Time management in practice

The notion of effective management of time, along with courses related to it, has been growing in popularity for the past few years. Nowadays, large corporations and small businesses alike often reach out for this tool.

To put it simply, time management can be a useful tool not only for all kinds of business activity, but also for individuals who would like to introduce some order into their everyday plan. In this article, we present what is time management all about and describe how to apply its rules in practice.

What is it all about?

Most people who deal with business have the impression that managing time makes it possible to combine, in a few easy steps, the ever increasing job demands with private and social matters. Is this really possible? Specialists in the field of time management say – yes, definitely!

It is not an overstatement to say that, in the world of business, there is a widespread trend related to acquiring and developing the skill of time management. Companies assign their employees, in huge numbers, to courses that aim at making them experts in this field. The skill of making effective use of time at work is
highly valued in any company, regardless of its size or business profile.

Mistakes in managing our own time

Many experts in the field of time management claim that most Polish people have no idea what effective time management means, not only at work, but also in private life. Lack of a schedule of our work makes us do our tasks chaotically; we focus only on those assignments which have a very close deadline. The complex and time-consuming projects are put aside despite the fact that they will have to be finished eventually. The problem is that we might not find the time to complete them later on.

When a statistical Polish person goes to work on Monday, he is not aware of what matters lie before him. Therefore, he begins his day by drinking a cup of coffee and by gossiping with his coworkers. Then comes the time to check the news on the Internet after which he logs on to at least a few online community portals. This is how significant losses in time appear. We would manage it much more effectively if we had a clear plan of action that would include time references to all our important matters.

When an employee finally focuses solely on his work, it turns out that there is not enough time left to finish it. In consequence, first delays begin to appear. The fact that supervisors provide new tasks to complete every day does not help the situation, and an employee becomes overburdened with work. In order to complete all objectives, he has to stay overtime at the cost of his family life and hobbies. He is exhausted, ineffective at his work, and, generally, does not have the strength to do anything. Such a situation would probably never occur if one had a plan for every day of the week and followed it diligently.

All this might result in job burnout, neurosis, a constant feeling of stress, and heart diseases; stomach ulcers begin to appear, along with stomachaches and headaches. In such a situation, loss of motivation is something obvious and, moreover, impossible to prevent. The only way to stop that from happening is to introduce some time management tools into our company.

Learning how to make effective use of time

During courses and training programs devoted to time management, one can learn how to cope with an abundance of tasks, how to assign priorities to particular assignments, and how to complete those assignments with reference to a previously prepared schedule. Instructors, who are specialists in the field, teach how to effectively manage our time. Such trainings are very popular among higher-ranked staff members of the managing department, but not exclusively. Freelance workers and representatives of low-rank company positions also take up such courses. The truth is that every one of us would benefit from such training programs.

Most Polish companies experience problems when it comes to the management of time. There are more tasks to complete than there are people ready to do the job. This results in overall chaos. Employers do not know how to treat employees’ time with respect, and workers do not know how to make effective use of time. If an employee works for more than 12-14 hours a day, there is a great need for some changes. An employee must not be overworked. A person who works for so many hours every day is not an effective worker anyway. He does not have motivation because no matter how well and effective he does his work it is always not enough to completely fulfill the demands of his superiors.

Time as capital

There is no doubt that time is a very precious capital to every company, however, it is often used ineffectively. It is difficult to find people with the ability to create a good everyday plan and with the skill to assign tasks in such a way that would turn time from an enemy of employees into their ally. That is why training programs aiming at time management prove to be invaluable. They teach how to treat time with respect and how to use it as effectively as possible with the aim to maximize positive results of our work.

The contemporary conditions surrounding the world of business force employers and their employees to work even faster and more effectively. Everyone must have the ability to take up tasks related to his or her job even during free time in order to satisfy the demands of an employer or the conditions of the market as such. This is a very negative phenomenon of course. Free time should be devoted to family and personal pleasures. We must not live in constant stress, with the thought that our employer might call us anytime and assign tasks for which we will not have the necessary time, not to mention motivation.

If we start treating time as capital and learn the secrets of time management, after some time, we will surely gain absolute control of our life and job.

Time management – the new ideology

Ideology – this is how we can treat the courses and concepts that are related to managing time. Time management is not just a novelty in the world of business; it can be regarded as a complex philosophical system, or, sometimes, even as a religion that gains more and more followers.

The truth is that there are a few simple habits, that are easy to learn, and can help us manage our time as effectively as possible. However, it has to be stated at this point that some help from a person who already acquired these habits will be necessary. Every specialist in the field of time management can be considered as such a person. Here, we have to assume that a given instructor has the appropriate competences, skills, and knowledge to help us successfully.

A few tips on how to manage time in practice

The rules of time management seem to be very simple at first glance, and indeed they are, however, the difficult thing is to skillfully and successfully apply them in life – and that is not easy. Specialists in the field of managing sometimes recommend to, first of all, make a priority ranking of all the tasks that lie before us. The most important and complicated ones should be dealt with at the beginning of a day. Every time, at start, we should try to complete the projects which are most important to our company and ourselves. We should leave the tasks which are easiest to complete for the end of the day at work. Thanks to such an approach, we eliminate everyday stress associated with difficult tasks that need to be finished.

Another method of managing time is to write down on a piece of paper the names of all the tasks that we are to accomplish a given day. We can also use one of the many modern computer applications which are specifically designed to help us with this list. During the course of our work, some new actions that should find their place in our schedule will undoubtedly appear. We increase the chances of completing our tasks if we write them all down, and we eliminate the possibility of forgetting something important. It is best to create a list of tasks for the whole week and then only add things that occur as time passes. This will be enough to increase the effectiveness of using time. Task listing is an integral part of time management.

Managing time does not mean filling up every moment with some tasks. We have to plan our work in such a way as to complete it as best as possible, but at the same time we have to leave some room for relaxation so that we can regenerate our strength.

Another method that is presented during time management courses is the division of tasks into important/unimportant and urgent/non-urgent. The ones which receive the urgent and important labels have to be completed immediately. We can deal with others if we find some spare time later on.

The need to accomplish the most important tasks at the very beginning is emphasized by many other rules that define the skill of time management.

Skillful time management yields great results as it increases the effectiveness of every employee. What is more, this ability is beneficial not only to a company, but also to employees themselves because, all of a sudden, they find more time to do what they want. A person can focus on his favorite hobbies or play with his children. However, it has to be stated that time management has some limits that are the result of the surrounding environment. As employees of large enterprises, the implementation of our own optimal system of managing time might be of no good to us if our surroundings inhibit our efforts to accomplish the assigned tasks. Contractors might come late to business meetings, emails from our clients might appear in our virtual mailboxes with significant delays, and our workmates along with our superiors might unexpectedly flood us with new tasks about which we did not know before. It all comes down to two options: either the whole company tries to follow the tenets of effective time management, or every employee continues to suffer from time losses.