23 Jul Time Management
You may not be promoted to a manager position but you will definitely need to plan the way your time will be spent, hence time management. If a completion date is not assigned to your project, you will likely be asked to provide one and make it known to your supervision. If your estimate is reasonable and accepted, you will be held to it (Peter et al, 2017).
Feeling time-pressed has become ubiquitous. Time management strategies have emerged to help individuals fit in more of their desired and necessary activities (Malkoc et al, 2018).
Some professionals may find time management to be confining and restrictive; they believe that they do not need to create a schedule covering every possible minute of their workday in order to feel fully organized and busy at all times. But time management should be seen as a first step in organizing their daily schedules.
Time management can be summed up as follows:
- Time management allows professionals to accomplish their daily tasks effectively and efficiently.
- Time management plans should be flexible to allow for any changes in a professional’s schedule.
- Time management plans should allow professionals to deal with their customers first.
- Time management plans should vary daily to allow for changes in a professional’s tasks.
- Each and every day, create a to-do list and prioritize that list with the most important task that needs to be completed on that day. Then prioritize other daily tasks in the order you think those tasks need to be handled.
- Break your larger tasks into smaller (Cooperman, 2018).
Better time management is associated with fewer attention problems. Here is my top-10 list of ways to manage time effectively:
- Establish the perimeter. This in military term refers to understanding what is in the scope of the project and what is not.
- Break it down. Define manageable parts (divide and conquer) so you can be sure you do not spend time working on out-of-scope tasks.
- Plan. Assign completion dates inside the overall project completion target dates. Put these shorter-term dates in your planner so you can see them every morning when you open your physical or virtual planner.
- Start. The most difficult task with any project is beginning the work. Think of the Nike expression, “Just do it.” Unfortunately you will realize that by the time the project is assigned to you, you will already be behind on the overall program schedule, guaranteed.
- Tackle. Do the tough stuff first and get it out of the way.
- Look ahead. You may need to order materials or software in advance due to their “lead time.” This way you ensure whatever you will need will be ready later.
- Avoid. Stay away from those situations in the office that you are certain to be big time wasters.
- 80–20. Be aware that most technical personnel will spend 80% of their time on 20% of the task. Do not spin your wheels, you may need to ask for help if you hit a road block.
- Develop contingency plans. If you foresee a risk to the schedule, develop alternative actions. Similarly, if you anticipate finishing early, evaluate the consequences.
- Finish. This is the second most difficult task on any project. Our human nature always makes us think we need to do just a little more to achieve perfection, make it look pretty and put a bow on it. (Malatras et al, 2016).
- Cooperman, L. (2018). “Time Management for Online Instructors”. The Art of Teaching Online, How to Start and How to Succeed as an Online Instructor, Pages 13-17.
- Malatras, J. W., Israel, A. C., Sokolowski, K. L., Ryan, J. (2016). “First things first: Family activities and routines, time management and attention”. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, Volume 47, Pages 23-29.
- Malkoc, S., Tonietto, G. (2018). “Activity versus outcome maximization in time management”. Current Opinion in Psychology, Volume 26, April 2019, Pages 49-53.
- Peter, Y., Burke, P.E. (2017). “100 Things You Need to Know”. Technical Career Survival Handbook, Pages 195-196.