Effective time management is an essential skill for all individuals and managers.  One of the great levellers is that we all have the same amount of time.  It’s what we choose to do with it that counts.  Seven steps that will have an instant impact:

1. Identify ‘Time Bandits’ - To any manager Time Bandits can be a real headache.  If we are not careful, they will steal all our time!  These could be areas such as interruptions, visitors or things we may trigger ourselves such as constant checking of emails or using social media.

2. Deal with ‘Time Bandits’ - Time bandits must be dealt with otherwise the will simply steal your time.  Of course, some are going to be harder to deal with, and we may not be able to eliminate them.  However, having a plan of what we can do to better will most certainly help.

3. Develop personal goals - Life is a gift, and we have a responsibility to be the best we can be and more.  Draw up four personal goals and give them targets and reasons why they are important.  Remember a goal is a dream with a deadline.

4. Don’t procrastinate - Procrastination is a self-sabotaging behaviour.  It WILL affect your time management.  Language such as ‘I hope to’, ‘I will try’ or ‘I wanted to’ are common words used by procrastinators. Stop putting things off and do the thing you fear most, FIRST.

5. Make decisions - Many people don’t like making decisions because they don’t want to make the wrong one.  We must make decisions and moreover do something about it when we make the wrong one.

6.  Delegate - The ability to delegate is essential, and if you manage people it is a necessity. The real reason we delegate is to develop others, but it can also have a significant impact on our time management. Remember though delegation and abdication are different!

7.  Learn to say ‘no’- Most people consider themselves to be very helpful and therefore saying “No” can be viewed as alien to our vocabulary.  However, if we always say yes then there is a likelihood that our time management will suffer.

Ralph Moody is the founder of Target Training and specialises in trainer and management development.  You can read more about him here.  To see courses where Ralph delivers see our website here.