Of all the daily hassles experienced by managers, one of the most stressful is poor time management. Such daily hassles include; trouble with client/customer, being late to work, constant people interruptions, trouble with boss, deadlines and time pressures, dealing with bureaucracy at work, technological breakdowns e.g computer, trouble with co-workers, tasks associated with job not stimulating, too much responsibility, too many jobs to do at once, telephone interruptions, making mistakes, conflict with organizational goals, job interfering with home/family life, too many meetings, don’t know where career is going, worried about job security, spouse/partner not supportive about work, etc.
Time wasters fall into several categories, requiring different solutions; Procrastination- Individuals in this category cause themselves problems because they delay, preferring to think about work rather than do it. Procrastination often stems from boredom, a lack of confidence, or reluctance to seek clarification. For people who procrastinate, here are some basic tips to effective time management;
* Break up overwhelming tasks into smaller jobs.
* Draw up a to-do-list of all the tasks you need to complete in the short term- that is, within the next week, and in the long term.
* When planning your work, schedule, attempt to balance routine tasks with the more enjoyable jobs.
* Accept that risks are inevitable and that no decisions are ever made on the basis of complete information.
Poor Delegation- Individuals in this category waste a considerable amount of their time doing work that could easily and more effectively have been done by somebody else.They should consider some of the following;
* Delegation does not mean abdication.
* Always take time out to explain exactly what is required of; poor delegation is often also poor communication, which is why individuals in this category are frequently disappointed with the effort of others.
* Having delegated a job, leave the person to get on with it.
* Avoid taking on unnecessary work that does not fulfill their objectives or that could be done by others, by learning to say “no” politely and assertively.
Disorganized- Individuals in this category are instantly recognized by the mounds of paper that form barricades around their desks. Disorganized individuals frequently miss or are late for appointments. They frequently think their problems are due to work overload rather than organizational skills, they actually need to;
* Plan effectively before taking action.
* Make a to-do-list regularly at the start of each day and review it each evening.
* Stick to one task and finish it!
* Think before they telephone and draw up a list of all information they require from the caller.
* Identify their prime time for working, when their energy levels are high for the complex task, and save the trivial routine tasks for non-prime time.
* When making appointments in their diaries, enter a finish time as well as a start time.
Speculation- Individuals in this category are usually unclear about the purpose and objectives of what they are required to do. They constantly speculate and inwardly question what they should do rather than do it. They basically lack assertion and communication skills. The two most important things for them to do are;
* Learn to say “I don’t know” when they actually don’t know.
* Learn to say “I don’t understand” when they really don’t understand a task, a role or objective.