Time management – a challenge for productivity
Time management has always been one of the most challenging issues to be dealt with, especially nowadays, when the sense of time passed is one of the most commonly experienced feelings. The rush of day-to-day life became the struggle for reaching that sense of living the moment. At some point in life, every person should have gone to a time management class, read a book, or used an electronic day planner to organize, or to prioritize time.
Although we are provided with a diversified amount of gadgets to help us manage time, most of them are useless. The error is born from branched time definitions: “the part of existence that is measured in minutes, days, years etc., or this process considered as a whole”. There are two types of time: clock time and real time. Clock time is measured by seconds, minutes, hours, days, etc., while real time is relative because it represents the effective period during which things occur. While clock time flows equally, real time can flow different, depending on the situation. For example the sense of time passing can be felt differently when enjoying an activity, or when performing other duties.
There are several essential steps, as highlighted by Entrepreneur magazine, which have to be considered in managing working hours:
- Start your day by planning. Take the first 30 minutes every day to plan your day. Don’t start your day until you complete your time plan. The most important time of your day is the time you schedule.
- Always carry a schedule – If you manage to carry a schedule of every conversation, thought, activity, you’ll be aware of how much time is actually used for achieving results, and how much time is wasted on unproductive activities, conversations, thoughts, actions.
- Important activities should have a time assessment. You have to create time for high priorities by scheduling appointments with yourself in order to establish the actions, thoughts, or conversations that are mandatory for your work. Schedule when they will begin and end.
- Spend much time on productive activities. Spend at least 50% of your time engaged in the thoughts, activities and conversations that produce the best results. You have to monitor your actions and prioritize those which provide desired outcomes.
- Time for interruption. This time should also have to be scheduled in order to have a perfect organization of all your time. If you are able to plan the time to be pulled away from what you’re doing, your chances to be more productive are better.
- Feedback. Take 5 minutes before every activity and task what result you want to attain: this will help you know how success will look like before you start. This will also slow time down. Take 5 minutes after each activity to determine whether the desired level of results was achieved or not.
- Do not disturb. Inform your colleagues when you have a mandatory work to finish and put up a “Do not disturb” sign.
- Do not answer the phone / emails. Practice not answering the phone just because it’s ringing and emails just because they show up.
- Block Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Block out these distractions unless you use these tools to generate business.
- It’s impossible to get everything done. Remember that it is impossible to be perfect and 20% of your thoughts, conversations, actions or activities produce 80% of your results. Working harder does not necessary mean being more productive.
In order for you to achieve a high degree of productivity, you have to clear your mind and to set objectives. To this purpose, an important initiative to be implemented would be to permanently monitor your personal performance. Therefore, one has the ability to develop self-awareness and accountability, by improving productivity both at work, and outside working hours. Learn to establish clear life directions and efficient methods to manage information, time and stress.
According to Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, you have to spend time on the important but non-urgent aspects of your work, spend virtually less time answering e-mails or attending meetings and always remember that you are the manager of your time and you set your priorities. In today’s challenging and complex world, being highly effective is prior to achieving success. To innovate, excel and lead this new reality, one has to reach effectiveness towards fulfillment.
- Covey, S., R. (2013) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
- 10 Time Management Tips that Work (n.d.) Entrepreneur Magazine
- The KPI Institute (2015), Certified Personal Performance Professional Training Course