Wed. Jan 8th, 2020

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Knowledge Peace


7 min read

The Secret of Getting More Time

Every day people are heard saying I wish I had more time. They run through from task to task and event to event at light speed, trying to find ways to do and accomplish more.

Some people seem to accomplish far more than others in their day, week, and lifetime. Benjamin Franklin was a successful author, politician, scientist, philosopher, printer, inventor, activist, and diplomat. His accomplishments are astounding. He was a scientist known for his theories and discoveries and gained the recognition of fellow scientists and intellectuals. He was a political writer and activist and served as a diplomat during the American Revolution. He was a newspaper editor, self-published author. PostMaster General, and started the first American library. His credits go on and on.

Benjamin Franklin is even credited for the statement; ‘Time is money.’ How did he find?

The good news is there is no more time! How can that be good news?

In this respect, the playing field is level.

  • Everyone gets the same twenty-four hours in a day.
  • Your competition has no more hours in a day than you.
  • The richest man cannot buy even one more minute of time in a day!
  • You can only manage yourself and activities more effectively

In a typical forty-hour workweek, it’s estimated that the average person spends:

  • 1.7 hours looking for things
  • 1.0-hour rescheduling appointments and tasks
  • 1.4 hours wasted because of rescheduled appointments and tasks
  • 2.2 hours wasted because of disorganization and lack of priority

This is a total of more than 6 hours wasted due to poor planning and a lack of organization. When people are asked why they are not organized, the number one reason given is: ‘I don’t have the time.’

The fact is, people, choose to be disorganized. Most people could save this wasted time by spending just two hours a week organizing and planning. In just two hours of planning, you could free an additional three to four hours every week of prime time.

The fact that most organizations do not have a time management program in place suggests that they do not feel that this is an issue that needs to be addressed.   However, nothing affects the ability of a company to function and be productive more than the ability of its employees to use organizational skills in order to save time during the business day. Companies must take action in order to encourage their employees to become more skilled in organization and time management.   Even if you are an extremely organized person, all of your efforts will be wasted if your employees are not picking up where you leave off.   There are several things you can do as an owner or manager to encourage your employees to become more efficient managers of time.

First, think of your employees’ time as an asset. It is a tangible asset that is worth a great deal of money and must be dealt with accordingly.   Your job is to manage this incredibly valuable asset. You cannot assume that your employees know how to regulate their use of time on their own.   As a business owner or manager, it is your job to use the 40 hours per week an employee gives you in the most efficient manner possible.

Next, when you are hiring new employees, make sure to evaluate their time management skills. This is particularly important when the job position being filled will require self-regulation.   You want to hire self-starters with good self-discipline. Ask appropriate questions such as “How good are you at setting deadlines and meeting them?”  When checking references, as previous employers about time management skills.

All of your employees should be working at their fullest capability.   Down-sizing over the previous years has to lead to the elimination of many assistants positions and managers and executives are now forced to do their own clerical tasks. If they are performing these tasks on such a regular basis that it would be more cost-effective to hire an hourly
employee, do so.

When an employee demonstrates above-average time management skills, reinforce their actions.   In other words, reward them for good behavior. Behavior that is noticed and pleasantly remembered is much more likely to be repeated. In addition, other employees will follow their example.

If you are a good time manager and have good organizational skills, share them with those around you.   Teach them how to manage their time.  You might begin by asking all employees to bring paper and a pen to meetings in order to take notes. This way they can transfer the items from your assignment list to their to-do list.   Arrange meetings
in which you refer back to the tasks that were given to them.

Meetings must be conducted in a time-conscious manner.   An unorganized meeting can be one of the biggest drains a company has on productivity. If you have trouble believing this, calculate the wages you are paying all the people who are sitting in your next meeting.   Meetings should begin on time.   Otherwise, people will get into the habit of being late.   You should have an agenda. However, be flexible enough so that intellectual breakthroughs can occur.   End the meeting after all of your goals have been addressed.   Do not let it drag on any further than necessary. Let attendees begin work on the items discussed in the meeting instead of continuing to just talk about them.

Lastly, emphasize how important good time management is to the success of your organization. You could include time management tips in your newsletter. If your company does not have a newsletter, present these tips at staff meetings. Provide time management training opportunities for your employees.   Purchase books and CD’s on the subject and make them available for use. Conduct on-site organization seminars.   Provide employees with personal organizers, whether manual or electronic. Making organization and time management visible at the workplace will remind employees of the importance of these skills.

Time is constant.  When poor organizational skills lead to wasted time, this time cannot be retrieved. Each person in an organization needs to evaluate where their time is going on any given day and then implement a few time-saving methods to overcome their biggest time wasters. Implementation of too many techniques at one time can result in an employee spending more time organizing than working or becoming overwhelmed and just returning to their old ways out of frustration.

There are numerous time wasters in the workplace.   Indecision and procrastination are perhaps the two biggest offenders. However, they are closely followed by inefficiency, interruptions, unnecessary errors, crisis management, poor organization, ineffective meetings, micro-managing, failure to delegate, and lack of policies, procedures, or standards to be followed.

Now, let’s take a look at some time-savers in the workplace.   Implementing a few of these techniques can greatly increase productivity and in turn morale. After identifying your time wasters, try to recapture some of that wasted time.

The key to organization and time management is a balance.

Life consists of seven areas:

  • health,
  • family
  • financial
  • intellectual
  • social
  • professional
  • spiritual

Although you will not spend equal amounts of time on each of these areas if you neglect any of them and you will jeopardize your success in all of them.

Next, write things down – whether in a Day Planner or a Palm Pilot.   The actual process of writing down a task helps you more easily remember that you need to accomplish it.   You are also able to see the big picture and evaluate where the new task fits in with others you already have been assigned.

Plan each day’s work and then stick to your plan. If you do not have a plan you will be easily distracted and, therefore, less productive.   You will spend your workday responding to others, their requests and crisis situations, rather than completing your own tasks.

When you are planning a day’s work, prioritize. Your list of things to be accomplished will include those that are crucial and those that can wait. Make sure you do not spend all your time working on tasks that really aren’t as important just because they are smaller and easier to complete.  Work your list in order of importance.   Do not procrastinate.  If you are tempted to put an item off, break down the task into smaller manageable pieces.

According to Dr. Donald E. Wetmore, the average person gets 50 interruptions a day that takes about five minutes apiece.   This means that we spend over four hours each day dealing with unplanned events.   Sorting through the deluge of paper that crosses your desk in a single day can be exhausting.   Between e-mail printouts, telephone messages, mail, memos, advertisements, and faxes, your work area can quickly become overwhelming.   Try to stick to the rule of handling each item only once.   If you don’t need it, get rid of it.   If you can’t handle it in a few minutes, consider delegating it.   If it is your responsibility and will take time to address, schedule it on your calendar and put it away.


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