Nothing affects your success as a manager as much as your ability to manage your time . Yet of all the resources you have , this vital element is the least understood , the most ignored , and the worst managed. The simple truth is that executives unable to manage their time can’t manage . Instead of acting ,they react; instead of anticipating problems they are busy trying to solve them. Effective managers make thing happens – they run their jobs ; their job don’t run them
- Dr. Alec Mackenzie
“ If only I had more time ” .
“ I haven’t got a thing done today ”.
“ But it’s because I need more staff you see ”.
“ Is that the time ? – just where did it go ”. One often hears these executive bleats . They are the early warning signals indicating that the job needs to be reorganized. ...(cont.)
Constantly working long hours is another danger signal . This is a doubtful practice anyway as the manager who works at night generally works at low efficiency.
Yet another warning is excessive fire fighting . Some managers like an atmosphere of hurry and bustle . They are never happier than when putting out fires .But a lot of fire fighting is a sign that problems are not being solved. It means that the same old problems keep coming up again and again. Either the manager doesn’t know how to solve the problem, or he hasn’t enough time to do it.
Some managers are encouraged, by the very nature of their job, to bad work organization. They have trouble shooting jobs, where time fragmentation is inevitable, so they tend to carry over a butterfly style even to the part of the job that can be controlled .Trouble-shooters must be wary.
Other danger signals are evident when managers feel that they would like to contribute more, and perhaps have particular projects in mind, but have not been able to get them started.
There are many reasons why a manager may feel his job needs reorganizing He may think that he is doing a lot of work which could be done by his subordinates .He may feel that he is not devoting his time logically between the most important aspects of his work. He may be worried about not having enough time for creative work , or that the event of the day seems to determine how he spends his time, or that he is unable to get projects finished due to constant interruptions .
A manager may feel that he needs a better definition of his job objectives, and what needs to be done to achieve them. If so, he will need to study this in detail .His boss should participate, and also if possible his colleagues. This is beyond the scope of his article , but it is important that objectives are clear before setting out to improve time management. For if a manager does not have a clear idea of his job objectives and how they are linked to the goals of his company, then he may punish up being very good at getting the wrong things done .
Is work piled up? Am I behind? What kind of work is lagging? My regular reports , the work for which I am accountable? Or is it high leverage new ideas, or creative thinking? Am I making full use of my people through delegation? Do I have a system for staying informed on the progress of a planned job?
“Pity the overworked executive! Behind his paperwork ramparts, he struggles bravely with a seemingly superhuman load of responsibilities . Burdened with impossible assignments, beset by constant emergencies, he never has a chance to get organized. Pity him – but recognize him for the dangerous liability that he is.”
(Organizational compulsion and traditions often are a source of time wastage. Total organizational commitment and efforts are required to facilitate effective return of Executive Time Investment ) * Lack of dynamism/direction * Responsibilities without authority * Boss * Tradition / Red tapism * Centralized Decision making * Telephone/communication * Short term survival orientation facilities * Meeting – lack duration * poor staffing policies - long duration *Unavailability of people * Confusing in priorities * Role confusing
( It is essential to differentiate DOING from MANAGING, ACTIVITIES from RESULTS, being busy from being effective , and detail strategy. Planned priorities and objectives give executives a sense of direction and aid in purposeful utilization of various resources ,including TIME. ) * Lack of priorities * Unclear objectives * Inadequate policies/procedure * Role ambiguities * failure of delegate * Poor filing/Information system * Incomplete subordinate * Lost in operating details * Paperwork/procedure mentality * Over management of subordinates * Unrealistic time estimate .
“My Boss is my Chief time waster…” this appears in every list of time wasters . There is a basic reason for this, the numerous contact of a subordinate with his boss provide many occasion for time waste.
It is extremely important for the manager to be aware of the effect he has on his subordinates’ time. There are three sins that are committed with wearying frequency- transmitting instruction poorly, keeping subordinates waiting , and interrupting their work.
(Often executives indicate the external factors to be the primary sources of time wastage. But when a proper time analysis is made, they discover that the !man within! Is the main source generating such time wasters as: * Hazy value system * Past experience * Lack of self-discipline * Lack of clarity of purpose * Indecision * Insecurity * Habits * Excuses * Procrastination * Overcautious approaches * Playing safe * Impatience with details * Frustrations * Over socializing tendencies
External events and happenings affect the effective use of time. Often these external factors are projected as the chief factors of time wastage.
External factors are blamed for one’s own lack of imaginative endeavors. Excuses, ‘alibis’, comparison are used for reason for ineffectiveness
) * Interruption * Excessive public relations demands * Drop in visitors * Expectations of personal favors * Change of events * Political affinities/influences * Social Myths on loyalty of long hour.
TIME WASTERS POSSIBLE CAUSE SOLUTION
*Lack of planning Failure to see the benefit. Recognize that planning takes time, but saves time in the end.
Action orientation Emphasize results, not activity.
Success without planning Recognize that success is often in spite of, not because of methods.
*Lack of priorities Lack of goals/objectives Write down goals and objectives. Discuss priorities with your subordinates . *Over commitment Broad interests Say no.
Confusion in priorities Put first things first.
Failure to set priorities Develop a personal philosophy of time relate priorities to a schedule of events.
TIME WASTERS POSSIBLE CAUSE SOLUTION
*Management by Crisis Lack of planning Same solutions as for lack of planning.
Unrealistic time estimate Allow more time. Allow for “jerk inputs.” Problem Orientations Be opportunity-oriented.
Reluctance of subordinates Encourage fast transmission to break bad news. of information as essential for timely corrective action.
*Haste Impatience with details Take time to get it right. Save the time of doing it over.
Responding to the urgent Distinguish between urgent and important.
Lack of planning Planning pays and repays.
Attempting too much in Attempt less. Delegate more.
too little time. *Paperwork and reading Knowledge explosion Read selectively. Learn speed reading .delegate reading to others.
TIME WASTERS POSSIBLE CAUSE SOLUTION
*Routing and Rival Lack of priorities. Set and concentrate on goals.
Over management of Delegate; then give them subordinates their hand .Look to results, not the details of methods.
*Visitors Enjoying of socializing Do it elsewhere. Meet visitors outside. Suggests lunch or breakfast meetings.
Hold stand-up conference. Inability to say no Screen. Say no. Be unavailable. Modify the open –door policy.
*Telephone Lack of self-discipline Screen and group calls.
Desire to be informed Stay uninvolved with all and involved but essentials.
*Meetings Fear of responsibility Make decisions without for decisions. Meetings.
TIME WASTERS POSSIBLE CAUSE SOLUTION
*Indecision Lack of rational decision Get facts, set goals, making process. Investigate alternatives, make division and implement it. Track result.
Fear of making mistakes. Delegate the right to be wrong. Use mistake as a learning process.
*Lack of delegation Fear of subordinates Train. Allow mistakes.
inadequacy Replace if necessary.
Fear of subordinates Delegate fully. Give credit.
competence. Insure corporate growth to maintain challenge.
Workload on subordinates. Balance the workload.
Staff up. Re-order priorities.
Numerous articles have been written on the subject of time management, may containing similar recommendation for the conservation of this valuable resource.
Too many of the time articles focus upon gimmicks, such as how to save time by not having a desk in the office, or how to dictate in your car to save an hour. These tips may be invaluable to a small sector of a business community, but their practicality for the majority of manager is, at best, considered doubtful.
The management of time, per se, is a management process itself, which consist of the function of planning, organizing and controlling. That is, to manage one’s time entails planning and organizing for its efficient use as well as controlling its use.
Learning how to manage time would seem to be enhanced through development of principles that could be applied according to the situation.
PRINCIPLE APPLICABLE TO PLANNING
Planning is selecting among choices. Planning the use of one’s time involves finding out first how it is now used, deciding how it should be used, and scheduling its proper use in the manner described.
principle of time analysis
– Time analysis is a prerequisite to time management. Keeping a daily log of activities which records increments of 15 to 30 minutes duration over a span of not less than two week is essential as the basis of the analysis *
principle of daily planning
– Daily planning, formulated after business hours the previous day or early before business hours on the same day, in consequences with near term objectives and events, is essential to the effective utilization of personal time.
principle of budgeting by priority
– The time available in the workday should be budgeted for the accomplishment of those items of work having the highest priorities.
2. PRINCIPLE APPLICABLE TO ORGANIZING
The organizing function concerns how the manager organizes his work and his environment to become more efficient in the use of time . The first organizing principle is: •
Principle of Delegation
– delegation of all possible work items consistent with limitations of the managers job is essential to provide the time needed for managerial jobs.
Principle of activity Segmentation
– Work items similar in nature and requiring similar in nature and requiring similar environmental surroundings and resources for their accomplishment should be grouped within divisions of the work day.
Principle of control and interruptions
–Adequate controls and/or arrangements of activities to minimize the number and duration of unnecessary interruptions is essential to time managements.
Principle of minimization of routine Type work-
Work items which are routine in nature and which constitute little value to overall objectives shall be minimized.
3. PRINCIPLE APPLICABLE TO CONTROLLING
After planning and organizing the work in line with the applicable principles there remains only plan implementations and daily follow up. AS MOORE STATES : “The concept of control through plans and schedules is Fundamental to sound management and to increasing effectiveness … To gain his objective as planned … he compare the actual expenditure to the resource with the plan and the schedule . The variance permits make him to make decisions about the plan, the schedule , and the performance , and the adjust all three in tune with his objectives and conditions he is facing. ” •
This involves the use of following principles: Principle of plan Implementation and follow up
up is essential to time management.
– Implementations of the daily follow •
Principle of repeated Analysis
– Time usage analysis should be repeated at least semi annually to preclude reverting to poor time management habits.
Most people take a haphazard approach to managing their time.
combination of tactics .
They’ve heard that such-and such a tactic will help save time , so they try it once or twice , then perhaps drop it and switch to another. Few people in the Frenetic world of management actually have a time management strategy made up of a For every individual manager there is a particular combination of principles that would result to a particular solution to his time problem. But if he is unaware of what these concepts are, how can he choose the mix that will lead to the best course of action? The object of this article is first to list the most pervasive principles of time management, and then show how a busy executive can apply techniques based on these principles in a selective , custom-tailored manner.
The key concepts of time managements include at least the following:
A daily log of activities for at least one week, taken in 15-minute increments , is essential as a basis of effective time analysis . It should be repeated at least semi annually to avoid reverting to poor time managements practices.
- anticipatory action is generally more effective then remedial action . Since a stitch in time saves nine, expect the unexpected and plan for it.
- every hour spent in effective planning saves three to four in execution , and gets better results. Both long range and daily planning , preferably formulated before or after business hours, essential to effective utilization of personal time.
flexibility in scheduling personal time may be necessary to adjust to forces beyond one’s control.
Objective and priority settings
– More effectives results are achieved through purposeful pursuit of planned objectives than by chance . If time is not allocated to tasks in ordered sequence of priority, managers will tend to spend time in amounts inversely related to the importance of their tasks.
- Imposing deadlines and exercising self-discipline in adhering to them aids managers in overcoming indecision , vacillation, and procrastination.
– In any given situations, failure to generate viable alternative solutions limits the likelihood of selecting the most effective course of action.
– similar tasks should be grouped within division of the workday to minimize interruption and to economize in the utilization of resources and expenditure of effort.
Concentration of efforts
As critical few actions generally produce the great bulk of results . Effective managers concentrate their efforts on the critical few events.
- Efficiency may be defined as doing any job right, effectiveness as doing the right job right. Efforts, however efficient, will be ineffective if performed on the wrong time, or with unintended negative consequences.
- Authority for decision making should be delegated to the lowest level consistent with good judgment and available facts. Managers tend to promote upward delegation unwittingly by encouraging dependence of subordinates upon them for answer s. this result in doing the work of subordinates.
Keeping them visible (those things) you intend doing increases the certainty of achieving your objective. You can’t do what you can’t remember.
President Charles Hummel of Barrington College has a strategy composed of many tactics: He practices exception managements, concentration of efforts ,consolidation, planning , priority setting and visibility. As he explained it, for the professional manager everything starts with planning. One of thousands of managers using a pocket diary, he records the objectives for the day in priority order. He concentrates his efforts on the top-priority task first. He practices interruption control through secretarial screening of calls and visitors; “planned unavailability” is his ultimate defense. Calls-backs not handled by others are consolidated into a period convenient to him. Visible records of short range objectives are maintained by individual officers of his administrative team. As a matter is being discussed and its disposition agreed to, Hummel is noting the decision on a sheet listing all matters discussed with each team member.
Hummel plans systematically for both the short and the long term. Planning for one to five year is done formally with his administrative staff and board. He plans for his day the afternoon before and the early morning of that day. He allocates an hour at the end of the week to plan the next week, and a day at month’s end to plan the next month. This day , whenever possible , is spent away from his office in a hotel room without a telephone.
Hummel likens the “impulse spending” of time to the “impulse buying” practiced by most Americans. Before getting to the item he really needs in the store , one often spends his money on items that catch his eye on counters along the way. On arrival at his goal his supply of money may be exhausted. “so it is with time,” says Hummel “we are tyrannized by the urgent and by doing the things ought.” effective time management , he concludes, is a practical imperative for the professional manger.
Most of these principles , you may have observed , are really just common sense . But it often takes uncommon sense to put them together into a viable solution
A realistic and courageous preparation of EXECUTIVE TIME LOG or Time Inventory, is an essential must for effective use of time.
(a) (b) Am I doing the right job?
Am I doing the job in EFFECTIVE way.
All research on TIME MANAGEMENT highlighting the importance, necessity and efficiency of the Time log or diary method. The time log or inventory is necessary because the painful task of changing our habits requires far more conviction than we can build from learning about the experience of others.
Time analysis on the basis of a record kept for two or three weeks is a prerequisite for effective time management. The Manager himself or an assistant /secretary keep the daily record of all the tasks and activities from morning to evening in segments of 30 to 60 minutes.
It is also important to indicate “by whom the activity was initiated ” and “under which category that particular activity falls” – such as planning, review, meetings with individuals, group, with boss, paper work, traveling, public relations etc.
(c) A typical record sheet
given in the next page can be modified to suit your own requirements.
DETAIL INITIATED BY WITH WHOM CATEGORIES
Once the time record sheets have been completed for a period of three or two weeks, it is necessary to study each activity asking the following important question to test the relevance and utility of each item activity: 1.
What would happen if this
weren’t done at all
What would happen if this were left
Could this be done by
just as well, if not better ?
Is this contributing to my
or is it wasting his time ?
on the basis of the analysis and questioning one can easily reallocate time to the significant priorities and eliminate the activities which are not contributing to effectiveness .
(f) Some research findings
The common findings of many mangers who took the trouble to prepare a time log to the significant priorities and eliminate the activities which are not contributing to effectiveness.
Pin pointing and defining the priorities appear to be a difficult task. Manager tend to feel that every task is important.
Another finding was that considerable time was spent in reading “for information” material sent by their subordinates. Noting prepared at many levels, and make the files bulky. Many senior managers are at a loss as how to stop this ‘passing the buck’ approach.
Delegation by results and periodic reviews are the two missing items in many senior mangers work life.
Time spent in meetings is abnormally high. The unscheduled meetings often convened by top officials tend to destroy the priorities and plan of the subordinates.
HODONTS analysis of the various type of time logs or inventories reveal the senior managers are more often busy with day to day activities rather than long term policies and strategies. It is pathetic to note that most managers do not even invest one hour per week for any type of self development.
Above all, the analysis of time log usually reveals the many miscalculations in the mind of Managers concerning the vital priorities of their jobs, where their time is allocated and what are the areas of improvement.
Priorities need to be balanced and should cover the different aspects of one’s life and one’s situations. In practical terms priorities should include:
(a) (b) Job- both technical and managerial; Personal growth and development; (c) (d) Family concerns; and Leisure time activities.
And all effective executives control their Time Management perpetually. They not only keep a continuing log and analyze it periodically. They set themselves deadlines for the important activities, based on their judgment of their discretionary time.
Time is the scariest resource, and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed. The analysis of one’s time, moreover, is the one easily accessible and yet systematic way to analyze one’s work and to think through what really matters in it.
“know thyself”, the old perception for wisdom , is almost impossibly difficult for mortal men. But everyone can follow the injection “know thy time” if he wants to, and be well on the road towards contribution and effectiveness .
STUDY AND PLAN YOUR WORK LOAD