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Principles of Time Management

Presented to
Perry Barton
MGMT 2215 Team Project

By
Tammie Boyd
April 13, 2015

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One thing that makes a manager successful is good time management. Time management
deals with understanding the tools, principles, practices and skills that can aid in accomplishing a
goal. It is essential in any organization or company to have good time management. It has been
proven that managers who know how to properly organize and manage their time are more
efficient compared to those that do not. Also, organizations are more lucrative with proper time
management. This paper will discuss five basic time management principles: planning, setting
goals, task prioritization, monitoring time and eliminating distractions.
Exactly why is time management important? Time management is important because it
cannot be replaced. Once a person has lost a second, minute or hour in a day it is gone. They
cannot get it back. Making the most of each day is especially important, especially in business.
Poor time management can result in losing a client or a major deal. Employees that want to stand
out from the team understand this concept.
Also, good time management means more money. People are more productive when they
properly manage their time. Fewer mistakes are made and they are more efficient. These two
characteristics help to increase profits in any organization. Also, employees have lower stress
levels too.
Time management is a skill that must be developed. What works for one individual may
not necessarily work for another but the outcome will be the same. The goal is to utilize the time
effectively to accomplish more tasks each day. Here are a few ways to improve time
management skills and increase production.
Planning is the first step in proper time management. Planning involves focusing ideas
and organizing the steps that need to be taken to accomplish a goal. In order for the plan to be
effective it should have a timetable, clear objectives and steps to concur these objectives not just
blinding working on the project. This will save time (Woodcock). There is a three-step process
for results oriented planning.
1. Decide on the end result
2. Create alternative plans incase of issues
3. Formulate one specific course of action
In most organizations, management handles the planning process. They are the people charged
with setting company goals and objectives for the present as well as the future. Management is
also responsible for providing resources for meeting those objectives. In order to meet the goals
and objectives they will develop business or marketing plans. These plans always have a
purpose. The purpose may be achievement of certain goals or targets (Planning).
Proper planning has also been shown to increase efficiency in an organization. The risks
are reduced in most business activities due to planning. It facilitates the available time and
resources. Planning also helps to identify what organizations want to accomplish by asking:
 Where are we in terms of our business strategy planning?
 Where are we going?
 Where do we want to go?
 How are we going to get there?

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Setting goals and goal achievement is done with planning. Through the planning phase,
managers have the opportunity to get acclimated to the environment not just react to it. By
actively anticipating the future and dealing with the risks that could occur, planning increases the
rate of survival in business. To plan is to get ready for tomorrow today.
Planning provides organizational direction and purpose and it also answers six questions in
regards to any activity:
 What needs to get done?
 When is it due?
 Where is the location?
 Who is in charge of the project?
 What is the plan of action?
 What else will be needed to get this done(Houghton)?
Strict guidelines for decision-making can be established by managers when planned or done
in advance. This gives the manager a bird’s eye view of the situation from all angles. It also
allows the manager to take ownership of the plan. When taking ownership of the plan, he or she
is able to build a team that has buy-in while being accountable for getting things done. A sense of
direction, vision, and purpose is given to the team when the manager presents them with a plan
of action for accomplishing a task. This also shows the team how serious and focused the
manager is about reaching any goals especially organizational ones. Planning can also give a
manager a competitive advantage. Taking time to plan allows the manager to compare their
organization in relation to the competition. This will help them to understand what they need to
do better than the competition (Hartzell).
A variety of roadblocks can detour successful planning. In order for plans to be effective,
managers must acknowledge these roadblocks and overcome them before any plan can be
effective. By overcoming these issues the plan can produce the desired results. The common
problems that create issues for planning are:
 Manager’s that do not know how to plan or the do not do enough planning. Planning is
not something that you come out of the womb knowing. It is a skill that must be taught.
Some managers lack the knowledge, skills, and abilities when it comes to planning and it
is what keeps some from being successful. They may also lack the educational
background.
 Some managers do not commit to the planning process. The creation of a plan is difficult.
It is work. Another reason managers lack commitment is they are afraid of failure. As a
result, the manager chooses to do little or nothing at all in the planning process.
 The information given by the manager or team member is not credible. If the manager
has facts or figures that are not up to date, not reliable or insufficient it can be a major
issue in the planning process. If the information is fraudulent or bad the plan will not
succeed. It does not matter how well the plan was put together.
 Managers pay more attention to the present without thinking about the future. Managers
need to be concerned with what is going to happen down the road and how the present
affects this.
 Managers are too concerned with things they can control. Normally this is a good thing
but managers should consider factors such as the economy or other outside factors when

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planning. Managers also prefer knowing what is going to happen instead of dealing with
the unknown.
 Managers may depend on others for organizational planning. Some organizations have a
planning team or department. They are given the responsibility to research information,
conduct test and build hypothetical situations but they do not put plans into action. Their
results are only to be used as guidelines.
All of these issues can be overcome. To plan successfully managers need to use effective
communication, gain reliable information, and get buy in from others (M. Houghton).
Another aspect of time management is goal setting. The goals that are set should be S-MA-R-T. That is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Time management comes
into play with the measureable and timely aspects of goal setting. Setting goals provide direction
for everyone in the organization. In order to be on the same page, managers and employees must
have knowledge of those goals and work towards them to reach the same outcome. Employees
have a better understanding where the majority of their time should be spent when goals are set.
Based on goals, employees are able to prioritize tasks and make the most of their time at work.
When setting goals there should be a deadline or completion time given. This will
motivate the team to reach the goal within that certain time frame. Also, action plans are
formulated at this stage because of the information provided at the time. Having an action plan
available will give employees a better chance to wisely manage their time throughout the day.
To be more effective in the industry, organizations must be focused on setting goals for
their employees. By focusing on specific tasks to meet the goals time will not be wasted.
(Anthony). There are seven steps for effective goal setting:
1. Managers need to know what they want. Be specific. Goals need to be very well defined,
limited, precise and clear. The purpose of a goal is to be able to complete it. A goal that
cannot be completed is just a dream. A goal also needs to be measurable.
2. Write the goal down. By writing the goal down it becomes real. Also when writing goals
make sure they are written in present tense, like the goal is already accomplished. This
will trigger the subconscious brain to make it a reality.
3. A goal needs to have a deadline. A deadline creates a sense of pressure. This pressure
motivates individuals to meet the goal. Also without a deadline team members would
have endless amount of time to complete the goal.
4. Write a things to do list. Make out a list of everything that needs to get done to
accomplish the goal. This way people can see what it will take to get the job done. The
goal accomplished.
5. Create a plan of action. List items in order and figure out what can be delegated to others.
With a clear goal and an action plan in place, people will be less likely to procrastinate
and more motivated to get the job done.

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6. Managers should take immediate action. While the team is fired up and motivated, take
the first step towards accomplishing the goal. It is the hardest.
7. Make sure something gets done daily. Make sure there is time set aside daily to work on
the goal. List it on the calendar or day planner. The initial motivation will only last a few
days. Therefore, people will need a method to keep motivated and working toward the
goal until it s completed. Make sure the goals and instructions are posted where the team
can see them on a daily basis. This will internalize the goal and make the subconscious
work for you. It will keep the team focused until the goal is completed (Demian). It is
important to periodically review your goals and make adjustments when necessary.
Another successful key to time management is task prioritization. When one prioritizes, they
make sure to accomplish the most important things to do first. Some managers feel
overwhelmed at times. Learning how to prioritize tasks can relieve stress and that feeling of
being overwhelmed. Here are the top five ways to prioritize tasks:
1. Start with a master list. A master list has every task written down on it. It does not
matter if the task is very important or minor it gets a spot on the list. Also include the
regular items that get done daily. The schedule can get thrown off when regular tasks
are not figured into the system.
2. Determine what is going to be the top priority. Use alphabetical letters such as ABC
to prioritize task. A-level tasks are the most important items that need to get done
today. Paying attention to what could happen if the task does not get done will create
a sense of urgency so you can better use your time.
3. Categorize the week using the following categories:
 B- level tasks are activities that may have a mildly negative consequence.
 C- level tasks are tasks that may not have a penalty if not completed today.
 D- level tasks are tasks that should be delegated. Delegating tasks that others can
do frees up time to do more important tasks.
 E- level tasks are tasks that can be eliminated.
4. Rank the task within each category.
5. Always be flexible. In business there are bound to be changes at anytime. Know that
priorities will change too and sometimes unexpectedly.
Each day this process should be repeated. Some items will move up in rank and others will
remain the same. By following this method of prioritization, management as well as employees
can work smarter during their mission toward a more productive day.
Another method in the quest for time management is to monitor actual use of time.
Monitoring the use of time and reviewing how the team is progressing against the plans are vital
elements of effective time management. The manager also monitors his or her time to make sure
they are making the best use of time too. Start by recording how time is currently spent. Write
down all activities and tasks in a journal or day planner throughout the day to monitor where
exactly the time is going. Do this for one solid week. At the end of the week this information will
be reviewed. One can see where time was wasted or what breaks can be eliminated.
By monitoring time, associates can see what appointments are unnecessary. Is that
meeting with security every day necessary? Monitoring will also allow associates or managers to

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see what tasks can be delegated and what needs to be completed by the individual. Things such
as making copies or filing paperwork are taking up time that could be put to better use.
After reviewing the previous weeks activities, create a new daily plan with tasks listed.
Make sure tasks that have been delegated to others or deemed unnecessary have been left out.
This will allow people to see where their time is going and make sure it I being put to good use
(Davies).
One thing that people consider good time management is multitasking. Multitasking is
when one does more than one task at a time. For example checking email while talking on the
phone or listening to the radio. That is considered multitasking. Multitasking is not considered
good time management. Trying to do more tasks at one-time ends up taking more time to get
everything done. Also, the tasks may not get done completely without errors. When an employee
concentrates on one task at a time they are able to focus solely on that task. They are more
efficient because they will not be disrupted by other activities or tasks (Mares).
Successful time management is being able to avoid distractions and time wasters.
Distractions and time wasters can be costly to organizational performance. Also it is hard for
employees to regain concentration after being distracted. One of the biggest time wasters is a
procrastinating individual. Procrastinating is when one puts off a task until another time or day.
Some people procrastinate naturally others just delay and put things off. The following items
help the procrastinator get things done:
 Do not put off the things you find difficult. Delaying the task and starting the task waste
time.
 Do not put off a task you do not like to do. The work still needs to get done and putting it
off wastes time.
 Beware of doing a favorite task. These will cause an employee to spend an excessive
amount of time on the task instead of just getting it done.
All of this and more can cause management issues. All employees are prone to procrastination
but if they are consciously aware that it is happening it will stop (Forsyth) Learning how to
minimize distractions will increase your productivity and effectiveness along with reduction of
stress. There are several workplace distractions such as email, phone calls, the Internet and
disorganization to name a few. For every distraction there is a strategy for minimizing or
eliminating them.
First there is email. Emails are considered to be one of the biggest workplace distractions.
Employees can spend hours or days reading and responding to emails. In order to minimize this
distraction:
 Schedule times to check email- this is where there is a specific time to read and respond
to email. Keeping in mind to schedule this time during low productivity time.
 Turn emails into action tasks- if it takes more than a few minutes to read the email and
respond then it needs to be added to a things to do list. That was you would have more
time to complete the task.
 Keep the email program closed- turn off the visual and sound alerts that lead to
distraction. This eliminates the need to check it constantly.
A disorganized office is the next work place distraction. It can be difficult to think clearly and
make plans when your workspace contains clutter. All items should have a home within the

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office. Also, at the end of the day the desk should be organized and ready for the next day. Phone
calls can be another work place distraction. Just because the phone is ringing does not mean we
must answer it. To minimize phone distractions turn the ringer down or off during peak working
hours. Also, you can let the staff know specific times when non-essential phone calls will be not
be taken. Browsing the Internet can be another major distraction at work. A person can go on the
Internet in search of one thing and start looking around for other things. The search can also last
for hours. In order to cur down on the distractions the Internet can cause:
 Review the news before the day starts. Visit the news sites and read the newspaper before
the day starts.
 Keep the Internet browser closed. Keeping the Internet browser closed can eliminate
distractions and keep employees from checking email and trolling social networking
sites.
 Special software can block certain websites and set timers for others.
Co-workers and peers can create distractions in the workplace too. Often co-workers like to stop
by and gossip or ask for help on a project. Close the office door to limit this type of interruption.
If there is no door, headphones often signal “do not disturb”, One can even go as far as to tell the
co-worker they are disrupting your productivity. They may not even know they are doing it.
When the environment itself is a distraction a change in location can help eliminate the
problem. Move away from noisy windows and co-workers to a conference room of empty office.
This can help restore focus and assist in making progress. Noise canceling headphones also help
with distractions in busy areas.
Good time management can make a manager successful as well as the company or
organization. It goes a long way in the effort to increase productivity and profits in an
organization. Time management deals with understanding the tools, principles, practices and
skills that can aid in accomplishing a goal. For a manager, knowing how to manage time wisely
can distinguish him or herself apart from some one when it comes time for promotions. Planning,
setting goals, task prioritization, and eliminating distractions are all important factors in time
management.

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