Time is Like Money
Heading into the new year, many of us have made resolutions concerning our future behavior towards health, finances, work and making better use of our time. It is common for these lists go by the wayside before too long. Emanating from a diverse and professional background, 5 Primary Components of Effective Time Management blends proven methods from Agile, Lean and Leadership styles of management. Employing a straightforward framework such as this delivers practical and obtainable time management success.
The Five Primary Components of Effective Time Management include:
- Defining Current and Desired State
- Planning and Execution
- Employing the Best Tool for the Job
A: Defining your Current and Desired State simply establishes your starting and finishing points. Much like setting your location and destination on your GPS. Understanding exactly where you are with your time management skills is critical to arriving at your goals in a timely fashion.
Define your Current and Desired State by:
- Describe your current state in short bulleted phrases.
- Note what works and does not work.
- Accurately describe your desired state in short phrases.
- Add a second level of bulleted detail to each desired state phrase.
B: Operating without a plan is like building an airplane as you are flying it. History demonstrates this chaotic and haphazard method as being unreliable and unpredictable. The only consistent outcomes are high-stress levels, ‘war’ stories and lessons learned that should not be repeated. Planning and the execution of said plan delivers visible progress, reduces distractions, and yields success.
To develop a successful plan:
- Compare the current to the desired state
- Note similar phrases. These are established behaviors.
- Note the gaps between the two states.
- Create an action phrase bridging each gap using S.M.A.R.T. methodology.
- Be vigilant and execute your plan with vigor.
- Track progress and measure success with milestones.
C: Setting priorities can be the most difficult component of time management. Life consistently demonstrates that nothing lives in a vacuum. This is especially true when it comes to prioritizing your time. You are solely responsible for setting your priorities, however, you must not set them alone in a vacuum.
To set priorities:
- Conduct frequent discussions with customers, stakeholders, and staff
- Create a clear picture of:
- What is needed.
- What brings the most value to the organization.
- When it is needed.
- The amount of work required.
- The quality of the work that is expected.
These candid discussions provide the information you need to set daily, weekly and long-term priorities. Open and clear communication is key.
D: Everyone has “made-do” with a tool not fit for a task at one time or another. We use our pliers as a hammer and a complex series of spreadsheets in lieu of a SQL table. You are a professional, use professional tools to work efficiently thus managing your time effectively.
To select the best tool for the job:
- Define the current tool state and desired tool state like in step A.
- Note the gaps between the two states.
- Create a list of tool requirements that bridge those gaps.
- Look for tools that posses.
- Quick adoption times
- Straightforwardness in operation.
- Avoid the complex tools that attempt to do everything.
- Avoid the tools filled with distractions.
E: A strong component of successful time management is the art of delegation. Delegation is NOT a “Set It and Forget It” activity. It is an effective way to build professionalism in your staff, mentoring for future leadership. A successful team is diverse with each team member owning a particular skill set and thusly complementing one another.
- Select team members who possess the talent required for the task.
- Set broad goals giving some room for personal ownership.
- Communicate clear expectations.
- Make available all possible resources and time for questions.
- Have frequent and brief status meetings.
- Provide constant and constructive feedback.
If you do not have an outlet for delegation, consider outsourcing the task/project to an experienced and reliable IT Team. A key benefit to outsourcing, which is often overlooked, is the knowledge share opportunity between the two teams that can elevate the level of experience on your team. See our 7 Key Benefits of IT Outsourcing article.
These five components are broad in application, They can be applied in many facets of life and today they have been altered for Time Management skills. Gaining control and managing your time effectively is a behavior that yields a productive day and presents the opportunity to accomplish more in the same time span. At the end of the day, your time is like money. Spend it wisely.