Time Management

The title of this article is applicable to all spheres of life. It can be work place or personal life or entertainment or event management. Now a days even TV programs specify the timing of an episode bifurcating the main part and advertisement part. In this article I would like to mainly stick to the work place area.

At the work place, time management is applicable to all levels right from workers to the MD. Of course in the case of workers- work study, output requirement and productivity agreements give enough guide lines for time management. In case of staff right from junior level to senior most they have to be prudent enough to plan their work within the stipulated time and complete the tasks. Executives and Managers have to organize their own programs and get the results. It is said that if a manager or Executive says he does not have time- the management considers him as incompetent.
Every manager to worker has to incorporate planning and organization skills to accomplish their task. For staff and above prioritization also plays an important role in completing the tasks it means that important tasks have to be completed first and least important should be kept for the last.

Thus, for better and effective time management I would recommend- develop self- discipline, plan to minimize idle time, better utilization of time with visitors, avoid procrastination and be sincere towards your own decisions.

Most managers do not understand the concept of time management in the proper sense, though most of them claim to be practicing it. There are certain myths about time management.

Some managers think the harder one works, the more he gets something done: This is known as the myth of activity. It has generally been found that managers spend or waste most of their time on routine and insignificant matters. This leaves them too busy to attend to their own job. They could easily have delegated the less important jobs to subordinates.

Higher level management makes better decisions: No, it is not always true. Lower level people can also make good decisions. On the other hand, all the decisions taken by the top level are not always fruitful.

Delay in decision making improves its quality: Further delay seldom improves the quality of decision. If all the information has been gathered the decision making would be faster and right.

Time can be saved. No, time cannot be saved. Time can be utilized in an efficient way by getting more out of the available time.

Reducing the time on activities means better time management: This is also a myth. Time should be allotted to the various activities on priority basis.

Doing all the work your self does not mean better time management. This way you will end up doing all the less important work and leave the important tasks unattended.

Most of the day’s activities do not need planning. Planning the day’s activities in advance gives a clear picture of what must be done. Good planners make a provision for unforeseen interruptions.

After experiencing misconceptions about time management, I proceed to the next area of our discussion that is time wasters and the steps to avoid them.

The activities or happenings which hamper the completion of work:

If we take a close look at time wasters it will be found that they can be broadly categorized into two- external time wasters and internal time wasters. External time wasters are often beyond one’s control as they are due to extraneous factors. For example, one has little control over the wastage of time due to a traffic jam. Self generated time wasters or internal time wasters, however, can be controlled to a larger extent. Along with it an attempt has been made to give point-by-point workable suggestions.
Time management requires the power of commitment. For example, for a long time a supervisor had been putting off painting of the boiler room. So the manager deliberately kept a small function in the boiler room a week later. The paint cans came out pretty quickly; the work was done in two days and the supervisor personally ensured that the painting job was done.

Time management is a must in small or large project implementations. Only in the Government, years of delay take place costing a few thousands of crores of Rupees. The delay is also in years and the project it self may be out dated when it gets completed. The best example is Sea Link Bridge of Mumbai. Conceived in 1974, it was completed that too partially in 2009. So the next time a project seems too imposing, even impossible, stick to proper time management so that coming closer to completion looks possible.

  • Hariharan_ps

    A very good article. hats off to you.  Most of the organizations set quality objectives on time line namely design and devlopment, production, purchase, despatch etc., But as you point out, they don’t know the key elements which will help them in achieving this.  Thanks  a lot to draw attention of the people in this direction.

    Hariharan P S

  • VargheseMathew

    Very good.some tips on effective use of time  would  have been better.

  • Chander M D

    I have read many Time Management articles. But Mr.Rama Rao’s is very good , explaining the whole concept of Time Management in a nutshell. I am a follower of Mr.Rao’s articles through Citeman.Network on daily basis.