So how do you manage your ‘time’?
And you always thought it was your ‘time’! With all the good intentions in the world your time would be your time only if you were totally in control of it. Even Dr Who has trouble keeping time with his Tardis.
Start of a new day
The first ‘time’ of your day is your ‘arrival’. Are you able to enter the building and your office without being seen. It is good practice to say hello to people at least once a day – known as power by walk about – but I’m not at my best first thing!
The junk of the day
On entering my office do I close the door or keep it open? What if the door has a dodgy lock. What if you have traffic lights outside the door and keep them set to red. Unwelcome visitors eat up your time just like junk mail. Why not let it be known that you will see people at certain times of the day. What if visitors outstay their welcome – stand up and walk to the door.
Unsolicited Phone calls
During the day there will be phone calls. Do you answer every call? Do you ring back every untaken call? How do you know what or who is important particularly if you are new to the job! The answer is you don’t so you have to have a filtering system commonly known as a secretary or the switchboard. I am not sure that I understand the idea of having a direct line with an answering machine message.
The problem with emails
The next problem with my ‘time’ is the post or emails. I like to open the post promptly and I like to open and respond to my emails promptly even if it means marking it as junk mail. Don’t be secretive but copy emails and letters to those people that need to see them promptly’.I often here the complaint I am not kept informed. Apply the principle if it urgent and important to do it first. If it is not urgent and not important should it be in the bin?
Someone else’s deadline
Deadlines are the next order of the day. The bane of my life! Who’s deadlines are they? Do they really need to be met today if at all? I would treat deadlines with the same approach as ‘paper’ is it urgent? is it important? Does it actually require your presence? Are there more urgent and important things that I need to do at my desk? In the last few years I have noticed a tendency to call meetings and ‘require’ attendance otherwise a financial penalty is applied.
And there’s meetings for the sake of ‘meetings’
Then there are pre-arranged meetings. Do I need to hold or go to a meeting? Is anyone going to listen to me if I do and will I learn anything really useful? Deadlines in my mind are a way of someone else managing your time not you. A meeting needs a purpose, an agenda, a report or issue to consider. It also needs a chairperson!
And there’s still ‘that’ job to do’
A to do list is something I prepare when I need to make a point about workload. Usually there are tasks to carry out each day, each week, each month, each quarter and each year and the to do list follows a distinct pattern. The tasks vary in difficulty and the skills required. Some take longer than others to do.
So you started the day with good intentions. How long did they last? Is it time to go home yet? Is there a way of leaving the building without being seen? Do you tell anyone you are going home? Beware of accusations that you are a part timer going home early. Don’t answer the phone or the door once you have decided to go home. Tomorrow is another day James!
“I’m going to take a course on time management when I can find the time to do it!’
Robert Campbell – October 2015