Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Time Management - A New Rebeginning

I Don't Have Time for Time Management

Time management continues to be my greatest nemesis. During my life, I have been to some very good (and some not so good) time managment seminars and I have come the following conclusions:

1. There is really nothing particularly new or creative about these seminars. The ideas are typically based on common sense, but if you really don't want to improve your time management skills, no seminar is going to help.

2. I always try to incorporate the time management ideas discussed in these seminars, but I soon fall back into my usual habits. (I know what you are thinking, so stop it right now.)

3. I wish there was an easy way to just buy an extra block of time to add to my 24 hour day. I can see it now.....

....That's right folks. For only $19.95 you get 30 extra minutes added to your day. And the next 15 callers get, absolutely free, five bonus minutes. But you must act now. Call 1-800- moe-time and one of our time sales people will assist you....

Barebones Time Management Basics

If only life was so simple. I should be a time management expert by now. So I decided to put together the best single idea that I have run across to start the big step toward better time management. It's nothing new, just barebones, time management basics. So fasten your seatbelts...we are ready for liftoff!!!!

1. Track your time during your work day. Every minute. If you talk on the phone for five minutes to your friend, write it down. If you daydream out the window for 10 minutes, write it down. If you search the Internet (who am I kidding), make that "When" you search the Internet for ________ (you fill in the blank), track the time. By now you are getting a better idea of why I need to control my time better.

Once you know how you are spending your time, you can identify where you can save your time.

2. Create a daily schedule of your workday plans. Write down your meetings and other planned work activities, even if you have to just guess at the time frames. Over time you will get better at scheduling your day as you analyze the schedules from previous days.

3. Compare your daily projected schedule to the way you actually spent your time. In cartoons, this is usually when you utter words like "Eureka" and a lightbulb flashes over your head.

Do this for 30 days. Each day, compare the projected schedule with the actual results. Focus on reducing the length of those phone calls, those 1000 mile stares out of the window, and try to keep that search engine closed except during lunch. Work on scheduling your day more accurately.

At the end of 30 days compare your schedule from the first day and the last day. I think you will be suprised at the results. Your schedule will be more accurate and that "wasted" time will be reduced. This is just a place to start improving your time management skills. You can use the electronic device of your choice (ah, the new mellinium), a daytimer, or a simple piece of paper to schedule your time. Take it with you wherever you go to accurately track your time.

If you have any techniques you use to manage your time, please add a comment. I'm always looking for new ideas.

And just so you don't think I'm using the old "do as I say and not as I do" strategy, I'm going to use my own advice and try it again. And this time I vow not to fall back into my old habits. (I know what you are thinking, so stop it right now.)

Talk to you soon,

Mark Weaver