Time Management Training

Good time management skills are about many things, prioritizing, managing interruptions, avoiding procrastination, etc. But time management really starts with having a plan of action which clearly states the tasks you are hoping to complete on any given day—otherwise known as a to do list.

An action list is first, outlining the actions you are going to take to achieve your tasks on a daily basis. Time management training will always speak of the importance of planning your work and working your plan.

Key points for getting into the habit of writing and managing the list:

Before writing a list as part of your time management skills, you should always check your diary for that day, as if you use effective diary control to make appointments with yourself for the tasks you need to carry out, there will always be daily entries in the diary. This is a starting point for a regimen of organization that eliminates clutter from the mind.

  • Remember the 80/20 principle; 80% of things on your time management list will produce 20% of the results and 20% of the list will produce 80% of the results. A key element of time management training is to always remember this rule and work on the key areas that produce the important results.

So, first thing to do is

  • Make your list

Get yourself in to the habit of writing a time management list every day, try to write the list at the same time daily so as it forms a habit. Some will do the time management list first thing in the morning while others use time management skills to prepare the list the night before, just before you leave work—leaving it on your desk for as soon as you arrive the following morning.

Time management training courses will tell you that the important thing is to get into the habit of writing a list each day on one piece of paper (not a thousand yellow stickies all over your pc). The reasoning behind this is once again organization, if your desk is soaking up your attention with several “to-do’s” but no flow to any, it renders the time management moot.

  • REMEMBER:  1 sheet of paper, 1 list, not a bunch of sticky notes

The list should take no more than 10 minutes maximum to compile. Time management is not about having loads of things on your list, it is about having the most important things on your list. Time management skill training will teach you it is not the amount of items on the list but the importance of the items.

  • REMEMBER:  It is the important items that get listed

You must allow time for emergency changes in your daily schedule. No matter how effective you are at training yourself in the skills of time management, there will always be the possibility of unscheduled important tasks popping up or interruptions etc.

  • REMEMBER:  The lists get screwed up a lot

Be realistic with your time management lists and try your best to allocate each task a start time and finish time. Group similar tasks together for momentum and remember to carry forward items from one day to the other (only if they are important and must be actioned.) Another key element to this concept is to never set a goal or deadline that is impossible to reach. There is no feat a person cannot accomplish, but if only given a few hours, the stress builds. That’s not to say pressure to work isn’t healthy, but reasonable is key.

  • REMEMBER:  Allocate the time to a task

Even think of rewarding yourself after each task has been done and crossed off the time management list. Remember the key saying in effective time management skills training is:

  • Ask: What I am doing now helping me to achieve my objective?

Then: Practice, practice, practice so that the time management skills become automated!