Time passes, quickly. This article looks at the basics of Personal Time Management and describes how the Manager can assume control of this basic resource. The "Eff" words
The three "Eff" words are [concise OED]:
•Effective - having a definite or desired effect
•Efficient - productive with minimum waste or effort
seemingly without effort; natural, easy
Personal Time Management is about winning the "Eff" words: making them apply to you and your daily routines. What is Personal Time Management?
Personal Consider these two questions: what would happen if you spent company money with as few safeguards as you spend company time, when was the last time you scheduled a review of your time allocation? Poor time management is often a symptom of over confidence: techniques which used to work with small projects and workloads are simply reused with large ones. But inefficiencies which were insignificant in the small role are ludicrous in the large. You can not drive a motor bike like a bicycle, nor can you manage a supermarket-chain like a market stall. The demands, the problems and the payoffs for increased efficiency are all larger as your responsibility grows; you must learn to apply proper techniques or be bettered by those who do. Possibly, the reason Time Management is poorly practised is that it so seldom forms a measured part of appraisal and performance review; what many fail to foresee, however, is how intimately it is connected to aspects which do. Personal Time Management has many facets. Most managers recognize a few, but few recognize them all. There is the simple concept of keeping a well ordered diary and the related idea of planned activity. But beyond these Personal Time Management is a set of tools which allow you to: •
and to do so simply with a little self-discipline.
Since Personal Time Management is a management process just like any other, it must be planned, monitored and regularly reviewed. In the following sections, we will examine the basic methods and functions of Personal Time Management. Since true understanding depends upons experience, you will be asked to take part by looking at aspects of your own work. If you do not have time to this right now - ask yourself: why not? Current Practice
What this article is advocating is the adoption of certain practices which will give you greater control over the use and allocation of your primary resource: time. Before we start on the future, it is worth considering the present. This involves the simplistic task of keeping a note of how you spend your time for a suitably long period of time (say a week). I say simplistic since all you have to do is create a simple table, photocopy half-a-dozen copies and carry it around with you filling in a row every time you change activity. After one week, allocate time (start as you mean to go on) to reviewing this log. Waste Disposal
We are not looking here to create new categories of work to enhance efficiency (that comes later) but simply to eliminate wastage in your current practice. The average IEE Chartered Engineer earns about 27,000 pounds per annum: about 12.50 pounds per hour, say 1 pound every 5 minutes; for how many 5 minute sections of your activity would you have paid a pound? The first step is a critical appraisal of how you spend your time and to question some of your habits. In your time log, identify periods of time which might have been better used. There are various sources of waste. The most common are social: telephone calls, friends dropping by, conversations around the coffee machine. It would be foolish to eliminate all non-work related activity (we all need a break) but if it's a choice between chatting to Harry in the afternoon and meeting the next pay-related deadline ... Your time log will show you if this is a problem and you might like to do something about it before your boss does. In your time log, look...