EFFECTIVE TIME MANAGEMENT Time Management This may be referred to simply as the management of activities, tasks or jobs during

a given period of time to achieve maximum benefits. Time management therefore plays a critical role in the discharge of duties as a secretary. It can either enhance or mar one’s performance and as such a secretary needs to plan ahead and not ‘fire fight’ Time has some characteristics worth noting: – It is limited, finite and scarce – It has to be managed as it cannot be stored or saved – Its passage is constant due to competing demands The truth about time management is that it is driven by one’s:………… – Care principles – Vision – Goals and objectives It is also an exercise of discipline and the techniques used in managing it are: • Budgeting time • Implementing time saving and control measures by: – Noting major time wasters and – Developing strategies to deal with them – Undertaking realistic self assessment Implications of time management include: – Being available at the right time – Staggering breaks – Answering phones promptly – Transferring callers to the right desk – Knowing what you are talking about – Giving clear, brief and accurate explanations Managing your time Most often time is wasted because of a lack of clear objectives, planning, prioritising and perspectives (a mental view of the importance of things). Barriers to good time management can be grouped into three namely: • Mental- control, procrastination, immediacy, insecurity When you allow circumstances to always control your time • Physical-clutter , an unorganised desk • People- e.g. visitors, colleagues, bosses, phone calls When you allow other people to control your time Time thieves – Telephone calls – Personal visitors from within and outside the organisation – Lack of priorities – Finding it difficult to say no – Unclear objectives – Lack of self discipline

Take a close look at your time log. and the skill of delegation is to do it in such a way to ensure the assigned task will be successfully completed. c. To be efficient.analysis and looking out for interruptions i. if not why? The log will provide you with pointers for immediate improvement. talking to people etc. study your own working habits. 2. prune or cross them off your list. These include: • Identification and removal of time stealers • Pruning • Delegation • Prioritising • ‘Making’ to do lists Pruning This involves identifying tasks that will be eliminated either by delegating them out or stopping to do them altogether.e. b. Plan how you will use your time efficiently What do you do next? Efficiency means functioning effectively with the least waste of effort. why did you need to perform them or not perform them? • How much time did you spend on tasks that you could have asked some one to do? Do you need to delegate? • Were you able to accomplish all your tasks. 1. Keep a notebook in which you record what you do through your working day. and time wasting tasks etc. The art of delegation is to transfer to team members the responsibility of performing some tasks. . for tasks that should not be done by anyone. sum up what you’ve spent your time on d. looking for things etc? • Did you need to perform all the tasks. There are various tools that can be used to monitor this including time logs and ‘to do lists’.– Procrastination A better use of time can only be achieved through conscious. To successfully complete a time log: a. note down the whole truth and nothing but the truth. it may include routine tasks. having snacks. Skilled delegation therefore helps to manage time. Delegation Delegation is the art of transferring responsibility for the performance of a task to someone else.g. tasks unrelated to your work. Note down everything including the little things such as trips to the toilet. you need to be consciously aware of how you manage your time presently. At the end of the week. Time logs This is a record of the list of activities one spends time on at work. In Time Management this can be achieved by doing things in the right way. waiting. Ask yourself some questions and be honest with yourself: • How much time do you spend on avoidable inefficiency e. Getting started Before one can establish good time management skills. consistent and continuous time management by conducting a self. there are identified tools that can be applied.

Either prune or delegate them. 4. extra help tools etc that will be needed. by literally taking things off your mind (and placing it on paper).Steps in using delegation 1.i. Prioritising After pruning and delegating one is left with tasks to be handled personally and these need to be done efficiently.g. To be efficient you need to plan and prioritise In prioritising one needs to ask oneself one or two basic questions to reflect on the essence of the task.e. this makes the task appear less daunting. Tell the team member what to do if any unforeseen or unexpected happens. leave him or her and allow the person to get on with it. and you will soon finish it. Once you are satisfied that they are clear about what is to be done and know how to get help. Urgent but not important. and ensure that they know where and how to get hold of them. Starting the list • Getting things off your mind • Breaking up large tasks. transport. Try to plan to do a chunk of this task every day if you can. vision and principles of the organisation as well as my job description? • Is it urgent and or important? Importance and urgency It is vital to assess the relative importance or urgency of your identified tasks.they need to be quickly and properly executed. 2.these tasks mustn’t take too much of your time else you will end the day without having enough time for your important work. These are: • Is this task essential to the mission. 3. Urgent and important tasks require different treatments. Ask the person to explain to you in their own words what has been delegated to them. This is your top priority tasks. However tasks end up in this category because they have been unnecessarily delayed. Explain what is to be done. ‘To do’ lists are simple but they are also very powerful and effective as a tool because they have two effects: • First they get you organised as they make sure you don’t forget what needs to be done • Secondly they can greatly reduce the amount of stress and worry that you have. Important but not urgent tasks. and double check if he or she understands. Important and urgent tasks. Making ‘To-Do’ Lists Most people use lists in some way or another.this tends to be those tasks that require a lot of attention. Not urgent or important – these are the tasks you must simple stop doing. These tasks should be broken into sizeable chunks and handled in stages. Discuss what resources e. bite off your work in manageable sizes • Prioritise the list .

Using the two pile system It may be preferable to handle each piece of paper that visits or leaves your desk not more than twice. They can also be called TODAY and LATTER. Remember a cluttered desk can lead to more error. Keeping it clear is the hard part! Here are a few guidelines: • Handle the same paper as few times as possible • Have one tray for incoming work • Never store things on your desk • Sort incoming work and store things not requiring your immediate attention away from your desk • Throw things away! Only keep what you really need • Don’t keep things you want but things you need • Don’t retain things just because they are interesting • Understand that volume of work is not the biggest problem: it’s organisation . The first pile includes things that have to be done before the close of the day. It is a technique to ensure you do not miss your deadlines. simply tackle as much as you can of pile two. The second pile is everything else. When you have finished dealing with pile one. Clearing your desks A cluttered untidy desk usually doesn’t indicate an excess of work to be done. fear of losing things or fear of not looking busy.• Rewriting the list Dealing with physical organisation • The paper mountain • Clearing your desks • Organising shelves and storage • Handling clutter The paper mountain For most secretaries. the most daunting task is handling the mountain of paperwork waiting for them on their desks. Once to sort it based on priority and once to deal with it when its turn comes round. This leads to mountains emerging on our desks. Coping with several pieces of paper that slip through the fingers of the support manager can be possible if you are well organised. It can be useful to sort everything into just two piles. it indicates poor organisation. First accept that your desk is for working on. These are the immediate tasks. Your desk is not: • A coffee or tea table • A filing area • A storage area • A chair Most often people tend to leave several items on their desks as a result of fear i. The next day you need to re-sort some of the things that were not urgent the previous day and were in pile two which may need to be transferred to pile one. People also judge with their eyes and an untidy desks tend to make people assume you have an untidy mind and poor self-discipline Clearing a desk is easy.e. slow down progress of work and increases distractions.

. • Group items together for storage Handling clutter Clutter isn’t just paper but it is simply disorder and it is more than just a mess and it often gets in the way of one’s work. Handling clutter is not about being tidy. you do need to give some thought to your shelves and storage areas. and given that your desk is not a storage space.Organising shelves and storage After you have organised most aspects of your immediate work space. Break the area down and be ruthless! • Break your work area down into areas to make them easier to handle. it’s about being free to do work without interference from things in the way.

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