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Time Management for Managers: The 3 Ps

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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).

People

Others:

  • Don't have an open door policy but let people know when you will be available.
  • Keep interruptions short.
  • Always let employees know where you are, or at least where you’re not! Ensure you have an efficient tracking system.
  • Only involve those in meetings who really need to be there and only for those items which involve them.
  • At start of meetings state objectives and time constraints clearly.
  • Make sure minutes of meetings record decisions, actions agreed and completed, and actions outstanding.
  • Use effective listening skills to summarise points made at meetings, face-to-face discussions or on phone calls.

You:

  • Don't procrastinate - given the choice of doing it now or later do it now - time is cheaper now (when you have a choice) than later (when you don't).
  • Be clear what you want, do you really want to say "no"? If you do, say it.
  • Reward yourself for doing things you don't like doing, whether that’s employee appraisals, hiring and firing or whatever.

Paper

  • Handle each piece just once. Reply to it, file it or destroy it.
  • Deal with emails at a given time each day.
  • Skim read to see if something is worth reading.
  • Pieces of paper that you don't need to do anything with, file in the waste paper basket!
  • Destroy paper once it has reached the end of its useful life.
  • Take fewer and better notes.
  • Log your time on the phone, - see how long you spend.
  • Limit the time you spend answering emails.
  • Organise your papers; for example, different coloured folders for different projects.

Planning

  • Take quiet time to review your day at the start and at the end of the day.
  • Work from a clear and tidy desk
  • Set yourself and your team achievable goals and monitor them.
  • Do one single job at a time: don't break off or give in to interruptions.
  • Make regular and frequent backups of your own computer data.
  • Eliminate multiple copies of files - keep your computer files well-organised.

  • Use directory structures or folders on your PC.
  • Record all actions - what is to be done, when and by whom.
  • Start meetings strictly on time.
  • Limit time rigidly- stick to your time commitments.
  • Circulate minutes of meetings as soon as possible after the end of the meeting. Write first draft within 24 hours - at least.
  • Write to-do lists.
  • Have a time plan on your wall so you can immediately see your commitments for the next month.

Hopefully you can start putting those tips into practice and see some results but if you're still struggling, come on our Time Management Course.

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