Time is an important and unique resource, which can neither be generated nor accumulated and nor does it appreciate or depreciate. It has to be spent in a fixed packet of 60 minutes an hour. Neither it can be slowed nor moved faster, nor it can be regenerated or reversed. All of us are well conversant with the phrase ‘time and tide waits for none’.
It is an irony that such an important resource has been least understood, least talked and least taught to the executives, managers and officers who are generally hard pressed for the time. There is a need to manage this valuable resource, whether at home or at work. The sequence in which you perform tasks on an everyday basis will help in making you working day more productive.
Time Management – A Need of the Hour
Managing Your Own Time
If you want to use your time efficiently, to accomplish all that you need to do, you need to be aware of the current habits and attitudes that shape your use of time. Due to advent of new technology our attitude to time is also changing. The increase in options available has made it possible to do more in a day. It has also increased the pressure on our time.
The following steps will help in reducing pressure:
Assess Your Day
At the beginning of the day, plan your time, make a time log. Set aside time to review and prioritize demand on your time. Allow some thinking time in your schedule. Update your time log. Try and delegate tasks to others, which are not time effective for you. Use of time planners, computers, electronic diary etc to help maintain and monitor the time log.
Make your working day as productive as possible by discouraging unwanted interruptions. It will help to screen telephone calls, avoid unnecessary meetings and organize your work.
Use the power of positive thinking to make you plans successful. Make sure that every day you do at least one thing that you enjoy. Avoid stress by planning your time. Try to take out time for family and friends, hobbies and leisure activities.
Managing Organizational Time
To make the best use of your time, manage it as per your staff, colleagues and seniors.
The organizational time can be divided into three categories:
- Boss Imposed Time.
- System Imposed Time.
- Self Imposed Time.
Boss Imposed Time
Those who have the gold make the rules. Bosses have golden rule clout. We do understand that it is to better if they are satisfied with out work. Hence time has to be devoted to satisfy the boss by keeping him informed about progress, achievements and to share his burden. A boss can be a time waster if he passes instructions poorly, keeps you waiting for an appointment, calls for frequent meetings and changes decisions frequently due to lack of planning. If we fail to invest sufficient time for the boss, it may result in more and more boss imposed time, which will result in availability of less time for other aspects.
The following are some suggested measures to reduce boss imposed time:
- Know your boss well and produce results as per his expectations. Do not irritate him or make him nervous because it’s tough to work for a nervous boss. More so, if you are the one who is making him nervous?
- Brief him regularly at fixed time on the progress of the tasks assigned to you and reports any unusual/abnormal/special happenings.
- Do not go to boss only with problems but do have solutions/recommendations/options, which have been properly thought out. This will help the boss the decide quickly.
System Imposed Time
It is the time spent on the administration and related demands from people. The red tape in administration takes time but is a part of the system and one cannot remove it.
The following measures can reduce the system imposed wastage of time:
- Reduce your meetings with people to minimum. Meetings should be held to coordinate various activities and formulate plans after exchanging views.
- Entertain visitors at fixed time and restrict your conversation to specific problem.
- Use telephone judiciously and avoid unnecessary conversation to save time.
- Adopt sandardisation and carryout work-study to improve productivity by evolving simple procedures and techniques to deal with the work.
- Use of automation in systems helps in reduction in processing time and data is available at fingertips, which help in decision-making.
Self Imposed Time
It is the time spent doing the tings we decide to do and not that in response to the initiative of our bosses, peers and the subordinates. It is the only time when we have discretion to express our own individuality within an organisation. Therefore, there is a need to control the time wastage of self-imposed discretionary time.
The following are some of the measures we can adopt:
- Gain confidence of boss by achieving results thereby obtaining more authority and discretionary power.
- Delegate responsibility to subordinates and decentralize the authority and make them self-reliant.
- Develop communication and rapport with the people in the system so that they understand your instructions and methods correctly.
- Plan in advance so that right things are done the right way at he first instance, instead of doing these over so often.
- Differentiate between working and supervising. Do not start working yourself where your guidance/ supervision are sufficient.
- Use of calculators, computers and electronic diaries will help to reduce the time spent on calculations and for maintenance of up-to-date data bank.
We must learn to manage our time, as it is the most precious resource. Most of us are extravagant in spending the time without realising that it is not elastic. We need to plan, perform and save the time at our discretion. Saved time can then be gainfully utilized for proactive measures like, advance planning, innovating and organizing the work and caring for family and friends. This will have a profound effect on how well you are organized in life.