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Manage Your Time So Others Will Manage Theirs

As a Manager, Model Good Time Management and Others Will Follow Your Example.

By Steve Schumacher

Each week, a typical worker receives more than 500 emails, 200 phone calls, participates in more than 20 meetings and conference calls, and reads and responds to endless posts on social media.

If that sounds like you, you must take control of the situation. Managing your personal productivity is perhaps the single most important skill you must have. Not only will it help you take control of your work and your personal life, others will follow your lead.

For 10 years, Dr. Helke Bruch and Dr. Sumantra Ghoshal studied the behavior of busy managers in nearly a dozen large companies. Their findings on managerial behavior showed that “fully 90 percent of managers squander their time in all sorts of ineffective activities.

In other words, a mere 10 percent of managers spend their time in a committed, purposeful and reflective manner.” The problem is that we allow too many interruptions and distractions to hijack our valuable time, leaving us with less time to devote to the things that are truly important.

When it comes to time management, in the final analysis, it is your decisions, not your circumstances that will determine how successfully you manage your time in order to achieve your most valuable goals.

Here are proven time-management tips and tools to help you make decisions regarding the use of your time that will lead to more effective, efficient results in all areas of life:

  • Focus on work and personal goals.

Too often, people in business do a great job of setting goals for their work life and neglect the personal goals they want to achieve.

To be a whole person, and to be fair to your family, make sure you think about things you want to do in BOTH business and personal arenas. If you neglect either one, you will feel a lot of stress which will further hamper your productivity.

  • Set annual goals.

Sit down once a year somewhere quiet and think about what you want to accomplish over the next 12 months. Be specific. Instead of saying “I want to lose weight” or “I need to set up training for my employees,” say “I am going to lose 25 pounds by the end of the year” and “I will arrange safety training once a month for all employees.”

Write your goals down, or keep them electronically where you can see them regularly. Hold yourself accountable to deadlines. TBD and ASAP are NOT deadlines. Prioritize all of your goals. Use the ABC method. A’s MUST be done, B’s should be done, and C’s should be dumped or delegated.

  • Adjust your goals quarterly.

Take time out every three months and review your personal and business goals. Are you on track? Have things changed that force you to adjust your goals?

Things change at light-speed these days, so do not hesitate to adjust your goals on a regular basis. Be realistic with what you want to accomplish. Make the adjustments and move forward.

  • Set weekly and daily goals.

Once a week, take some quiet time and write out what you want to accomplish during the coming week. Again, be specific.

Each morning, take 15 minutes and look at your schedule for the day and what you want to achieve. Check things off as you go. Yes, we all have bosses and they sometimes give us tasks that are outside of our plans. Don’t worry about it, do what the boss asks and adjust accordingly. Plan your work and work your plan.

  • Stop multi-tasking.

Studies abound that tell us that multi-tasking does not work. We feel like we are being more productive, but actually we are being less productive trying to do too many things at once.

The overall quality of our work suffers and your stress level increases. Focus on one task at a time.

  • Learn to say no.

Become more assertive with requests from others. Be polite, but stand up for your rights with others. You can be assertive, yet not aggressive, by saying “I understand you want me to do this for you, my situation is that I need to focus on this other task.” Learn to delegate more. It will free your time and develop the skills of others.

  • Aim for an empty inbox.

Learn to file your email so you can get to whatever you need quickly. Trash junk mail and remove yourself from unnecessary mailing lists.

Block out time during the day to respond to email, instead of doing it throughout the day.

  • “What is the BEST use of my time right now?”

Ask yourself that question throughout the day. Especially when you have a firehose of things coming at you all at once. It will help you focus on your priorities and sift through all the less important items.

Finally, don’t procrastinate.


Steve Schumacher is a management consultant, trainer and public speaker with more than 25 years of experience in numerous industries throughout North America, including aggregates operations. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..