Friday, October 19, 2012

Time Management Tips, Tricks, Tools And Techniques

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Time is a project manager's or executive's most precious commodity. It is second, perhaps, only to expertise and the ability to communicate effectively. Yet time management is too often treated as an afterthought, when it is one of the most crucial allocation problems confronting anyone in business who is charged with the responsibility of positioning and optimizing limited resources or assets.  It's time that someone made this easier for all of us.

The most efficient approach to get this into the standard routine for all of you IT professional, Project Managers, Program Managers, Team Leaders, Drill Sergeants and Executives out there is to do everything in a straightforward checklist fashion.

Don't editorialize or customize this approach. I would ask (politely) that you use it exactly as offered for a bit, and then (and only then) see if it requires modification to suit your exacting and specific needs:

1) List every single one of your responsibilities [either in terms of your position or in terms of a project mission]. No need to prioritize, alphabetize or homogenize. Just break them out into a comprehensive and complete list.

2) Assign a category to every item on that list:




The thing to do is to take as many of those items as possible and either automate or delegate them, to limit, in the extreme, the items remaining to execute.

3) For your executable items, make a weekly allowance, by hour (you'll have to force yourself -- this is a challenge), for how much of your time your going to dedicate to each one. Multitasking is not permitted, but rotational tasking is permitted. If you've read me before you'll surely know the difference.

4) For each executable item, assign a specific time each day when you'll dedicate yourself to that item and that item alone. Don't try to stuff any day too full of any one. We are talking about your precious time, and not making cannelloni.

5) With the exception of absolute emergencies, crises and natural functions (need I be more explicit?), do not deviate from this schedule. You different responsibilities will come to you in batch load fashion instead of disjointedly and continuously throughout the day. This shifting back and forth between task orientations is what destroys your efficiency in every area, causes you to lose time 'transitioning' from one mindset into the next, and makes every day into a crisis management marathon. This transitioning which is brought about through continuous interruption destroys your personal efficiency and raises your blood cortisol levels -- possibly your blood pressure as well. There is actually a transitional time loss factor.

There are only five steps. I only ask that you try them, as written, for several weeks. You might find that the quality of your work improves, as will the quality of your life.

As they say, "Try it. You'll like it."

Douglas E. Castle for The Business And Project Planning And Management Blog

p.s. Please visit each of these other two blogs, each of which is a newcomer to the business blog fold:

The Crowd Funding RSS Feeds Blog, and
The CrowdFunding Incubator Blog  

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