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Time Management

"Time management" is perhaps a misnomer: you cannot manage time itself. What you can do is manage yourself, your activities and your priorities to make the best use of the time available to you.

If you regularly have last minute rushes to meet deadlines or long periods where little, if anything, productive is done then you probably need to improve your time management skills. If you can plan your time effectively and efficiently, and stick to the plan using some self-discipline, your productivity is guaranteed to improve.

But that's the problem: you! While we may make plenty of excuses for why we seem to work hard but don't feel we achieve much in the working day, it is actually all about how you manage you. So, procrastination; an inability to say no; a preference for some tasks over others; an urge to stick to the old habits; no clear objectives or priorities will all get in the way of you achieving what you set out to do.

Planning your day, in particular, is about being realistic about what you must do and how long it will take to do. Also, not forgetting all those little things we do during the day that take time to do, but we underestimate how long they take to do! Planning your working day is about being able to say "no", or negotiate deadlines. But this takes a level of confidence and is also about you being willing to face the consequences of doing - or not doing - the task on time.

Having - and knowing how to use properly - the tools available to help you do all this is vital. These may be physical tools like diaries, planners or PDAs. They may also be psychological tools, like knowing yourself sufficiently well to be able to motivate yourself. Or they may even be an array of techniques to use with certain people when they, for example, interrupt you, give a vague deadline, or simply don't give you the information to help you complete the task.

And don't forget too, that office life and the demands on you are constantly changing. What worked for you last week may not work for you next month! So keeping yourself up to date about how the new and changing technology can help, or finding out how other people use the tools available to them gives you more to choose from.

Time Management Quick Guides

If any of the above sounds like you, maybe you need to assess your objectives and your productivity levels. For time management tips take a look at our Effective Use of Time Quick Guide or our Quick Guide to Overcoming Procrastination.

Time Management Courses

Zee Associates' time management courses will help your staff manage their workloads and priorities more effectively. The following training courses cover time management: Effective Use of Time and Managing your manager