Sue W. Chapman Time ManagementMichael Rupured INSIDE: Know How You Spend your Time Caption describing picture or graphic. Set Priorities Use Planning Tools Get Organized 10 strategies for better Schedule Delegate Stop time management Procrastinating Manage External Time Wasters Avoid Multi- tasking Stay Healthy
PAGE 2 Ten Strategies For Better Time Management The term Time Management wisely, and budgeted. • Feel better about is a misnomer. You cannot People who practice good themselves (Dodd and manage time; you manage time management Sundheim, 2005). the events in your life in techniques often find that relation to time. You may they: Finding a time management often wish for more time • Are more productive, strategy that works best for but you only get 24 hours, • Have more energy for you depends on your 1,440 minutes or 86,400 things they need to personality, ability to self- seconds each day. How you accomplish, motivate and level of self- use that time depends on discipline. By • Feel less stressed, incorporating some, or all skills learned through self- analysis, planning, • Are able to do the of the ten strategies below, evaluation, and self-control. things they want, you can more effectively • Get more things done, manage your time. Much like money, time is • Relate more positively both valuable and limited: to others, and it must be protected, used 1. Know How You Spend Your Time Keeping a time log is a helpful your most time-consuming way to determine how you are tasks and determining whether Analyze using your time. Start by you are investing your time in recording what you are doing the most important activities where most for 15-minute intervals for a can help you to determine aof your time week or two. Evaluate the course of action. In addition,is devoted— results. Ask if you did having a good sense of the job, family, everything that was needed; amount of time required for personal, determine which tasks require routine tasks can help you be recreation, the most time; determine the more realistic in planning and time of day when you are most estimating how much time is etc. productive; and analyze where available for other activities. most of your time is devoted – job, family, personal, recreation, etc. Identifying TIME MANAGEMENT
PAGE 32. Set Priorities One of the easiest ways to medium and low, number prioritize is to make a “to them in order, or use a do” list. Whether you need color coding system. Keep a daily, weekly or monthly in mind that your goal isManaging your time that are both urgent and list depends on your not to mark off the mosteffectively requires a important must be done, lifestyle. Just be careful not items; rather you want todistinction between what is Covey et.al. suggests that to allow the list-making to mark off the highestimportant and what is we spend less time on get out of control and do priority items (MacKenzie,urgent (MacKenzie, 1990). activities that are not not keep multiple lists at 1990). Having a prioritizedExperts agree that the most important (regardless of the same time. Rank the “to do” list allows you toimportant tasks usually their urgency) in order to items on your “to do” list say “no” to activities thataren’t the most urgent gain time to focus on in order of priority (both may be interesting ortasks. However, we tend to activities that are not important and urgent). You provide a sense oflet the urgent dominate our urgent but important. may choose to group items achievement but do not fitlives. Covey, Merrill, and Focusing on these in categories such as high, your basic priorities.Merrill (1994) categorize important activities allowsour activities into four you to gain greater controlquadrants in their Time over your time andManagement Matrix: possibly reduce the numberurgent, not urgent, of important tasks that doimportant and not become urgent.important. While activities 3. Use a Planning Tool your mind to focus on your Suggestions for Using a Personal Digital priorities. Auditory learners Assistant (PDA) for Time Management may prefer to dictate their thoughts instead. The key is to Capabilities of PDAs vary by regularly scheduled find one planning tool that the model and some users meetings. works for you and use that tool include WiFi or cellular • Investigate additional consistently. Some reminders technology on their handheld software and hardware when using a planning tool device. Some suggestions for that is compatible with using your PDA to its your PDA. You may be are: capacity are: able to enter information • Always record your • Assign a different color more quickly using a information on the tool for each calendar item so portable, detachable itself. Jotting notes that you can distinguish keyboard rather than a elsewhere that have to be personal appointments stylus, for example. Or, transferred later is from business meetings, you may want the ability inefficient. for example. to access the Internet forTime management experts • Review your planning • Use the task application retrieving files orrecommend using a tool daily. feature to manage pro- checking otherpersonal planning tool to jects. Most PDAs allow calendars. (Beckwith, • Carry your planning tool 2006)improve your the user to group tasks with you.productivity. Examples of under separate headings, • Place a notebook the size • Remember to keep a list prioritize tasks and of your PDA in yourpersonal planning tools of your priorities in your assign deadlines. carrying case for writinginclude electronic planning tool and refer to • Use the repeat function down “to dos” if youplanners, pocket diaries, it often. for recurring dates such have difficulty recordingcalendars, computer • Synchronize electronic as birthdays, them with your PDA’sprograms, wall charts, planners with your anniversaries, and task application featureindex cards and computer and recharge the (Morgenstern, 2004).notebooks. Writing down batteries in your planneryour tasks, schedules, and on a regular basis.memory joggers can free • Keep a back-up system.
PAGE 4Implement a system 4. Get Organized that allows you to Most people find that A frequently used method is to Basically you have 5 options disorganization results in poor set up three boxes (or corners for handling information: handle information time management. Professional of a room) labeled “Keep” – only once. organizers recommend that you “Give Away” – “Toss.” first get rid of the clutter. Separate the clutter by sorting 1. Throw it away, delete it, or items into these boxes. otherwise get rid of it. Immediately discard items in 2. Delegate it: give it to your “Toss” box. Your “Give someone else to do, file, or Away” box may include items respond. you want to sell, delegate, or 3. Act on it yourself. Then discontinue so find a method throw it away or file it. to eliminate these items such as a yard sale, charitable 4. File it temporarily until it donation, or gifts to friends or needs action or until family members outside your additional information is home. received. Follow-up: a “tickler” file can be useful With the clutter gone, the next for holding temporary step is to implement a system information. that allows you to handle 5. File it permanently where information (e.g., tasks, you can easily find it later. papers, e-mail, etc.) less, only once, when possible. (Dodd and Sundheim, 2005). 5. Schedule Your Time AppropriatelyEven the busiest people you are most productive educational audiotapes tofind time for what they and alert. Plan your most capitalize on the time losswant to do and feel is challenging tasks for when (Lakein, 1973). Try to limitimportant. Scheduling is you have the most energy. scheduled time to aboutnot just recording what you Block out time for your 3/4ths of your day, leavinghave to do (e.g., meetings high priority activities first time for creative activitiesand appointments), it is and protect that time from such as planning, dreaming,also making a time interruptions. thinking, and reading.commitment to the thingsyou want to do. Good If you know you will havescheduling requires that waiting time or commutingyou know yourself. Using time, schedule small tasks Block out time for your highyour time log, you should such as writing a letter, priority activities first and protecthave determined those jotting down a shopping that time from interruptions.times during the day when list, reading or listening to TIME MANAGEMENT
PAGE 56. Delegate: Get Help from OthersDelegation means selecting the appropriate defining the task and your Another way to get help isassigning responsibility for person(s) to do them. You expectations, but allow the to “buy” time by obtaininga task to someone else, need to select someone person some freedom to goods or service that savefreeing up some of your with the appropriate skills, personalize the task. you a time investment. Fortime for tasks that require experience, interest, and Occasionally check to example, paying someoneyour expertise. Delegation authority needed to determine how well the to mow your lawn or cleanbegins by identifying tasks accomplish the task. Be as person is progressing and your house, using athat others can do and then specific as possible in to provide any assistance, computerized system, or being careful not to take joining a carpool to over the responsibility. transport your children to Finally, don’t forget to their extracurricular reward the person for a job activities can allow you well done or make free time to devote to other suggestions for activities. improvements if needed. (Dodd and Sundheim, 2005) Delegation begins by identifying tasks that others can do and selecting the appropriate person(s) to do them.7. Stop ProcrastinatingYou may be putting off tasks fora variety of reasons. Perhaps thetask seems overwhelming orunpleasant. Try breaking downthe task into smaller segmentsthat require less timecommitment and result inspecific, realistic deadlines. Ifyou’re having trouble gettingstarted, you may need tocomplete a preparatory tasksuch as collecting materials ororganizing your notes. Also, try Perhaps thebuilding in a reward system as task seemsyou complete each small overwhelmingsegment of the task. or unpleasant.
PAGE 68. Manage External Time WastersYour time may be impacted by external factors imposed by other people andthings. You can decrease or eliminate time spent in these activities byimplementing some simple tips listed below. • Use voice mail and set aside time to return calls. • Avoid small talk. Stay focused on the reason for the call. • Stand up while you talk on the phone. You are more likely to keep the conversation brief. • Take any necessary action immediately following the call. • Set aside times of the day for receiving calls and let others know when you are available. • Keep phone numbers readily available near the telephone. • Establish blocks of time when you are available for visits. • Tell the visitor politely that you cannot meet with them at this time and schedule the visit for a more convenient time. • Set a mutually agreeable time limit for the visit. • When someone comes to the door, stand up and have your meeting standing. • Know the purpose of the meeting in advance. • Arrive on time. • Start and end the meeting on time. • Prepare an agenda and stick to it. Use a timed agenda, if necessary. • Don’t schedule meetings unless they are necessary and have a specific purpose or agenda. • Set aside a specific time to view and respond to your mail and e-mail, but don’t let it accumulate to the point that it becomes overwhelming to sort. • Turn off instant messaging features on e-mail. • Handle each item only once, if possible. Practice the options for dealing with clutter listed earlier. • Sort mail near a garbage can and delete junk e-mail immediately from your electronic mailbox. • Answer written messages by responding on the margins or bottom of the page. • Establish a master calendar for each family member to post their time commitments. • Make each family member responsible for consulting the master calendar for potential conflicts. • Create a central area for posting communications such as appointment reminders, announcements, and messages. TIME MANAGEMENT
PAGE 7You lose time when 9. Avoid Multi-tasking switching from one Recent psychological fact, the opposite is often in a loss of productivity task to another, studies have shown that true. You lose time (Rubinsteim, Meyer, and resulting in a loss multi-tasking does not when switching from one Evans, 2001). Routine of productivity. actually save time. In task to another, resulting multi-tasking may lead to difficulty in concentrating and maintaining focus when needed. Reviewers: Sharon Gibson, Joan Mason & Rachel West, University of Georgia Bobbie Shaffett, Mississippi State University Dena Wise, University of Tennessee Joan Gibson, The Catholic University of America Sources: Designer: Beckwith, S. (2006, July). Unleash Your PDA’s Power. Black Enterprise, Ashley Bagwell 36(12), 66. Covey, S. R., Merrill, A. R., & Merrill, R. R. (1994). First Things First: To Live, to Love, to Learn, to Leave a Legacy. New York: Simon & Schuster. Dodd, P., & Sundheim, D. (2005). The 25 Best Time Management Tools and The University of Georgia and Ft. Valley State University, the U.S. Techniques: How to Get More Done Without Driving Yourself Crazy. Ann Department of Agriculture and counties of the state cooperating. Arbor, MI: Peak Performance Press, Inc. Cooperative Extension, the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, offers educational programs, assistance and materials to all people without regard to race, color, national origin, age, Lakein, A. (1973). How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life. New gender or disability. York: New America Library. MacKenzie, A. (1990). The Time Trap (3rd ed.). New York: American An Equal Opportunity Employer/Affirmative Action Management Association. Organization Committed to a Diverse Work Force Publication # HACE-E-71 May, 2008 Morgenstern, J. (2004). Time Management from the Inside Out. New York: Henry Holt and Company. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914. The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Rubinsteim, J., Meyer, D. & Evans, J. (2001). Executive control of cognitive Environmental Sciences and the U.S. Department of Agriculture processes in task switching. Journal of Experimental Psychology – Human cooperating. Perception and Performance, 27(4), 763-797. CAES Dean J. Scott Angle, Director FACS Dean Laura D. Jolly, Associate Director
Scheduling time to relax can help you 10. Stay Healthy rejuvenate The care and attention you management can result in both physically give yourself is an important fatigue, moodiness, and more and mentally. investment of time. frequent illness. To reduce Scheduling time to relax, or do stress, you should reward nothing, can help you yourself for a time rejuvenate both physically and management success. Take mentally, enabling you to time to recognize that you accomplish tasks more quickly have accomplished a major and easily. Learn to manage task or challenge before time according to your moving on to the next activity. biological clock by scheduling priority tasks during your peak time of day, the time your energy level and concentration are at their best. Poor timeRegardless of the time management strategies you use, you should take time to evaluate how they have worked foryou. Ask yourself a few simple questions: Do you have a healthy balance between work and home life? Are youaccomplishing the tasks that are most important in your life? Are you investing enough time in your own personalwellbeing? If the answer is “no” to any of these questions, then reconsider your time management strategies andselect ones that work better for you. Remember that successful time management today can result in greaterpersonal happiness, greater accomplishments at home and at work, increased productivity, and a more satisfyingfuture.For more information about time management and other related topics, contactyour local county extension office at 1-800-ASKUGA1.