Managing Your Time Effectively
Highly successful people effectively manage their time and understand that once their time is used it cannot be recaptured. They also understand what their time is worth and treat their time as a valuable resource.
What is your time worth?
It is a great exercise to calculate what your time is worth as this can be very revealing. For a person making $100,000 per year with 2,080 hours per year (40 hours per week over 52 weeks), the hourly rate would be $100,000 / 2,080 = $48.08 per hour. If you then divide by 60 the rate is $0.80 per minute.
If you factor in and remove non-productive time for statutory holidays, vacations, average sick time, training time …etc, the hours per year would be in the order of 1,650 hours per year and so the calculated hourly rates would be higher as would the rate per minute. In the example above, the hourly rate would be $60.60 per hour and $1.01 per minute.
Highly successful people plan in minutes, not hours.
At places of business, we often frown on employees who waste office supplies, raw material in factory production, or other examples but we generally do not think of “wasted time” as an area of waste and yet this is usually the biggest area of waste for any company.
So, what are the key factors in effective time management?
Here are the 12 key factors to consider when managing your time.
- Start every workday with designated planning time. Dedicate the first part of the morning for this and make this a ritual.
- I recommend the use of a physical paper-based planning system that requires you to write down imperative items that must be completed for the day. This does not mean you would not also track meetings and follow-up items in an electronic planning system such as Google Calendar or Outlook. By writing down what is required, you will have a greater impact on your thoughts and critical thinking.
- Focus on high-priority items that will produce results. Often these items are not urgent but will have a long-term impact. Remember the Pareto principle where 20% of your time has 80% of the overall impact.
- Plan in minutes versus hours.
- Do not use To-Do Lists! Rather, make sure you book time in your planning system to complete the required items. To-Do lists typically lack any methods for prioritization and people tend to knock off the easy items first to feel better. However, the important items often get overlooked or put off and forgotten, and these are usually the items that produce results. Long To-Do Lists can also create a depressing impact for the person who manages them.
- Block times for emails and social media and refrain from stopping other activities you have planned to respond to emails and social media responses. Responding to emails twice a day is typically acceptable.
- Attempt to touch each email once only and make a decision to delete, delegate, or deal with the email.
- Avoid multitasking wherever possible as this is a huge productivity killer. According to Professor Gloria Mark from the University of California, it takes about 2 minutes and 11 seconds to fully return to a task after interruption.
- Turn off audible notifications at your computer and cell phone. Also, turn off email notifications on your computer screen.
- Avoid meetings wherever possible as many can be time killers. If you do attend meetings, be an advocate for proper meeting management (everyone is on time, only those who need to attend are invited, there is an agenda, time is devoted to solving problems versus reporting on the past, actions are captured, and the meeting ends on time).
- It is important to take breaks to stretch, take a walk, and hydrate. Meals are important and need to be planned. The combination of body movement, hydration, and nourishment will provide a higher energy level to be productive.
- Make the effort to be home for dinner or if working from home to end your workday at a reasonable time. Work-life balance is important and work can continue later in the evening or the next day.
There is much more to effective time management but these 12 key points are extremely important.
Contact me if you are interested in improving your overall productivity and impact as a leader as the Effective Personal Productivity program from Leadership Management International will provide the results you are seeking.