Time Management

by Di McLanachan

Can I create more hours in my day?

Of course you can’t, but you can change the way you perceive time and the way you use it.

Tip

You can’t change time. But you can change yourself. There’s probably a lot you can do to take back control of your time.

You can, in effect, recover time that is not used well or efficiently, and the result will feel like more hours in the day. For some people, this can be many more hours!

If you have done the personal time log exercise in Where does my time go?, you will already have some good ideas on the recurring events or factors in your working day.

With this awareness, you can now take action to reduce or even eliminate some of the time-wasting activities and thus free up more time in your day.

The following exercise is designed to give you a much better sense of the types of activities you do and whether they are within your control or not. We then give you some specific tips on how to deal with each of them.

Before you go any further, print out the attached form of time consumers and score yourself.

Then come back here and continue through the exercise and tips for action.

Circle all those items where you have scored 7 or more and notice whether these are predominately within or outside your control. If the high scorers are within your control, this indicates that you may have a working style that is working against you! For more information on this, see Working styles.

Spot the deliberate mistake!

Now go back over the list of time-consumers outside your control. Are they? One reason why some people appear to have more time than others is because the efficient time managers are good at taking control; the poor ones use the excuse of assuming that things are outside their control (it’s not my fault; there’s nothing I can do about it...).

There may be nothing that you can do about some of the things that are outside your control today, but perhaps by next week you might be able to start bringing them inside your control.

Before moving on to the suggestions for using your time more effectively, have another look at those two categories. Once you think about it, you may find that some of the items outside your control are much the same as the items within your control – lack of communication (outside) and failure to listen (within), for example. Perhaps you’ve just been looking at them from a different perspective.

For specific tips on each of the time consumers see the following pages

Time consumers: Outside your control

Time consumers: Within your control