Manage your time


Managing your time effectively

In order to improve your time management, it's important to understand how you currently manage your time in the workplace or at home. We aim to equip you with some of the skills needed to manage time more effectively.

At one end of the spectrum, some people don't consider time management at all. Their desks and in-trays are overflowing, they go from dealing with one crisis to another and the time they have in between is consumed by colleagues' questions, phone calls, and endless e-mails. At the other end of the spectrum, some people become fanatic converts, building time management spreadsheets and wasting more time by managing it too deeply.

Benefits of effective time management

Time management skills will help you to accomplish tasks more effectively (doing the right things) and efficiently (optimal use of time). In the long term, they should help you feel some sense of control even in stressful environments and help you avoid burn-out through stress.

ACTION

FlexiJobs runs workshops on time management during which we look at the following:

  • Developing ways of working in the same way but more quickly
  • Developing ways of doing the same job differently
  • Reconsidering how we think about time, our approach to it and what we value

Contact us for more information on our career workshops.

Time management strategies

Always consider the value of your time, how best to use it and how you currently use it.

  • Understand the value of your time

When considering the issue of time management, it's useful to gain an understanding of the value of your time in terms of cash.

  • Identify the best use of your time and prioritise tasks

Assess everything that uses your time and identify those things that are most worthy of it. Here is an approach:

  1. Create a list of all your job objectives
  2. Consider whether they are all equally important or whether there is a hierarchy
  3. Create a list of all of the tasks that you need to complete
  4. Consider which of your job objectives each task would contribute to
  5. Prioritise your tasks - determine which need to be done first and/or the most thoroughly
  • Understand how you currently use your time

It's important to know how your time is currently used. Many people find it useful to keep a time log. This allows you to compare actual time spent against the priorities you have set yourself. Simply make a note of the time and the activity every time you change task. You may be surprised by how frequently you change task and how much time is spent on non-valued activity. It may also help you to identify periods when you are most/least effective and most/least interrupted.

  • Identify "time stealers"

"Time stealers" are situations, tasks or activities that are not directly productive but use up our time. There are three types of time stealers: those you generate yourself; those that are caused by others, but you allow and those that are caused by others over which you have no control.

If you want to eradicate time stealers, ask yourself some questions:

  1. Why do you generate time stealers? What do you get out of this? What would the impact be if you were to reduce or stop doing this?
  2. Why do you allow others to inflict certain time stealers on you? What choices do you have? What will be the impact if you allow this to continue? What would be the impact if you were to reduce or stop this?
  3. Where you believe you have no control, is this based on fact or perception? What evidence do you have?
  • Confront procrastination

It would be naive to think that effective time management can be achieved just by understanding where we waste our time and how can we make improvements. Most of us know what to do - it is the doing that is the problem. Research has shown that 95% of adults procrastinate and 20% are chronic procrastinators.