Have you noticed how the topic of Time Management is getting mentioned and discussed more frequently recently? More and more people are starting to realise that managing time efficiently will enable us to achieve more in less time. Whether we are ready for it or not, it’s now the age of multi-tasking. Gone are the days when your jobscope has a few clearly defined responsibilities and other things are non of your business.

I think that almost everyone knows this aspect of Time Management; don’t waste time. Yet, day to day, we keep doing it; loafing on the couch or at the coffee shop, yakking on the mobile for too long, and my personal addiction… spending a little bit too much time surfing the Internet.

Those who studied Management, or even read a few books on the subject will be familiar with the four key terms that define the subject:

  • Planning
  • Organising
  • Leading
  • Controlling

Essentially, Time Management is merely a process of applying these methods to how you make use of your time. It really is that simple!

Planning: Allocating and Budgeting

Almost everyone does some sort of planning when it comes to their time. The difference between successful time managers and those who are not too successful are significantly noticable from the planning stage. Some simply don’t plan their time, while others are too engulfed in this process.

Remember, regardless of how perfect you want your Time Management to be, if you spend too much time planning for the whole thing, doesn’t this defeat the purpose? You’re supposed to be managing time, not to be a slave to it!

The keyword here is flexibility. Allocate sufficient time to perform specific duties, and at the same time budget some leeway time before and after the scheduled event. We’ve experienced a lot of weird incidents to prove that not everything goes according to plan, right?

Organising: Using Available Resources To Achieve Goals

One common misconception that causes people to revert to inefficient Time Management is thinking along the lines of; “How can I do all this myself!”.

One thing we need to be very clear about is we can’t do everything by ourselves! There are always ways to delegate lower priority tasks to others. This doesn’t only apply professionally, but can be used at home as well. Start assigning responsibilities to children early on. Clearly tell your son he is in charge of keeping his toys properly organised. Tell him how important this job is and how you’re relying on him to be successful in doing this.

You’re not limited to “outsourcing” when it comes to organising. PDAs, mobile phones, diaries, and even pieces of Post-It notes can be very useful tools to help you organise. We have a very powerful mind, but let’s face it… we can’t remember everything! Hence, it’s nice to put our plans in writing for easier reference.

Believe it or not, such a simple method can improve your productivity significantly. Your mind can focus more on getting things done rather than figuring out what you have to do.

Leading: Order In The House!

Leadership is not about being the boss. It’s a lot more. We may be a superior to our subordinates, but are we acknowledged as their leaders? This is not necessarily true. Being a leader means you are able to keep track of assignments given not only to subordinates, but also colleagues as well as seniors. To put it simply, it’s the process of understanding your business.

Even if we’re a one-man-show, leadership is essential in keeping your plans on track. Remember that running your own business means you are your own boss. Hence, you need perform the jobs that good bosses do; keeping staff motivated, furthering the business, providing necessary resources for the organisation to grow and getting in touch with talented people that could help you in areas of your business.

If you’re running a sole proprietorship, you’re better off concentrating on your core business. Often times, this involves outsourcing non-core functions to contractors. If a contractor is slacking, make it clear to them that you have other alternatives.

Good leadership involves knowing when to be displomatic and when to put your foot down firmly. It requires tremendous self-determination, experience and know-how. There’s no “secret to good leadership”. You’ve got to find your strengths and leverage to them in developing your leadership style.

Without good leadership, you’ll find that more and more interruptions will be taking up a huge bulk of your time. Too much control and you’ll be inundated with authorisation requests. It’s not rosy when you have no control either. Your time will then be spent fixing things that got broken by subordinates or contractors who overstep their boundaries of authorities.

Controlling: Keeping Yourself In The Loop

Imagine this scenario; You’ve set up plans for a potentially successful venture, organised your resources to make it a success and defined clearly the responsibilities of your staff and contractors…

Then you said to your staff, “Goodbye everyone! I’m taking a vacation to Kenya for about three weeks. See you guys when I get back!”.

During that three weeks, you have zero connection with the outside world, and more importantly, your staff. Do you think your business will still be around when you get back?

The issue is more serious when it comes to time. You can always start another business, but you can never buy lost time. Therefore, having control is imperative for good Time Management. What’s the use of planning when you can’t implement any of those plans?

Having control of your time not only means prioritising, it’s the process of giving you the freedom on allocating and reallocating your activities. Time is one thing that everyone has the same amount of. Nobody has 70 minutes in an hour or 25 hours in a day or eight days a week. We all have the same amount of time.

The difference between successful time planners and the rest is that they have better control of their time. They decide what to get done and when. More importantly, they stick to their decisions.

In conclusion, Time Management gives you the freedom to achieve more with your time. Here’s some links that will help you get started in managing your time better:

Do you know of any more Time Management tips, links or tools? Please share them with us!

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