IAN FERGUSON: Managing time to best effect


Ian Ferguson

Time management is one of the most important skills, but it is often a concept that many businesses, and people, struggle with. Small businesses, in particular, cannot afford waste through bad time management and inefficiency. However, the benefits of good time management practices are immeasurable. Businesses that use good time management are better positioned to consistently deliver their product, or service, on time.

Naturally this means that employees in small businesses need to master the ability to use their time wisely. How do you seize the day and get more done in less time? This week’s column focuses on providing basic tips for effectively using the scarce resource of time to accomplish more:

  1. Assess how you spend your time

A brief assessment or inventory of daily activities is vital to determining those areas of wasted time and effort.

  1. Create to-do lists

Simply put, itemising those critical issues helps keep the major things in view.

  1. Prioritise lists

After a list is created, placing the list in order of priority is necessary.

  1. Schedule time

Assigning a specific time to carry out each critical function is the next step in this process.

  1. Limit e-mail/social media time

Go back to the audit, and go back to reign in those periods that might be viewed as wasted time.

  1. Use technology to avoid procrastination

Skillfully use technology to help organise and remind you of the priority matters on your calendar.

  1. Set expectations with colleagues and family

The greatest temptation for time wasting is often those nearest to you. Let your team members and family know what you are doing and the need for focus.

  1. Practice saying ‘no’

You cannot accept every invitation or fulfill every request. Learning to say ‘no’ will save your life, and help in your ability to be more productive.

  1. Incorporate breaks into your day

Your mind and body functions best when you change the monotony of business. Taking a vacation, lunch break and mental health days adds value to your life and the work experience.

• NB: Ian R Ferguson is a talent management and organisational development consultant, having completed graduate studies with regional and international universities. He has served organsations, both locally and globally, providing relevant solutions to their business growth and development issues. He may be contacted at tcconsultants@coralwave.com.

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