Lasitha Silva’s Web’log

How effective are you at using your time?

Posted on: November 13, 2008

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.

~ Carl Sandburg ~

Record and analyse what did you do yesterday?

  1. Take a piece of paper (diary, planner or spreadsheet).
  2. Divide your working day into half hour intervals (include travelling time & breaks).
  3. For each half hour interval indicate the activity you where involved in.
    Note: If you can easily remember exactly what you were doing for all the intervals you are better at this than me.
  4. Highlight in:
    1. Red activities not helpful in meeting your objectives.
    2. Orange marginal activities i.e. travelling, waiting, lunch etc.
    3. Yellow time spent in planning or thinking.
    4. Green activities helpful in meeting your objectives.
  5. You can now see at a glance how you use your time.
  6. From now on record what you do when you plan it or when it occurs.
  7. Review weekly how you spend your time.

The idea is to make decisions and act on them — to decide what is important to accomplish, to decide how something can best be accomplished, to find time to work at it and to get it done.

~ Karen Kakascik ~

Effective use of time

  1. Concentrate on being effective, not on being busy.
  2. Avoid red activities (time spent which is not helpful in meeting your objectives). Analyse the root cause for each of these and avoid, eliminate or minimise this waste of your time.
  3. Don’t do the work of others, unless you chose to do so (e.g. to understand the problems or to show others etc.)
  4. Delegate effectively
  5. Effective Meetings
  6. Be decisive.
    Evaluate, assess the risks and decide the next course of action.
  7. Do it now. Don’t procrastinate, break up tasks so they are achievable.
  8. Give realistic promises.
  9. Learn to say ‘No’.
    Direct people to owner of a problem or explain why you are not dealing with it.
  10. Avoid perfectionism. Seek a quality solution (fit for purpose) which is cost effective.
  11. Avoid clutter. Act – Bin – Refer – File. Only file if you need the information and it is not readily available elsewhere.
  12. Consolidate your time. Large size bites are excellent, hourly chunks are ideal.
  13. Control interruptions/ distractions. Find somewhere where you can think and plan.
  14. Orange time (marginal time) should be used wisely. Remember relaxation and breaks are essential but this time could also be used for thinking and planning. The choice is yours.
  15. Don’t spend endless time reordering ‘to do lists’. When a task is complete just cross it out.
  16. Look at your aims/ responsibilities and identify your key goals (10 max.). Set performance objectives for each key goal e.g.
  • Quality – right – error free services & goods – fit for purpose.
  • Cost – value
    • People.
    • Machines, facilities & equipment.
    • Method.
    • Materials.
  • Delivery
    • When.
    • Speed – fast – time between customer asking and receiving.
    • Dependability – deliver on time.
  • Flexibility – ability to adapt – service, product, mix, volume and delivery time.

We realise our dilemma goes deeper than shortage of time; it is basically a problem of  priorities. We confess, “We have left undone those things that ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done.”

~ Charles E. Hummel ~



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