Time is a precious resource to us all and for all organisations. It is one of the few levellers, as time is the same for all of us; no matter what our role in the organisation. It's just how people choose to use it that differs, whether a manager, team leader, supervisor or any other member of staff we all need to assume control of this valuable resource and manage it; just as we would cash or other equally precious resources!

The whole time management discussion throws up some interesting statistics, for example, did you know that the average person gets 1 interruption every 8 minutes, or approximately 7 an hour, or 50-60 per day. The average interruption takes 5 minutes, totalling about 4 hours or 50% of the average workday. 80% of those interruptions are typically rated as 'little value' or 'no-value' creating approximately 3 hours of wasted time per day. No wonder then there is a problem!

Poor time management can cause misery, frustration and lack of focus. This can then cause problems at home and in the workplace resulting in poor performance and potentially conflict in the workplace.

Common things which show poor time management are things such as:

Last-minute rushes to meet deadlines

Double booked meetings/appointments

Crisis looming unexpectedly from nowhere

Not planning or delegating

Constantly being late for meetings/appointments

Not taking proper breaks/full holiday entitlement

We are probably all guilty of some of these things, once in a while. But when they become commonplace, they become a real issue for us and others who work with us.

Anyone who has had to deal with people who have poor time management will recognise how frustrating it can be and how it can have an impact on others work rate, motivation and morale. Especially, if they are in a position of leadership or management; this sets a poor example to all and can create a culture of poor time management.

The challenge is really about assuming control and not allowing poor time management to control you.  We believe the following should be the focus of every manager regarding time management:

  • Planning your day to be effective
  • Using effective 'to-do list'
  • Prioritising effectively
  • Having plans to deal with cancelled appointments/meetings
  • Recognising and dealing with the 'important' and the 'urgent' tasks efficiently
  • Recognising quality not quantity is the key to saving time

Remember stress causes poor time management and poor time management creates stress! Are you as good as you could be? Could you be more effective, be honest when you answer this question.

Managing your time better is all within your control, so you can be more effective, not necessarily do more! Being more effective is the key and if you do this well, yes you may get more done; as a consequence. But the main aim is to be more effective, therefore less stressed and ultimately achieve more!

We focus regularly on our management courses and we have a specific journal based on effective time management which you can buy from Amazon here or our own journal website here.

Ralph Moody is the founder of Target Training and specialises in trainer and management development.  You can read more about him here.