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Time management

 Time management

Time management is...

Using your time effectively to live and work to your maximum potential.


How to manage your time better


1. Priorities and objectives


Time management

a) concentrate on the important things

Don’t get bogged down in unnecessary detail.


b) make a ‘to do’ list for the start of each day

Write down your objectives and activities (in two separate columns) for the day/week/month/year ahead

Mark each objective/activity A, B, or C, according to how important it is).


c) check how well you achieved your objectives 

 See how you can improve and whether or not you’re focusing on what’s important.


2. Live time management

Be ruthlessly self-disciplined and always conscious of wasting time.


3. Work smarter, not harder


a) use your time better (not necessarily work longer)

Work out the best way of doing something before you start.

 Time management

b) be proactive 

(i.e. take action when needed).


c) delegate, write concisely and listen attentively.


d) use your high efficiency times to do difficult or creative jobs 

Do easier jobs when you’re less productive.


Time management

4. Get organized

  • Clear your desk.
  • Be tidy (get rid of unnecessary books and paper).
  • Improve your filing and storage of information (use computers effectively).
  • Keep an appointments diary, plan the day ahead.
  • Multitask (e.g. ironing and watching the TV).



5. Don’t let other people waste your time


a) work during waiting and travelling time 

(on bus, train, or plane).


b) use meetings to your advantage 

(avoid unnecessary ones).

Time management


c) avoid interruptions 

Avoid e-mails and the telephone as much as you can.

Research shows that e-mail significantly distracts people from their work.


d) be assertive

Learn to say no and defend your right to uninterrupted time.



6. Be decisive

Time management

a) act immediately 

(after gathering all the relevant information and weighing up the pro’s and con’s of each possibility).


b) don’t procrastinate,

  • do things right first time.
  • stay calm.
  • do the most unpleasant tasks first (reducing worry time).


Key quotes explained


Time management

“Time is money”

- Benjamin Franklin (American inventor and politician, pictured right)

Wasted time is lost forever either to earn money and/or do something useful and worthwhile.

“Do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of”, Franklin also said.



Time management

“To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts”

- Henry David Thoreau (American philosopher, pictured right)

You must concentrate on what’s important.

In response to criticism that he spent a lot of time out of his office, Toyota’s boss once said: “We don’t make Toyota cars in my office!”



Time management

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life”

- Socrates (Greek philosopher, pictured right)

Busyness shouldn’t be your religion.

Quiet reflection is also vital to happy and successful life

Socrates said reflection makes you aware of the important things (people, not money) and your strengths and weaknesses.



Best books


Time management

C. Northcote Parkinson (pictured right) , Parkinson’s Law (1958)

Parkinson’s Law says: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion” i.e. people purposely waste time, so that they aren’t given another job to do!

Parkinson’s Law of Triviality emphasized the ineffectiveness of meetings: “The time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum involved”.



Gerald Hargreaves, Dorothy Morfett and Geraldine Bown, Making Time (1993)

They suggest the “4D rule” – drop it, delay it, delegate it or, if all else fails, do it!



Time management

Charles Handy (pictured right) , The Age of Unreason (1989)

We should value time not money i.e. find time for leisure and unpaid work (e.g. being a parent).


Time management

Gerry Robinson (pictured right) , I'll Show Them Who's Boss (2004)

Successful Irish businessman, Robinson, argues against long hours, because they lead to:

  • tiredness (destroying clear thinking and enthusiasm).
  • failure to delegate and meddling in others' work.
  • inventing things to do and badly thought out tasks.
  • immersion in detail and failure to see the big picture.
  • stress and depression.
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