Time has become a ‘human resource’ for companies and the self-employed, where we use our time and skill for productivity. However, there are many factors that waste our time, including ourselves.
There are so many books on time management, you could purchase a new one each week, but would it really help you in the long term? Most books concentrate on methods, but the best place to start is by changing your attitude and to embrace change. Are you willing to experiment with new ways of working to help in managing your time?
You can start by questioning yourself, think about:
What am I doing that really does not need to be done at all?
Which activities could be handled by someone else?
What do I do that wastes other people’s time?
What I am doing that could be done in less time?
Do people waste my time?
There are internal factors: these are self-induced timewasting activities and relate to poor management of ourselves, and external factors: these are connected to other people and event, encouraging or forcing us to use time inefficiently or ineffectively.
Within your day, do you waste others time as an external factor, asking things that you already know? Do you have to do everything yourself, when if tasks were delegated, you would have more time to concentrate on that new project you want to win.
How much time to you spend on urgent work and how much on important work? Often because work is urgent, it is poorly planned and carried out, taking much longer than it should. There is a military quote that applies here: ‘poor planning promotes poor performance’ .
What are some quick wins that could help?
Make a list of things to do, this could be done in the morning over your first cup of tea of the day
Prioritise them: A, B, C
Tackle A tasks when you are in your most productive part of the day, different for us all
Set aside planning or quiet time and stick to it, put your phone on voicemail or forward to another member of your team
Take yourself away from your desk when planning, a change of scene often helps with productivity
Delegate and once you have handed the task off, leave them to it!
Set regular times to check your emails, first thing, lunchtime and at the end of the day
Tackle one thing at a time
Take regular breaks
Set aside time at the end of each day to plan for tomorrow
Trying a few of the above quick wins, could help you identify tasks that could be outsourced, allowing you to spend your time more productively on your own business or developing projects within your company.