Planning, prioritising and efficiency: a Time Management Workshop


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The difference between “important” and “urgent”, and how to deal with each
The “time stealers” – what they are and how to avoid them
What is “quality time” and how you can create it
Dealing with the e-mail mountain – the 4 Ds

Published in: Business, Technology

Planning, prioritising and efficiency: a Time Management Workshop

  1. 1. Planning, prioritising and efficiency Facilitated by Ian J Seath V2
  2. 2. Today’s workshop… Learning objectives: • To enable participants to become more proactive and use a range of techniques to prioritise, plan and control workloads more effectively • To commit to a personal improvement action plan Explore: • The difference between “important” and “urgent”, and how to deal with each • The “time stealers” – what they are and how to avoid them • What is “quality time” and how you can create it • Dealing with the e-mail mountain – the 4 Ds
  3. 3. Let’s talk about time…  The Earth has been in existence ~4.54 billion years.  The Human Race (as we know it) has existed for about 5 million years  If one hour represents the earth‟s existence, we have been around for 6 seconds!
  4. 4. Let’s talk about time…  A year on Pluto lasts 247.7 earth years  An Earth year lasts 365.26 days  An Earth day lasts 23 hours, 56 minutes, 4091 seconds  How long is a working day?  How effectively do we use our working day?  Could we use our working time better by working smarter?
  5. 5. Think small and the results could be big A 10% improvement in your use of time could free 6 minutes in every hour… = 45 minutes a day = 3.75 hours or half a day per week 45 MINUTES PER DAY 3.75 HOURS A WEEK
  6. 6. A minute of your time costs…  9 pence per £10k of salary (excluding NI/PAYE)  Assuming 37.5 hours/week and  48 weeks per year
  7. 7. Time to be honest?  Do you waste time?  Do you waste other people‟s time?  Do you spend time on the things you should?  Do you take time out to reflect on how you should spend your time
  8. 8. Where are you starting from?
  9. 9. Time Management Self-Assessment Step 1: By yourself, rate the 30 statements and calculate your score Step 2: By yourself, identify 3 or 4 key issues arising Step 3: In your group, share and prioritise the key issues Step 4: Present your findings
  10. 10. Activity vs. Action Efficiency vs. Effectiveness Perfection vs. Excellence Urgency vs. Importance
  11. 11. Activity vs. Action ACTIVITY  Being busy  Too many jobs at once  Unplanned approach  Helping everyone with their problems  Not delegating enough ACTION  Getting things done  Completing jobs, even if it means one job at a time and finishing it  Recognising priorities  Able to say no  Using others to get things done
  12. 12. Efficiency vs. Effectiveness EFFICIENCY  Doing things right EFFECTIVENESS  Doing the right things
  13. 13. Wrong things - Right things  Wrong things  Desire to make an impression  Involved in everything  Blaming others  Right things  Wanting to achieve results  Delegating and not interfering  Working out how we will collaborate and work together
  14. 14. Perfection vs. Excellence PERFECTION  Work planning preventing work  Too much detail  Too high standards  Need to be seen to suffer for the organisation (arrive early, stay late) EXCELLENCE  Enough planning to make the best use of time  Enough detail to achieve objectives  Time allocated for priorities  Need to work hard and still have your own life
  15. 15. Urgency vs. Importance HIGH LOW LOW HIGH IMPORTANCE U R G E N C Y
  16. 16. List the priority of each quadrant and decide what proportion of your time you should allocate to each HIGH LOW LOW HIGH IMPORTANCE U R G E N C Y
  17. 17. The priority of each quadrant… 3 Distraction? 2 Plan 4 Waste! 1 Manage HIGH LOW LOW HIGH IMPORTANCE U R G E N C Y
  18. 18. Exercise: Urgency vs. Importance Identify 10-15 “things to do” from your current work Write each one on the Urgency/ Importance grid … Do them in the sequence you suggested!
  19. 19. 4 Steps for Time Management 1. Record your use of time now 2. Analyse how you spend your time 3. Do something about it 4. Repeat your Time Log
  20. 20. For how long should you record your time?  One day?  One week?  Several weeks?  One month?  Several months?  One year?Log your activities as they happen, not at the end of each day
  21. 21. Time Log Example: DAY ____________________________ DATE __________________________________ Describe what happens in detail - the subject of meetings, phone calls, letters, reading, conversations. Note the duration of each activity. Include any other relevant comments which will help your analysis. Time Activity Duration Comments
  22. 22. Time Log Example: Categorised by Results that have to be achieved Project X Project Y Task A Task B Task C Staff Comm Staff Devp. etc. etc. 9.00 9.30 10.00 10.30 11.00 11.30 12.00 12.30 13.00 13.30 14.00 14.30 15.00 15.30 16.00 16.30 17.00 17.30
  23. 23. Time Log Example: Categorised by types of work/activity done Time Activity MTG 1-1s TRG TEL PS RDG WRT PC TRV OTH KEY: MTG = Meeting 1-1s = 1-1 Discussions TRG = Training TEL = Telephone PS = Problem Solving RDG = Reading WRT = Writing PC = Computer TRV = Travel Oth = Other
  24. 24. Pareto Principle: The 80:20 Rule 20% of the time leads to 80% of the results 20% 80% TIME RESULTS
  25. 25. How to analyse your Time Log How much of your time was spent: Activity Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Total % Planning In Meetings Being interrupted Telephoning Writing Travelling
  26. 26. Time Log Analysis Time Time Invested est. act. Activity % Effectiveness How can I handle it more effectively next time ?
  27. 27. Put first things first Schedule your priorities, not prioritise your schedule If something is really important, make the time for it
  28. 28. Scenario – where are the time stealers?  Ian gets into his office, starts his computer and logs on to check his e-mails. After 10 minutes he has a quick look through his Twitter stream and checks his Facebook page. He then spends 30 minutes preparing the first part of a report which is due tomorrow. After attending a 45 minute meeting he grabs a cup of coffee and chats with some colleagues. Back at his desk he notices he has 5 new e-mails which he decides to read and he replies to 2 of them. Returning to his report he spends 10 minutes collecting his thoughts and another 30 minutes writing before deciding it‟s nearly time to break for lunch. He makes a couple of quick „phone calls, then goes off for lunch.
  29. 29. Time stealers 1. Procrastination/indecision 2. Ineffective meetings 3. Interruptions - visitors, telephone, e-mail 4. “Never say no” 5. Lack of delegation 6. Lack of planning before starting tasks 7. Waiting time - between meetings 8. Starting too many things and not finishing them 9. Changing priorities 10. Communication failures 11. Unclear responsibilities 12. Unnecessary Travelling etc.
  30. 30. Dealing with your time stealers • Step 1 - Individually, select the top 3 time stealers that affect you, day-in and day-out • Step 2 - Share your thoughts with the group • Step 3 - As a group, identify and share some possible solutions
  31. 31. What is “quality time”? • A person‟s average uninterrupted time at work is usually less than 10 minutes! • Respect your colleagues‟ quality time by not interrupting them unnecessarily!
  32. 32. Creating quality time How often do you… Frequently Occasionally Seldom Never Have trouble finding things on your desk? Procrastinate & delay tasks? Get side-tracked with conversations with other people about non-work topics? Get side-tracked by reading „interesting‟ rather than „important‟ information? Catch yourself day-dreaming? Jump from task to task without finishing anything?
  33. 33. If you have answered “YES” to any of the questions, you are guilty of interrupting “YOURSELF”
  34. 34. Dealing with the e-mail (or paperwork) mountain Is dependent on…. 1.The number of items received 2.The number of times you pick up/shuffle the same item without positive action
  35. 35. The four Ds… Do it Delegate it Delay it Dump it Does it require action? No action?
  36. 36. The 2 minute rule Less than 2 minutes?  Do it More than 2 minutes?  Delegate it  Delay it
  37. 37. Delegate it… “Tell me what you want me to do and why, then let me get on with it. If I make a mess of it, coach me so I know where I went wrong. But, don’t fuss !!!” A Subordinate’s Prayer
  38. 38. Delegation - Brief those involved • What is to be done? • What has already been done? • Why is it being done? • When is it to be done by? • What the output should be? • What standards are expected? …..and check back for understanding
  39. 39. If it doesn’t require you to DO something… Dump it File it “I might need this later”
  40. 40. Exercise: Managing your time - ideas Individually, identify which of the following practical guidelines you would want to subscribe to? Place a tick against all of those you want to do something about (hold these and any other ideas for your personal action planning)
  41. 41. Practical guidelines (1) 1. Think first, then act. It is always more effective to plan your time than to react to events. 2. Make a “Flying Start” to the day - get going with a task you can accomplish. 3. Have a daily routine where you plan specific times for routine activities such as meetings. 4. Have a daily “To Do” List. Prioritise items into “musts”, “shoulds” and “coulds”, e.g. A, B, C. Don‟t overload your day. Build in some flexibility. Review your achievements each day. 5. Do things which need most effort at times when you know you will be at your best, mentally. 6. Don‟t procrastinate. Doing the unpleasant task will make you feel less stressed. Tasks rarely get more pleasant by being postponed. 7. Have deadlines for your tasks and stick to them. 8. Try ignoring things which aren‟t important - many “urgent problems” may simply disappear. 9. Analyse, plan and act to reduce your interruptions
  42. 42. Practical guidelines (2) 10. Do one thing at a time - finish jobs that you start, if possible. 11. Arrange “do not disturb” times for yourself. 12. Take regular breaks to ensure that you don‟t become stale or over-stressed. 13. Keep all your ideas, plans, appointments, etc. in one place. Don‟t become a “Time Fanatic” who is a slave to forms and systems. 14. Say “no” if you can‟t do something or aren‟t the right person. 15. Don‟t take work home unless you definitely will do something with it. 16. Analyse your use of time regularly. Compare it with earlier time analyses. 17. Avoid interrupting colleagues by planning fixed meetings with them. 18. Plan your telephone calls for maximum effectiveness - group several calls together. 19. Go for excellence, not perfection. Perfection takes too long !
  44. 44. Say it, see it, write it…  Identify from all of today‟s inputs and colleagues‟ ideas, what you plan to do differently  Be specific and ensure the improvements are measurable  Be prepared to share your plan with the group Do it…
  45. 45. Facilitated by Ian J Seath 07850 728506 @ianjseath