I was delivering an Effective Time Management class to a financial institution in North Carolina earlier this year. I started the class started off with eight interesting questions about TIME. They were:
- Do you have TIME?
- Do you have the TIME?
- What TIME is it?
- Can we save TIME?
- Can we put TIME in a savings account for withdrawal later?
- Can we go back in TIME?
- Can we go forward in TIME?
- Can we use TIME more than once?
The group answers were:
- Yes and then no.
- Most said yes, and then said no.
- Some said 10:15, but others said different values.
Given the answers the group provided, what do we know about TIME?
Time is a precious gift. Use it wisely, because at some point in the future you may be out of it.
It is something to think about.
Then we went into things like:
- 24 hours in a day.
- 168 hours in a week.
- 720 hours in a 30-day month.
We then concluded that time was like money, it was a resource. How one uses time will affect your personal and professional life. Time management involves:
- Managing choices.
- Making decisions about what to do.
- Deciding how to best go about doing these things.
The question which always comes up is how much time do we have for productive work in a normal eight-hour work day. The answer is a lot lower than one normally thinks. There is something called the 15/15 effect. The first 15 is for the 15 percent of our time that is consumed by work-related assignments, but is not normally budgeted or scheduled. Things like meeting, boss assignments and rework. The second 15 is for the 15 percent of our time that is consumed by nonwork related activities. Things like checking nonwork emails, surfing the web and dealing home-related issues. There are good reasons why one should use a 1.5 multiplier when budgeting time. The 1.5 factor takes into effect the 15/15 factor along with the tendency to underestimate the complexity factor.
Some examples of the biggest time wasters were:
- Telephone, email and social media interruptions.
- Ineffective delegation, drop-in visitors and unproductive meetings.
- Multi-tasking, personal disorganization, indecision and procrastination.
- Lack of objectives, priorities and a daily plan.
- Crises management, shifting priorities, confused responsibility and insufficient authority.
- Agreeing to too much and the inability to say “no.”
- Over communications, unclear communications and under communications.
- Lack of planning, mail, paperwork, reports and waiting for others.
- Being late to work, extended breaks, extended lunch and leaving early.
As the class approached the end, a discussion developed about how to handle a Monday morning emergency. After much discussion, we finally concluded, that one had to build into their daily routine time (maybe as much as 20 percent) to handle emergencies. Otherwise, you will always be behind for scheduled work.
How well is your time management plan working for you?