Time Management


Learning Objectives
• When you have completed this module you will be able to define the key concepts associated with Time Management and you will be able to: • Identify the main obstacles to effective Time Management in your daily role • Understand the nature of Time Management

Learning Objectives
• Understand a range of tools, techniques and concepts for Time Management • Use these techniques to build an effective Time Management process that will enhance your productivity and lower your stress • Explain the benefits of having an effective Time Management process




Time Management & The Organization
• Looking at time management from the perspective of the organization what are the benefits:
– Improved productivity through improved use of time by the personnel – Better performance in terms of on time delivery to customers – Increased profitability through better use of the human and non-human resources


Time Management & The Organization
– Improved planning and control of business systems through time based management – Better alignment of activities by incorporating a time bound system for coordination of tasks and projects in the business – Reduction of stress that arises due to crisis management by reducing the incidence of crises by better planning

What is Time Management? Time as a Commodity Essential Habits Types of Time Over & Under Estimation of Time

What is Time Management?
• Time management has five main aspects:
– – – – – Planning & Goal Setting Managing Yourself Dealing with Other People Your Time Getting Results

– The first 4 all interconnect and interact to generate the fifth - results

Time as a Commodity
• Time is the most precious thing we have • Time is ultimately the most valuable resource • Time and how we spend it within the organization must be managed effectively • Time is totally perishable • Time cannot be stored up for use later

Essential Habits
• Essential habits for good time management are:
– – – – – – – – Know where the hours are going Keep focused on the end result Work to defined priorities Schedule time for important issues Delegate routine tasks and responsibility for them Confront your own indecision and delay Take the stress out of work Keep applying the essential habits!

Types of Time
• Time can be categorized into two types:
– Fast time
• when absorbed in, or enjoying an activity

– Slow time
• when bored with an activity or having a bad time • when scared

Over- & Under-estimating Time
• Time for tasks or activities can be overor under-estimated due to
– Intensity of activity – Level of brain function – Length of gaps between enjoyments – Fear or ecstasy


Effects of Estimating Time Incorrectly • Under-estimation of time
• Stress due to committing to too many tasks • Poor quality output • Deadlines may be missed

• Over-estimation of time
• Stress due to people pressing to have activities completed • Poor quality output • Deadlines set may not match requirements

Time Management Principles


Time Management Principles
Time Management Principles Spent Time Matrix Quadrant 2 Time-Based Management


Time Management
• Covey identified 4 waves in time management
– 1 Notes and Checklists
– Recognition of the demands on energy & time

– 2 Calendars and appointment books
– Scheduling with some focus on the future

– 3 Prioritization
– Comparison of the relative worth of activities

– 4 Self management
– Realization that time cannot be managed - it is ourselves that we have to manage!
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Covey,1989 16

Spent Time Matrix
Urgent Q1 Important Q3
Crises Deadlines

Not Urgent Q2
Prevention Relationship Building Planning Recreation Pleasant Activities Busy Work Time Wasters Trivia

Not Important

Interruptions Some Meetings Popular Activities



Quadrant 1
• Being in Quadrant 1 brings
– Stress – Burnout – Crises management – Firefighting – Focus on the immediate


Quadrant 3
• Being in Quadrant 3 brings
– Short term focus – Crises management – Low value on goals – Feeling of victimization / lack of control – Shallow relationships


Quadrants 3 & 4
• Cycling between Quadrants 3 & 4 brings:
– Total irresponsibility – High dependency on others for basics – Short career path in the organization

Quadrant 2
• Being in Quadrant 2 brings:
– Vision – Perspective – Balance – Discipline – Control
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Covey,1989 21

Characteristics of a Quadrant 2 Person

• There are six basic criteria to allow a person to function in Quadrant 2:
– Coherence – Balance – Focus – An ability to get on with people – Flexibility – Portability

Quadrant 2 Requirements
The basic requirements to reach Quadrant 2 are: • Clear definition of organizational roles and specifically your own role • Selection of and focus on SMART goals • Development and utilization of schedules • The practice of daily adapting in work role


Saying No and Quadrant 2
• To stay within Quadrant 2, there is a requirement that you must say no:
– In a professional manner – When items are associated with Quadrant 3 or Quadrant 4 activities
• Not important not urgent • Not important but urgent • Will not deliver competitive advantage


Time-Based Management
• Fundamentals:
– Focus is on time and resources – Pre-analysis of performance – Analysis of goals and objectives – Systemization of processes

Focus on Time & Resources
• For effective management of time there needs to be a reasonable attempt made to look at the time and resources required to complete a task:




The quality of the outcome is directly influenced by the resources and time constraints involved

Pre-Analysis Of Performance
• The ability to learn from past experience allows time management to improve performance • The discipline of reviewing past performance allows the organization to:
– Debug projects before initiation and subsequent waste of resources – Define critical points in processes which need to have particular attention paid to them – Improve the overall utilization of resources by capturing and implementing best practice


Analysis of Goals & Objectives
• By setting goals that relate to business performance and conform to SMART criteria the organization will improve productivity:
– S -- specific and well defined objectives – M -- measurable outputs and inputs – A -- achievable in terms of resources available and expectations – R -- relevant to the overall business strategy – T -- time bound with an operational schedule

Systemization of Processes
• The ability to design and implement processes that allow consistency of
– Input – Output – Training and skill transfer – Consistency allows for time to be gauged accurately for activities which assists in the scheduling aspect of capacity planning in the organization

Time-based Management
• Need to look at
– Is the allotted time for completion of plans realistic for the person / team? – In the effort to achieve results, is efficient use made of the available time? – For teams - how can the time available be used to generate the optimal results? – Is task-related time management appropriate and realistic in the situation?

Productive Work


Productive Work
Busy V’s Productive Indecision & Delay Overwork Urgency V Importance Prioritization

Busy Work
• Just because you are busy does not mean that you are productive • Differentiate between
– Effectiveness -- doing the right things – Efficiency -- doing the right things correctly

Busy v Productive Work
• Problem No 1: Procrastination • Putting off doing the things that you should be doing at this point! • Solution
• • • • • List all tasks that you are currently putting off Remove two from the list by doing them now! Plan and set a schedule for dealing with the rest Reward when tasks are completed Punish when tasks are not completed on schedule


Dealing with Indecision or Delay
• When faced with a task - decide to deal with it according to one of the following actions:
– Do it – Delegate it – Dump it – Deadline it – Dissect it

Busy v Productive Work
• Problem No 2: Paralyzing perfectionism
– This is a failure to recognize the difference between excellence and perfection

• Excellence
• • • • Achievable Healthy Satisfying Realistic

• Perfection
• Unattainable • Frustrating • Unrealistic

Busy v Productive Work
• Problem No 3: Setting unchallenging objectives
– Objectives need to be set that challenge you in a realistic manner and take heed of resource availability Otherwise you are busy without any possibility of success

• Use SMARTS criteria where the objectives are:
– – – – – – Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Time-bound Supported by the organization


• Overwork can have effects that may be classified as
– Psychological – Physiological

• People are overloaded for two main reasons
– The person or team does too much – The person or team have too much to do

• To deal with over-work, try the following
– Understand your pressures – Don’t get worked up or panicked – Don’t blame everything on yourself – Walk away – Estimate time as well as possible – Agree priorities and keep them – Remind yourself that there is a limited amount of time available to you

Urgency V Importance
• Differentiating between
– Urgent tasks
• assume importance as they demand immediate attention

– Important tasks
• May become urgent if left undone • Usually have a long term effect

– To judge importance v urgency, gauge tasks in terms of
• Impact of doing them • Effect of not doing them

Prioritization Grid
Importance Priority 2 Priority 1

Priority 4

Priority 3 Urgency


• The main aim of prioritization is to avoid a crisis • To do this then you must

Schedule your Priorities as opposed to Prioritizing your Schedule

Crisis Management


Crisis Management

Proactive V Reactive Why Crises Occur Anticipating & Preventing Crises


Proactive v Reactive Work
• Reactive work - concentrates on getting things done
– Handling daily routines – Dealing with urgency – Resolving crises – Handling interruptions

Proactive v Reactive Work
• Proactive work - concentrates on making things happen
– Developing plans and schedules – Focusing on key tasks – Achieving deadlines & targets – Managing projects

Why Crises Occur
• Checklist of reasons:
– Failure to recognize the crisis – Underestimation of time required – No contingency plan is ready – No follow-up on delegated tasks

Anticipating & Preventing Crises • The most effective way to anticipate and prevent crises is to:
– Set deadlines and stick with them – Use interim targets and milestones to break the task or project into manageable chunks – Build the schedule so that it is realistic



What is a Plan? Information & Planning Time Management Systems Goals & Time Spans Cascading The Daily Plan


Planning in Time Management

Rule No 1 Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

What is a Plan?

A plan is a road map set in real time to reach an objective or set of objectives through the use of defined resources

Information & Planning
Essential information: • You need to know what you have to plan • Once this is established
– Break the task into manageable chunks – Gauge the time required for each chunk – Schedule each chunk into a logical sequence


Time Management Systems
• There are certain key criteria that need to be applied to a time management system:
– Functional – Portable – Intelligible


Time Management Systems
Pitfalls • Totally dis-organized ‘system’
– Nothing can be located when required

• Perfectly maintained system
– Too much time is spent keeping the system in perfect condition as opposed to actioning the items contained within it

Time Management Systems
• Key components
– – – – – – – – – – Appointments Dated deadlines Tasks - to do and work in progress Ideas and notes Key task identification Personal information Financial planning records Crises log Project log Contact list

Goals & Time-spans
• A time management system is ineffective if defined goals are not available to work towards
– Strategic Goals - long term goals, perhaps out to five years – Tactical Goals - medium term goals, from 3 - 12 months ahead – Operational Goals - short term goals defining the exact action to be taken The schedule may cover hours or days


Checklist for Goals
• Checklist for Goals
– Are they realistic and challenging? – Have they been agreed with the manager and linked to the performance appraisal system? – Do you know what it will look like when you have achieved the goal (visualization)? – Are the goals important to you? – Is there a time bound aspect to the goals? – Are the goals SMART? – What will the reward be once the goals have been achieved?

• Planning levels should cascade as follows:
– Yearly overview plan – Monthly Plan – Weekly Plan – Daily Plan
• Note that in the cascade, the time span decreases whereas the level of complexity increases


The Daily Plan
• The Daily Plan should cover three main areas:
– Scheduled activities for the day showing time allocated to each – Identification of key tasks for the day to allow them to be prioritized – Indication of who you need to contact during the day to allow you to complete tasks

The Daily Plan
• When setting out the daily plan pay attention to the following points:
– When do you perform best, suit your biorhythm – Build in planning time at the start and end of the day – Prioritize actions into ‘musts, shoulds and coulds and focus on the ‘musts’

The Daily Plan
• Guidelines continued
– Leave room for unexpecteds – Don’t stack meetings back to back – Batch telephone calls – Build in quality time


Tips & Techniques


Tips & Techniques
Time Logs Quality Time Managing Documents Managing Interruptions Managing Workspace Managing your Phone

• A time-log is an effective way to see where your time actually goes to during the working day Record the information for about 2 weeks to get a representative picture of time spent • By logging activities and the time taken to complete them, the time-log provides useful information that can identify
• • • • • Accuracy of estimating time for tasks Time stealing activities Level of interruption Loading during the day Crises points / tasks

Quality Time
• Quality time is where you can plan to do the most important high priority tasks • It allows for deep concentration through eliminating interruptions • It imposes a structure on work • It allows you to move away from reactive work to proactive work

Dealing with Documents
• Document handling can steal a vast quantity of time from our working day • Improve your document handling by:
• Handling documents only once by :
– Act on what is required by the document – File the document for reference later – Dump the document

Dealing with Documents
• Have a good system for handling your documents that allows you to:
– Define what you need to keep and for how long – Allows you to file materials easily and logically – Facilitates access to materials – Purge the files on a regular basis


Managing Interruptions
• Try to reduce the number of interruptions by applying the following techniques:
• Create a visual barrier at your workspace to reduce the incidence of ‘drop-in’ visits • Don’t have extra chairs in your workspace - people do not hang around as long if they must stand • For important work - move to another space so the potential interruptors can’t find you! • Tell people that you are busy, explain why and arrange to contact them at a more suitable time

Managing Your Workspace
• How our workspace is organized has an impact on how efficient we are - try the following to improve efficiency
– De-clutter your desk by clearing it at the end of each working day – File documents once they have been used – Purge files regularly – Organize a work flow system in your space


Managing Your Phone
• The telephone can be responsible for eating vast quantities of time - control the phone by using:
– Batch your outward calls – Delegate calls that you don’t have to make personally to one of your team – Terminate calls once the business has been done – Set up a rota in your team for handling incoming calls




• • • • Have a great planning system and use it Take on realistic goals an schedule accurately Do not over-commit Set and agree priorities to distinguish between urgent and important tasks Build in some flexibility to cope with anything unexpected Control your documents, workspace and phone

• •


• Don’t procrastinate – Manage Your Time Today • Define and use periods of quality time in your schedule • Learn to say No in a professional manner • Stay away from perfectionism and aim for excellence • Build in time for personal development