perform housekeeping checks on my computer files.
1 2 3 4
CHARTING YOUR WORKING LIFE
Start first job or apprenticeship
Work in finance or accounts department ------ Take evening classes
Start a family --- Join the company’s biggest customer --- Meet students in other lines of work
Take maternity or paternity leave --- Work in sales and marketing – Take a management course
Broaden horizons --- Gain work experience abroad – Apply for promotion
Cultivate useful contacts – Set up and run own business
Your performance levels will fluctuate according to when you feel energetic and alert, and when you feel tired. You need to understand the mental and physical cycles that your body follows each day in order to prioritize and plan your workload effectively. Note down the times at which you feel most tired or alert over a few days, and record the tasks you were performing at these times. If you were performing difficult tasks when you were tired, you were not working
efficiently. In future, try to schedule easy C-tasks for these energy dips.
Because individual energy patterns can vary enormously, many companies now operate more flexible working hours. This allows employees greater control over their daily timetables and the
opportunity to use time more efficiently by fitting work around their mental and physical cycles.
DOING UNPLEASANT JOBS
Tasks of different types suit different personalities. A job that you find particularly unpleasant, such as dealing with a difficult customer, for example, may be regarded as an enjoyable challenge by a colleague. There is nothing to be gained from performing unpleasant tasks for the sake of it, so if you can delegate appropriately, do so.
When it is unavoidable, try to do a difficult job when you are in a positive frame of mind. Do not put it off until the end of the day, when you may be tired, or wait until just before the deadline.
Many tasks on your master list will not disappear when they are done. Tasks in the working year often recur in cycles – for example, you may want to aim a certain product at certain customers
at the same time every year. To allocate regular time to recurring tasks, you need a long-term back up to your short-term planner, such as a color-coded wall chart. Use bright colors to map out regular events so that you can see how busy you are at a glance, and can plan ahead accordingly.
DEALING WITH PROBLEMS
With a positive attitude to life, it is much easier (and quicker) to manage your time and solve problems at work. Start focusing on feeling good about yourself and your life, and you will be
less likely to interpret the problems of others as your own. This will help you to be objective and constructive in coming up with methods of dealing with tight deadlines and budgets, and resolving conflict.
Anthony, a sales executive, had been asked to attend a high-pressure meeting, which included staff from other departments among its participants.
A week before the meeting, Anthony realized that he had been convincing himself that it would go badly. He decided it was time to try to change his pattern of negative thinking into positive
thinking. First, he used various prioritizing techniques to ensure his material would be prepared well. Then, he set about positively visualizing the meeting and its outcome. He “saw” himself stand
up, clear his throat, and give the report he had prepared. He then imagined himself successfully answering all of the questions that came from the other participants at the meeting. Finally, he visualized the approval on the faces of his colleagues, especially the ones that he usually felt intimidated by.
On the day, the meeting went just as Anthony had imagined- and this boosted his confidence.
PROJECTING AN IMAGE
You can tell a great deal about the occupant of an office from the arrangement of items on the desk, the use of color, and the general level of tidiness. Superiors, colleagues, and subordinates
alike will form their first impressions of you from the state of your workspace – so ensure that the impression you give is positive. If you regularly receive visitors at your desk, make sure that
the image you are projecting is the one that you want them to see. You will never convince a well-organized outsider than an untidy work space reflects anything other than a disorganized mind.
Think of your desk as an assembly line. Raw materials (mostly in the form of paper) come in at one end to be processed by a machine (your mind) before they are sent off to the next stage. The
just-in-time logistics that companies apply to manufacturing processes can also be applied to your desk. This means being aware of how urgent papers are and where they need to go. Glance
at documents as soon as they come in : if they are urgent, take action or delegate at once. Place non-urgent papers that are waiting for something else before they can be processed into a
pending tray, and put all other non-urgent papers into your in-tray to be processed next time you go through it.
Set up a system for keeping up to date with all the paperwork that appears on your desk. Deal with urgent items immediately. For non-urgent items, set aside sometime each day to go through
your in-tray. If you need to take any action, write it down on your master list of things to do. File away other items to read later (or keep them for reference), and throw away anything that you do
not need or have already dealt with.
Organizing work Space
The objects in your workspace (desks, chairs, tables, filing cabinets, lamps) should be organized to suit you. Think about your work patterns and what you use your office for. If you have a lot of
visitors, place your desk so that you can see the door and be aware of people approaching. If you regularly hold meetings in your office, arrange the furniture so that visitors can sit comfortably.
If possible, your workspace should contain only those files to which you refer regularly. Keep these near you desk, preferably so that you do not need to stand up frequently to reach them. The
files that you look at rarely should be put in a special storage space, or, if this is not available, in an out-of-the-way corner of the office.
ORGANIZING YOUR FILING
A filing system has to work in the same way as a computer’s search function. Key words have to trigger off thought sequences in your brain that lead easily to the place where a paper is filed.
Such sequences will be determined by the nature of your work. If you are an exporter with markets in 70 different countries, your basic classification may be along geographic lines, so you might have five big filing cabinets – one for each continent. If you are a sales manager for a small company producing stationery products, you may divide your customers into two filing cabinets – one for domestic customers, the other for overseas. Customers will be allocated their
It is helpful to have a system that indicates immediately, by means of color or typography, the level or classification of each file. For example, a sales manager could file documents relating to
export customers in red files tagged with red labels and those relating to domestic customers in blue files with blue labels. Each label would be annotated with the name of a customer. Whatever system you adopt, it must be easily understood by you and any other users, so keep a printed list of the sections, subsections, and their contents for easy reference.
Sometimes interruptions are welcome, but everyone needs to work undisturbed at certain times.
Make your working day as productive as possible by discouraging interruptions by colleagues,
and reorganizing your office so that you are less visible. Listing Interrupters To reduce the number of unnecessary interruptions you receive, first draw up the following lists :
· People who may interrupt you at any time, such as your boss or important customers;
· People who may interrupt you when you are not particularly busy, such as colleagues;
· People who may not interrupt you at all.
Keep these lists in mind, and give copies to your support staff and relevant colleagues. Ask them
to follow these lists as much as possible.
MAKING PHONE CALLS
There is hardly a business in existence that does not depend on the phone and, increasingly, voice mail for rapid and direct communications. Their effective and appropriate use can dramatically
improve your efficiency and performance.
CHOOSING WHEN TO CALL
Set aside a specific time of day for making phone calls, and list all the calls that you need to make every day. Be clear about the purpose of each call, and draw up a brief agenda for each as if the call was a meeting. Then make sure that you cover all the items on the agenda during the conversation. Prioritize your calls in order of importance, to ensure that you concentrate your time and resources on the most important and urgent calls.
KEEPING ON TRACK
Do not let a phone conversation stray too far from your agenda unless there is a good reason, such as dealing with an unexpected problem. Take notes, and tick off items on your agenda as
they are covered. You may find it easier to lead your conversation if you stand up or walk about. It is easy to lose track of time when speaking to someone whose conversation you enjoy, but try
to keep this in check. Assess the purpose of the call – for example, can you be brief or do you need to spend time building up a rapport or placating an angry customer ? As an exercise, use a
timer for a week to monitor the length of time you spend on each call. This can be sobering, both because of both the cost of the call itself and the cost in terms of your time.
USING A VOICE MAIL SYSTEM
Corporate answering machines, also known as voice mail, are becoming commonplace. Some people dislike the impersonal nature of voice mail, but you need to understand how the system works and how to make efficient use of it. It is an ideal tool for arranging internal meetings or eliciting a response from a busy colleague. Avoid bargaining or making deals by means of a seemingly endless series of voice-mail messages, since you need to speak directly to customers
or suppliers to gauge reactions and find areas of compromise and agreement.
TAKING PHONE CALLS
Receiving phone calls is very different from making calls. Incoming calls can take you by surprise and interrupt you when you are unprepared. Develop techniques to reduce the time wasted and enable you to deal with callers when you choose to do so.
MAKING TIME FOR CALLS
Phone callers have the upper hand in deciding when they want to make a call, but modern technology is shifting the balance of power between caller and called. To some extent you can
now dictate the time when you receive calls, enabling you to arrange your working day, as you prefer. If you have an answer machine or voice-mail system, leave a short message on it saying when you will be in your office, and that callers should ring back at that time. If you have a secretary, route all your calls via him or her, with instructions regarding to whom you wish to speak and when it would be most convenient.
DEALING WITH COLD CALLERS
If you have secretarial staff, brief them not to transfer cold callers through to you. If a persistent caller does succeed in getting through, politely but firmly inform him or her that you are not interested in what they are offering. Remember that, however annoying it may be to have interruptions from cold callers, they are only doing their job and you should always treat them courteously.
Meetings consume a large proportion of the average working week. Typically, a manager spends up to half of each week in meetings. Making sure that meetings run smoothly and achieve their
purpose is an essential ingredient of time management.
MEETING ONE TO ONE
One-to-one meetings are more flexible than large, formal gatherings, and their duration is more easily controlled. Nevertheless, you need to achieve a delicate balance between cutting a meeting
too short, leaving the other person feeling frustrated, and allowing it to go on so long that both parties feel their time is being wasted.
TIMING SMALL MEETINGS
Some one-to-one meetings have a very specific purpose, such as recruitment or staff assessment, and in these cases there usually tends to be a well-understood format and duration. Less formal
one-to-one meetings tend to be either short and focused, in response to a particular situation (such as a reprimand), or more general and of indefinite duration. In these latter cases, avoid unnecessary time wasting for both parties by deciding informally on an agenda and time frame for the meeting beforehand. Be disciplined in adhering to it. This way, both parties’ expectations of the meeting’s purpose will be clarified, minimizing the need to spend time resolving misunderstandings afterwards.
PLANNING LARGE MEETINGS
Make sure that everybody attending a meeting knows, in advance, its purpose and their role.
Circulate an agenda well beforehand to tell participants which subjects are to be discussed. This will allow them to prepare any necessary information and gain an idea of the duration of the
meeting. It will be easier for the chairperson to control time-wasting tactics if everybody is aware that the agenda must be covered within the set time limit. Your agenda will also help to define the amount of time allocated to individual items.
PREPARING AN AGENDA
The order in which items appear on an agenda can have a powerful effect on a meeting’s timing. Avoid heading an agenda with a contentious subject, since the participants in the meeting may
spend too much time discussing it instead of moving on to the next item. Instead, being with routine and straightforward business, which offers easy decisions. This gives the meeting a feeling of achievement and the impetus to progress rapidly.
Time wasting in meetings costs more than just the participants’ time; the monetary cost of a meeting may be considerable when the combined salaries of those present are taken into account.
So it is imperative that time is not lost by people attending unnecessary meetings, by meetings being disrupted, or by meetings failing to achieve their objectives. Do not tolerate tactics such as
lengthy, irrelevant speeches by fellow participants, or to endless revising of points. If you are the chairperson, it will be your role to recognize such tactics and ensure that the meeting is kept
KEEPING TO SCHEDULE
Meetings should start punctually; being without latecomers, and do not waste time recapping for them when they arrive. Keep a careful track of time throughout a meeting to ensure the agenda is
covered in the allotted time. In general, defer overrunning items until the end of the meeting so that other items can be dealt with on schedule.
Before making plans to travel, ask yourself a number of questions about the trip. Am I making the best use of my time by going on this trip ? Will a phone call or letter suffice instead ? Can I send someone else ? Can I persuade the people I need to see to come to me ? Can I meet them half way ? If the answer to any of these is yes, seriously question the time-effectiveness of your trip.
Effective packing requires you to make an accurate assessment of your needs based on the duration of your trip. For a short trip, take just enough clothing and accessories with you to cover the number of days you anticipate being away. This way you do not have to spend money on laundry services. However, if you are going to be away for more than a few days, it may be better to take only one or two changes of clothes and have them cleaned on the trip, rather than
burdening yourself with heavy suitcases.
UPDATING YOUR NOTES
Most of your time on business trips will be spent attending meetings; the longer the trip the more meetings you will attend. It is crucial to update your notes every day, otherwise all your meetings will have merged into each other by the time you return to your office; you will not be able to recall who agreed to what and when. Allow time each day to write up the day’s meetings, noting any decisions made and action to be taken.
TAKING DAILY BREAKS
Some business leaders include a regular period in their day when they briefly take time off.
Similar to the siesta, it is often taken after lunch. Their doors are shut to interruptions, allowing them to take a short period of semi-sleep (only about 10 minutes), which has a recuperative
effect on the body. Schedule a set time each day to switch off; pick a quiet period that fits in with your personal energy rhythm and work obligations. With practice, you will be able to reduce this rest time.
It can be difficult to find a suitable place to take such a break. Open plan offices lack privacy and are noisy, making it difficult to relax. Try to find a vacant room or office away from all disturbances.
TAKING TIME FOR YOURSELF
Do not rush straight back to work after a hectic meeting –
take a break in a café, or go for a walk. Time out will allow
you to clear your head and restore your energy.
Good time management means planning ahead. Scheduling holidays in advance allows you to organize your workload around your breaks. At the start of each year, take the time and effort to organize your diary. Work out when you are likely to be busy and when your workload will be lightest. Look ahead at the year as a whole, and plan your holidays accordingly. Ask everybody in your office to do the same with their own schedules, and you will soon be able to see if any
conflicts of time are going to arise.
SHARING YOUR TIME-MANAGEMENT
TASKS WAYS TO SHARE SKILLS
Talk through the principles of dividing work in to A-, B-, and Ctasks
and allocating a set number of each to do every day.
Use examples from your colleagues’ workload.
Using Diaries and
Ask your colleagues to keep a time log, then review and analyze
it with them to discover their various working patterns.
Help your colleagues to set up an appropriate planning system
Filtering Information Encourage your colleagues to assess every item of information they receive to decide what action is required.
Provide hints on faster reading based on your own experience.
Delegating and Following Up Discuss specific, related examples from the past to determine the best course of action in this instance.
Be prepared to review any new systems that are set up.
Managing Your Manager
Everyone should know how to manage their managers if they want to be able to make the best possible use of their own time. Learn to do this discreetly so that your seniors do not feel as though they are being undermined or manipulated.
“Be aware of your boss’s working patterns, and try to adapt to them.”
Building a Relationship The first thing you need to know is exactly what your manager expects of you. Do you have the sort of manager who delegates a task to you and then gives you the freedom to get on with it, or are you expected to report back every day and to wait around until they are free to hear you ?
Discuss this matter tactfully with your manager early on. That way you can tailor the way you work to fit in with your boss’s expectations. If you decide you would like more autonomy, persuade your seniors to trust you by establishing a strong relationship with them. When you have a good relationship with your manager, you can
be less formal, and communication becomes easier, more direct, and therefore more efficient.
Sorting out Queries
Take the initiative and arrange a time to see your manager, rather than waiting for your manager to come to see you. They may be so involved with their work that they do not realize that you
need help from time to time.
In any relationship with your seniors, there is an implicit assumption that they are busier than you, and that the claims on their time are more pressing than the claims on yours. When you have something to discuss, make your communication brief. Get to the point quickly, and try to anticipate any queries that your seniors may raise. Keep your conversations high on factual content and low on your personal opinions.
Getting Your Own Way
As you build up a personal relationship with your manager, you will learn what it takes to get your own way – and thus work more efficiently and with a greater amount of satisfaction. Of course, the priorities of your manager will alter all the time (as will your own), and it is your job to keep abreast of those changes and adapt sensitively to fluctuating demands. Remember that there is little to be gained in being abrasive towards your seniors. This will simply irritate them,
making them feel defensive, less willing to listen to you, and unsympathetic to your viewpoint.
Try to be aware of the pressures that your manager is under, and be sympathetic.
Do’s and Don’ts
Do arrive at meetings well prepared and with any relevant documentation.
Do take relevant notes, and give your boss a copy.
Do gather together queries to avoid constantly interrupting your manager.
Do work out whether your manager prefers written or spoken information, and supply it in that way.
Don’t volunteer your opinions unless they are requested or you feel they are important or relevant.
Don’t present any problems without offering some viable solutions to them.
Don’t be late for meetings with your manager.
Don’t mistake your boss’s occasional thoughtless action for maliciousness.
Knowing when to offer Advice
It is a useful tool to think of communication with your manager in terms of the AID acronym :
Advice, information, and Decision. Offer your boss advice either when it is asked for, or when you feel it would be welcomed. However, you should give relevant or important information without constraint. It is often possible to influence your boss to make a different decision to the one he or she was going to make. Remember, though, that there may be reasons behind a decision of which you are unaware.