Do you ever wish that you or your team were better at managing your available time more effectively to achieve your objectives? In today's competitive environment, time management and goal setting skills are vital.
Increasing productivity at all levels is often a strategic goal, and poor use of time is a real problem.
Have you ever found that when you manage to release yourself from a time-consuming task or laborious activity that your productivity and fulfillment does not improve? Sadly, we often fill the time saved or created with yet another ineffective activity, creating further frustration.
The idea of time management has been around for more than 100 years, but don't be fooled by the expression. Time can't be managed, we can only manage ourselves and our use of time. Time management is actually self management, and it's interesting that the skills we need to manage others are the same skills we need to manage ourselves: the ability to plan, organise, monitor, direct and delegate.
Effective time management is central to all management training, life coaching and business coaching. Filling out time management forms or buying a diary or computer will not solve your time management issues alone. One of the most important keys to effective time management is goal setting within a coaching framework.
A business coach will understand that there is nothing worse than being well organised but organised around the wrong things.
Coaching will help you to achieve the following time management essentials:
Effective time management means developing the skill of spending your time on the things that matter.
In order to focus on achieving goals, it is important to identify those time wasting activities which deflect us from the task in hand. Some of the most common time wasters in the office are listed below.
You may recognise some of these time wasters as being responsible for reducing the effectiveness of your own time management. Some of these are likely to be areas which you and your coach will want to work on.
There are many different techniques and ideas you can employ to manage your time effectively, and working with a coach will help you to explore the best options for you. We have suggested some possible time management activities below to help you work smarter rather than harder.
1. Set goals
Always define your objectives as clearly as possible. Decide what it is you want to achieve long term and be prepared to stick to this wherever possible and be flexible wherever necessary.
2. Have a plan
Sounds obvious, but you can't achieve your goals without a plan. Plan your yearly, monthly and weekly activities and establish priorities. Constantly monitor and re-evaluate your plans against progress to ensure you stay on track.
3. Analyse your time
Make sure your use of time is efficient and effective. Eliminate time wasters and focus on important tasks. Stop reacting to tasks which appear urgent but carry no importance towards achieving your goals.
Accept that you can't do everything, and that other people can be trusted. When you do delegate, explain the task and the result required thoroughly, and then let them get on with it.
5. Communicate efficiently
Be ruthlessly efficient in your handling of letters and phone calls. Handle correspondence and calls only once; deal with them there and then if possible, don't put them aside to come back to later. Screen calls with an answering machine or PA and set a time limit for telephone conversations. Offer to call back if more time is required.
Understanding time management principles is not difficult, but to get results you must be committed to building time management techniques into your daily routine. A professional coach will be there to see that you build these skills into your daily work. By setting goals, planning activities and eliminating time wasters, and doing this every day, you may find you can achieve your goals yet still have more time for those people and pastimes most important to you.
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