How's Your Time Management?
A friend told me about a time management seminar that lasted two days. I wondered why a seminar that focused on ways to save time could last two days, so a few weeks ago I went to one.
My suspicions were right…the speaker could have presented the information in three hours. By the second day, I felt sorry for the people who were originally thrilled to have two days off from work. They were going to have to spend the next week catching up on e-mails, phone calls and everything else they missed while they were at the seminar.
Not all time management seminars are a waste of time, but you don’t have to go to a seminar to learn time management tips. Start with these four tips:
Throughout the day ask yourself if what you are doing is the best use of your time. Are you working on something that needs to be done today or could you do it another day? You don't have to check up on yourself more often than every three hours because then you’d be wasting time.
Determine your best time of day and schedule important tasks for that time. I used to say I was a morning person, then I was an afternoon person, and now I'm a "work when I can" person. Between my sons’ and my clients’ schedules, I need to be flexible. Concentrate on important tasks during the time you're more productive and leave the less important tasks for when your energy level is low.
Sometimes you have to work around your family’s schedule. Before I started my own business and worked for a corporation, I represented several cartoonists including the late Jerry Bittle, creator of the comic strip "Geech." Between 8:00 pm and 3:30pm Monday-Friday, Jerry would work on Geech, sleep for a few hours, have breakfast with his kids and then go back to sleep until about 11:00 am. When his children came home from school, he was available to spend time with them.
- Stay focused on the activity at hand. It’s easy to start one project and then bounce to another without finishing the first—at times I’m the perfect example. At the end of the day, I’m exhausted but haven’t accomplished as much as I’d hoped to. That’s when I refocus, stay on task and usually accomplish more the next day.
There’s not doubt that is takes time to save time. By changing a few things about how you work, you’ll save time in the long run.