Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Time Management



"Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else."  Peter F. Drucker

Availability of Time: Not an Issue

I am short of time. Day's 24 hours are not enough for me. Wish I had more time. These are the various phrases we hear from many people often. But it is not true. Every body has enough free time after accounting for all the hours one spends on all the essential activities.

Here are the calculations for a typical week:

Total available hours 24 hours X 7 days = 168 hours
Minus Average sleep 7 hours X 7 days = 49 hours
Total waking hours = 119 hours
Average time at office 8 hours X 6 days = 48 hours
Average time commuting 2 hours X 6 days = 12 hours
Total work time = 60 hours
Total work time as % of waking hours 50% approximately
Free time available after accounting for work time and sleep time = 59 hours

Time availability, therefore, isn’t an issue. Most important thing is “how to take control of your time (and therefore, your life)”.

Every person has 168 hours a week. What you do with these hours impacts your life in short term as well as long term.

You Are a Great Time Manager

If you can manage or find time for:
  • spouse
  • children
  • family
  • professional work
  • introspection and self improvement
  • relationships
  • sleep and relaxation
  • hobbies and interests
  • exercises and walks
  • enjoying the nature
  • reading
  • humor and laugh
  • music
  • travel
  • watching few good movies and few good television programs
Peculiar Nature of “Time” Resource
  • Time is a “resource”; perhaps the most important resource of existing and emerging scenario
  • Time can not be stored, it can not be preserved and so it is irretrievable once gone
  • Time is not transferable; it is personal
  • Time is irreversible
  • No rework is possible on time
  • Time itself can not be sold, therefore it can not be purchased
  • Therefore, Time is a peculiar resource: needs to be handled differently and more carefully
Ask this question frequently: What is the best use of my time right now?
  • Work out goals for a chosen period (or if possible, work our lifetime goals)
  • Resolve goal conflicts
  • Set priorities
  • Select your top three goals
  • List the possible activities for each of the three goals
  • Set priorities to allow you to select the most effective activity to do now
  • Prepare "weekly to do list" and then "daily to do" list
  • Act as per priority activities chosen
  • Choose the most effective way to accomplish the task
  • Move on to the next priority task and so on till you achieve the goal
Resolve Conflict Between Urgent and Important Tasks

Go by the following sequence in terms of prioritising your tasks or activities:
  1. Important but not urgent tasks (If you take these as your top priority, the urgent tasks will minimize. As urgency minimizes, your stress levels will also come down. Refer: work pattern questionnaire at http://managing-stress-strain.blogspot.com/)
  2. Urgent and important tasks (You will have to take them up as priority but you should try to minimize instances of such tasks by concentrating on important but not urgent tasks)
  3. Urgent but not important tasks
  4. Not important and not urgent tasks
Thus, Time Management is a Five Stage Process
  1. Planning: Goal setting/target setting, prioritizing the goals
  2. Activity analysis: Selection of activities, eliminating or minimizing non-optimal/non-value adding activities
  3. Prioritizing the activities and scheduling: Their sequencing, preparing activity network and putting them on a time line
  4. Resource organization: Plan out and position the required resources
  5. Execution, review and correction: Carry out the activities, review them on a planned basis and incorporate corrections/modifications to ensure timely and economic completion
Most Interesting Thing about Time Management: You Can't Waste It in Advance

This point holds a very important lesson to learn. And that is- howsoever badly you might have goofed on your time management in the past, the time that will be available to you from this moment onwards for your entire future is still intact, uncorrupted and full in quantity; as much as all of others will have.
So learn time management right now and apply it properly from now on. If you feel that you wasted your time in the past, you just have no power to waste the time that you have for your future. Your future still remains spotless. You lost nothing much, you can still make up for it and still go further.
You still have the power to plan out your tomorrow. Use all the good time management principles and reshape rest of your life on personal, family and professional fronts. Your second, third and many more innings can still be brilliant.
And its not too late either since tomorrow is just a day away from now.

Procrastinating (Thief of Time)

Why Do We Procrastinate?
  • Boredom
  • Fear
Areas of Procrastination
  • Difficult people
  • Boring tasks
  • Risky/unfamiliar work
  • Difficult phone calls
  • Large projects
  • Public contacts
  • Small tasks
Pick on the two which you find particularly problematic and make them the focus of your attention over the next few weeks.

How Do We Procrastinate?
  • Small versus large
  • Perfectionist
  • Phoning at lunch
  • Waste of time
  • Avoiding the task
Action Plan for Less Procrastination
  • Commit yourself to start times.
  • Break large projects down into manageable portions.
  • Control the amount of paper on your desk.
  • Prioritize your tasks.
  • Reward yourself : Give yourself a deadline and then plan a treat when you reach it. This will give you something to look forward to.
refer Shyam Bhatawdekar’s website: http://shyam.bhatawdekar.com/

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