Creating a time plan
Time is one of your most important resources, and sometimes your most valuable. In a
few cases timing is everything. Yet few managers know the little tricks of planning that can be used to put time on their side. Such planning can double your effectiveness and help sell your plan.
Here we will look at time as a resource, how to plan it and how to find more of it to produce profit or to just enjoy.
We will see that time is vital, often management is obsessed with the present and the past. A sense of time can motivate, focus efforts, and get more done per hour. Scheduling with a time plan can boost productivity output, favourably impress investors, increase company efficiency and profits. All this starts with the setting of priorities, as well as how to time and co-ordinate so that action occurs at the right moment.
Why is time important? Time is important due to several reasons. It is said that if you value life – value what life is made of. Your time is your life use it or enjoy.
Second, time is a major function of your career. Almost no one is an instant success. As a certain pop star put it “I worked hard for twenty years and suddenly i was an overnight success”. Time plays an important role in your progress and prosperity – know how to use it and you can achieve much more quickly.
Third, time is a major corporate resource. You pay people by the hour week or the month. You are buying their time and what they do in that time. You are also selling or investing your time. But no matter how skilled a person if time is managed poorly all will be for naught.
Fourth, time is vital because you not only schedule it daily on your desk pad, but you can use it as a business management strategic plan that co-ordinates and unifies internal action and gets more done per day.
Fifth, good time management good time management planning and scheduling favourably impresses prospective investors. Your investors will always have a keen sense of time as interest rates and sales figures are all expressed in terms of time. They know that time means money!
Time as a Resource: 1) time itself as a raw material and 2) a knowledge of or a system of using it. The program is often the key. If you were an astronaut and faced a emergency in which you had only ten minutes to live, you would spend the first 3 minutes collecting facts next minute making sure of the facts and the last 6 minutes working toward saving your life. Now that’s a ten minute time plan that could be life saving!
Your tactics for your strategic time plan should include these eight steps: generating a sense of time; setting priorities; focusing on MBO; using time schedules to sell and motivate employees; impressing investors; pouncing at just the right moment; using timely tips; and finally scheduling who does what, when where, and why. Lets see how you can take each step.
Generating a sense of time starts with your own point of view. If you are convinced that good time planning can pay off for you and your company, begin by using many of the following items. Tell others about these. Show them how this will make them more valuable employees, help them to get more done in less time, reduce stress, lead to rewards, and help them reach personal goals. Convince one or two and others will follow. Then hold a meeting and discuss the idea. Encourage others to try their own plan.
List projects to do and set priorities. The easiest way is to take a moment at the beginning of the day or assignment. Simply list everything that needs to be done. Let one item remind you of others. Use a checklist if needed. As you go along put a circle in front of each item. Then put a number or a letter to signify the priority of the item.
How do you decide on a priority? Most people have trouble deciding on just what is really important.
Here’s a chart that might help in making priorities:
|Long lead||Medium Lead||Short lead|
Use time to manage by MBO or management by objectives. Priorities can be set for each of your objectives. This tells you what’s important. Now, attention, time, and effort will be aimed at these top goals. They will be done first. You are managing your resources according to the objectives of the project or company.
Use scheduling to sell and motivate employees. See that everyone has a schedule. Now that you have established priorities for your goals and decided what needs to be accomplished first, second and so on, the team can see the plan. Employees become far more enthusiastic about a plan when they understand it.
In the case of soldiers it is recognized that they become motivated when they know why they are fighting and what they hope to accomplish. This message unifies, focuses effort, and gets everyone pulling together.
Schedules have a motivating influence on most people. Be sure that your team members have a copy of your schedule, showing their names and times. Many people have a compulsion to take the specified steps at the given time, but this is really not necessary. All of tend to operate on schedule and our performance differs depending the time of the day. Everyone should know what he is expected to do and the time allocated to do it in.
Use time schedules to impress investors. They like to see that managers know what steps to take first and second. They like to see priorities, to know when things are going to happen and that time has been planned. Most investors have lost money where the job never got done due to improper scheduling. Show them the schedule and indicate when money is needed and when. Now the investor becomes more personally involved.
Know how to wait. There is a time to act and a time to avoid action. Smart timing can overcome many problems (even weakness or a major lack of resources). The sharp operator gets time working for him. He waits until the great stone wall is starting to crack then gives it a gentle push. Good timing however takes time, patience, discipline and self-control.
Here are some tips to make more effective use of your time.
- Everyone wants your time give this wisely especially your most productive hours.
- Begin with a list of things to do. Then give each item a priority like A, B or C.
- Be sure that A are high value or need long lead time.
- Mark the most important item with a star.
- Now dig in; do first thing first, one thing at a time
- Try to work on tough items in your best time.
- Don’t give into the temptation of doing easy things first.
- Remember that your greatest results come from your top priority items
- Feel free to reorder your priorities as needed.
- Don’t waste time traveling if a phone call will suffice.
- When you are delayed have other things to do.
- If a phone call gets too long say you have another call.
- If the phone interrupts you too often go to another phone
- Be good to yourself. If you do a tough job do an easy job next
- Plan for interruptions. This cuts stress
- Avoid irrelevant items. Don’t take on the world’s problems
- Make big use of a round file – toss junk quickly
- Route items and delegate – don’t overload
- Don’t let people dump items on you
- Beware of time thieves who chat.
- Try to start with a time limit on meetings and keep it
Here a practical time schedule plan form that should be part of the strategic business plan you give to employees or investors.
This may look very simple, but it has many advantages. Plans that win acceptance from employees, company officers, and investors usually have good time schedules.