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Time Management for Managers: The 3 Ps

Written by  Andy Trainer – Wed 24 Jul 2013

Using specific strategies to keep on top of how you use your time is as essential for managers as it is for anyone else.

In fact, you’ll probably have even more to factor into your time ‘budget’ because in many ways you’ll be responsible for the day-to-day activities of your employees/team as well as your own.

This is something we emphasise on our Management Training here at Silicon Beach and it's also a key aspect of Project Management, as explained on our PRINCE2 Training.

In this post are a few quick fix ideas that make day-to-day time management more organised and effective.

The Three Ps

  • PEOPLE
  • PAPER
  • PLANNING

Get these three under control and you are well on your way to being organised (and saving time).

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Key Result Areas

Written by Andy Trainer – Fri 26 Oct 2007

To be effective in your work means doing the right things (effectiveness) in the right way (efficiency); this involves being clear about the key result areas of your job and the precise outputs required. Planning is central to time management, but it is not the first step. You must first know what it is you are planning. What is your work or, more correctly, what should your work be? If you are to plan you must plan to do the right things. Learn how to achieve key results in time management on our 1-day Time Management Course.

What are Key Result Areas?

These are the major overall things your organisation expects you to achieve. In other words, your purpose or why I am here. They may be reflected in your job description; they may be given to you as objectives or targets. You may have your own professional/personal result areas too.

Once you are clear on your Key Result Areas, you can go to plan your work practices more efficiently as all of your objectives should relate back to them. This means that you will never again be involved in activities that are outside the scope of your job and, therefore, a waste of your time!

Make a list of your key result areas NOW!

When you have that list you can divide it into tasks as follows:

  • Active Positive Tasks
  • Reactive Maintenance Tasks

Active Positive Tasks

So-called because they bring you and your long-term objectives forward. They are neither urgent nor obvious - they require justification, creativity and special effort. Planning, developing new projects or devising new procedures are examples of these tasks; if they are not performed, effects are not immediately obvious BUT their achievement will be directly in line with the achievement of your Key Result Areas.

Reactive Maintenance Tasks

These are the tasks which are probably the most visible part of your job; the day to day routine aspects of your work. Such tasks are usually urgent and quantifiable - individual steps in the process are clear. Such tasks do not require justification - they are part of normally accepted procedure. If these tasks are not done properly or on time, the effects are obvious to others. Reading your emails, doing routine reports are examples of this type of task. These tasks are called maintenance tasks because they maintain things as they are.

Effective time management is about the ability to balance and prioritise.

Make a list of your Active Positive Tasks and your Reactive Maintenance Tasks. Then review your lists:

  • What percentage of your time do you spend on each?
  • How happy are you with this?
  • How can you bring about change in these areas?

Whilst we cannot always change the things that adversely impact upon our working day – interruptions, time wasters - we can control our own behaviour. Bringing about improvements in time management is essentially about changing our behaviour and implementing new techniques and habits.

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