How Can I be a Better Time Manager?

Answer:               Who isn’t walking, talking and checking their i-phones these days? How about the guy who was texting, holding a pizza box, eating the pizza, and driving his truck all at the same time? Multi-tasking has become an art form but do we really have less time and more to do or are we just getting worse at managing time. Maybe time management isn’t about managing time at all—maybe it’s about managing work.

Strategies:

  • Plan. Feeling overwhelmed comes from a lack of planning so use a rolling plan for your month, week, and day. Mind mapping software[1] is fun for this and doesn’t feel like work. Include personal and work activities to check on your work-life balance. Once you see your tasks in print, it is amazing how easily things happen. No further decision making is required—you already know what you need to do.
  • Delegate. Delegate tasks that are time-consuming, repetitive, that you don’t have the skills for, or are cheaper for someone else to do. Free yourself for what you do best.
  • Prepare. Get your materials and files organized but don’t actually start to work. It is reassuring to know that you don’t have to start right now. Just getting ready puts your mind at ease. When tomorrow or Monday comes, you will slide into the work without effort.
  • Prioritize.When you face conflicting demands, use these three lenses:
    • Time. If the deadline for one project is sooner than another’s, do it now.
    • Money. If you will make more money doing one activity rather than another, do it now. Your business health is at stake.
    • Impact. Think about the domino effect. What dominos will to fall if you don’t do it now?
  • Show up. The discipline of sitting down at your computer is often enough to get you under way. Establish regular work patterns to feel more in control. Save Facebook for later. Right now you have work to do!
  • Celebrate. Keep a file of letters, cards, positive messages, and news clippings that relate to your efforts. Value your accomplishments.

Originally published in the Independent Consulting TIG Newsletter, Volume 3, Issue 4. October 2012.

For more information on handling consulting issues see in Barrington, G. V. (2012). Consulting Start-up & Management: A Guide for Evaluators & Applied Researchers. Los Angeles: SAGE.



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