Managing Time

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Time ManagementRunning faster and falling further behind? Pushed to do more with less? Your options are few: go elsewhere, burn out or manage time better. Poor time management contributes to increased anxiety, reduced anger threshold, fuzzy thinking, hasty decisions, poor judgement, bad health. Isn't that enough?

There is no question that many of us have more to do than we have time for. It can be pretty overwhelming. Keeping it all in our heads (and to ourselves) can make it worse.

Two things that can help: write down what you have to do in a list. This makes everything less nebulous, less overwhelming. Then prioritize. This means making some hard decisions about what to delay, not do at all or get someone else to do.

Next, talk to others about what is bothering you, somone you can trust. You might object that overwork is the culprit not poor time management. Yes, but you might have more control over how you manage your time. Can you prove to your boss how smarter working will add more value than hard work?

Be strategic about yourself - regularly review your priorities to ensure that you are getting the best return on your investment. Managing is like investment, only with different resources, your personal time, talent, people, budgets and materials.

Demonstrate how focus can mean greater payoff to the company. Ensure that you are delegating as effectively as you should. Under time pressure it is too easy to say "I can do it myself faster."

Take time out from firefighting to put some fire prevention in place. Are you too reluctant to say "no", hence taking on too much? Negotiate priorities with all key stakeholders. Sell jobs to others as development opportunities!

By handling all the detail yourself, you may not be adding real value. Are you taking time to liaise with others? To examine the big picture? If you let yourself be buried, how much flexibility do you have? Do you genuinely question why something needs to be done?

Focus on key priorities and accept that some things will not get done. You are not really managing if you are letting events drive you.

Set aside regular time to prioritize. Management is like investment - just as you need to review your investments periodically to get the best return, review regularly how you are investing all personal and organizational resources at your disposal. Otherwise you are drifting, not managing.

Find things to laugh at, try not to take yourself too seriously.