Time Management

Time – once it’s gone you can never get it back. Have you ever noticed as you get older time appears to pass more quickly? The long summer holidays you had as a child seemed to go on forever, but now a month flies by in the blink of an eye. 

We all have 24 hours in a day, but how and what you choose to do with your time can have a massive impact on your work and personal life. Effects of poor time management include:  

You will lack focus 

Being disorganised and not having timescales means that you can lose sight of what is really important. When this happens, you will focus on the urgent, not important, activities.  Without focus, how do you prevent crises in the future?   

You will miss deadlines 

If you are constantly completing urgent but not important tasks, how do you meet important deadlines? Without good time management deadlines can creep up on you or you can miss them completely. If you are rushing to meet a deadline, are you producing the kind of quality that you would if the task was well planned? 

You will look and feel disorganised

When you are not in control of your time, you tend to juggle lots of tasks meaning you end up extremely disorganised. Your to do list never gets any smaller, it’s harder to find things and you will get stressed. 

You overlook important details 

When you are struggling to fit everything in and rushing to meet deadlines, it's easy to overlook the details that are important.  In some instances, this can lead to significant errors.  It's a bad reflection on your professional ability.  It's definitely not the impression you want to make with the co-workers who depend on you. 

It can cause strained relationships 

If you are missing deadlines, being disorganised and producing substandard work, other people can feel frustrated with you. In turn, as your work load is piling up, you can also become more frustrated with them.  This can place a strain on relationships if it's not addressed. 

Here are some top tips to help manage your time. 

Time Management Tips 

1. A good place to start is by recording what you normally do in a day or week. Simply make notes as the day progresses, recording how much time is spent on each task. Once complete reflect on what it is that you’ve spent your time on and what those tasks achieved. Once you can identify those time wasting non-productive tasks you can start to plan your days more productively. 

2. Email is a godsend these days, it means quick efficient communication. However, how many times have you been doing a piece of work and a message pops up to say you’ve got a message. The temptation is there to ‘just check it’s nothing important’ then you end up responding to it anyway. Then you have to get back into the zone to continue on your original task. Try checking your email three times a day and turning it off in-between, you’ll be surprised at how much time this will save. 

3. Facebook and other social media – unless your role involves updating your customers via social media turn it off. Status updates and responding to friends is a constant distraction for many, if you must, check it in your lunch break. 

4. Meetings for meetings sake! How many times have you been in a meeting and thought ‘why did we need a meeting for this?’ Make sure that your attendance at a meeting is essential, can you send one of your team members or is a meeting really required. If people like the face to face element then why not consider Teams or Zoom, it’s free and easy to use. If a quick meeting is really required, try this little tip. Don’t book a meeting room. have the meeting standing up, it’s proven that the meeting will take less time. Obviously this won’t be suitable for all types of meetings! 

5. Colleagues – How often do you get asked ‘can you have a look at this?’ or ‘what do you think about such and such?’ Make sure if the task isn’t related to your role refer your colleague on to whoever is responsible. Having a quick catch up should be done over lunch not by the water cooler. 

6. Poorly defined tasks – Having to go back to your manager to ask questions about what exactly they want takes up unnecessary time. Make sure that tasks are well defined and that communication is effective to save time. 

7. Preparation – Make sure there is a clearly defined agenda for meeting so that you can prepare in advance. This in turn will save time. If you have any queries email prior to the meeting so that the meeting itself goes smoothly.

8. Learn to say no – This sounds simple but how many times have you thought it will be quicker if I do it. If it is not your responsibility pass it on to whoever is responsible. 

9. Lists - This must seem like a simple and obvious thing to do, but you would be amazed how many people do not use lists as a way of organising themselves and the tasks they need to do. Not only does making a list stop you from forgetting things, it is also a great way of seeing what you’ve achieved as you tick things off when you’ve done them. 

If you want to learn more, we have a fantastic Time Management course.

Our lives run at such a fast pace these days and everything is mobile – banking, bookings, our social lives! What about learning? Learning takes place in so many ways, every day of your life you learn new things. That's why I love working at The National Training Academy, we can make a real difference.

A bit about me...

A couple of years ago I took the plunge and moved to the coast in North Wales, not knowing anyone, not knowing the area it was a real leap of faith, but it was the best move ever! Through lockdown it has been great, having beaches and mountains on my doorstep I'm truly blessed. The great outdoors is one of lives simple pleasures.

In my spare time I love riding my Triumph Tiger (there's a growing number of female motorcyclists out there!). I love cooking, lockdown has given me the opportunity and time to try many new recipes, curries seem to have become a special favourite. 

Author: Claire Arthur

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