Time Management

Cherié  Carter-Scott

Time management is not something you are born with. I used to be a terrible time manager and I have learned to be extremely effective time manager. Before we address effective Time Management, let’s address the most common time gobblers.

They are:
1. Lack of planning or prioritizing
2. Telephone interruptions
3. Disorganization or cluttered desk
4. Procrastination
5. Drop-in visitors
6. Lack of self-discipline
7. Ineffective delegation
8. Unrealistic expectations
9. Inability to say, “No”
10. Leaving tasks incomplete

Some people resist planning because they want to use their free time to relax; they want to go with the flow, being spontaneous, avoiding structure, and believing that they know everything they have to do because it is stored in their head.

Here are some tips:
1. Plan your day the night before
2. Take time to plan your time
3. Schedule appointments with yourself
4. Evaluate your effectiveness at the end of each day
5. Breakdown large projects into small tasks
6. Use small pockets of time to your advantage
7. Take small projects to do while you wait
8. Implement weekly, monthly, quarterly changes

If you allow for telephone interruptions, here are some solutions…
1. Ask someone else to answer the phone
2. Screen your calls with caller ID
3. request that people e-mail you instead
4. Determine what you will and won’t address
5. Take only calls that relate to your To Do List
6. Allow for emergencies, don’t plan on them!

If you have a disorganized or a cluttered desk here are some solutions…
1. Eliminate piles
2. Make your own policy about incomplete projects
3. validate yourself every time you throw something out
4. set aside time to organize and purge
5. Encourage filing regularly
6. validate each time you exhibit the new desirable behaviors
7. Before you leave the office each day, clean your desk

Procrastination is one of the most common time gobblers. Here are some solutions…
1. Always start with something easy
2. Do what you’re avoiding first
3. Eliminate all distractions
4. Just do it!
5. Set reasonable short-term objectives
6. Promise a reward when the project is done
7. Set a deadline date and stick to it
8. Stop reinforcing the behavior you want to change
9. Start reinforcing the behavior you want to ingrain

Do you allow visitors to dictate your day? Here are some helpful solutions…
1. Create clear boundaries
2. Give people an alternative time that works to talk to you
3. Place a high value on your time
4. Risk disapproval
5. Sequester yourself
6. Be ruthless with your own satisfaction

Do you have a lack of self-discipline? Here are some solutions…
1. Hold yourself accountable
2. Provide rewards or consequences
3. Give pats on the back to reinforce behaviors
4. Build your self esteem

Try these effective delegation techniques. Her are some solutions…
1. Select jobs to be delegated
2. Organize the information
3. Select the right person for the job
4. communicate with clarity
5. Provide full disclosure
6. set expectations
7. invite feedback
8. monitor and follow up
9. Encourage, guide, direct, and provide feedback

Do you set unrealistic expectations?
Tell yourself the whole TRUTH. Then you need to build in a cushion on top of that truth. Your issue is that you imagine the best and don’t anticipate the “stuff” that happens, like traffic, accidents, other people being late or missing deadlines. If you imagine that you live in a perfect world think again… Always anticipate what could go wrong and then factor in that possibility. If it doesn’t happen you’re ahead of the game!

Try these realistic expectations…

1. Only list what you CAN get done
2. Accurately assess the time factor in traffic, parking, etc.
3. Create a buffer zone for the unanticipated
4. Take charge of things working out to your advantage

Do you have trouble saying “No?”

Do you have one specific person who always asks you to do something for them, and they say, “Oh it will just take a few minutes…” and you believe them AGAIN and AGAIN!

Here are some solutions:
1. Start getting what you want
2. Create boundaries
3. Get your projects and tasks accomplished
4. Manage your satisfaction
5. Reinforce your self esteem

Do you start and have trouble completing tasks? Here are some solutions…
1. Make a completion policy with yourself
2. Reinforce your self-confidence
3. Validate your self-worth regularly
4. Build your credibility with others
5. Become ruthless with yourself

If you follow the steps, you will get the results. Old patterns will need to be broken to ensure success. Do one thing differently, and then reward yourself. Remember, 21 repetitions will change an old habit into a new behavior pattern.

Start Today!

Cherie Carter-Scott is author of If Life is a Game, There are Rules.
Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved.

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