Effective Time Management

In a Nutshell
        What a hectic time of the year!  Our calendars fill up with holiday celebrations ... and then there's the extra shopping or cooking that goes along with them ... not to mention the travel.  Taking a few vacation days might help, unless it means you start to fall behind at the office!  We really need effective time management to keep us sane in December.
        Effective time management doesn't mean doing more things or doing them more quickly.  Effective time management means getting more of the important work done in a day.  In fact, effective time management is even more important than efficient use of our time.  Of course, the best time managers are both effective and efficient..

In This Issue

Know What's Important
        To manage our time effectively, each of us has to have a clear picture of our personal principles and core values.  We need to invest the precious resource of our time in the things that are important to us.  That may sound self-centered, but it's only self-centered if all of our core values are self-centered.  Personally, one of my core values is being helpful to others.  Furthermore, I work for an organization that I really believe provides a valuable service to the community, so doing my job well serves more than just myself.  I'm sure many of you have similar core values.  Being helpful and being a "team player" are fantastic, but we want to avoid completely letting other people's demands schedule our time.
        One of the fundamental challenges in effective time management is remembering the difference between "urgent" and "important."  Urgency alone cannot make a task important.  It is the connection to our personal principles and business priorities that determines the importance of a task.

Schedule What's Important
        With a clear personal mission and objectives, time can be scheduled with a definite purpose in mind.  On a daily or weekly basis, making a "to do" list and scheduling time helps ensure that the important tasks will be completed.

There will be times when we simply can't get everything done.  Sometimes we have to say "no" or "not now" to other's requests.  But, by scheduling what's important first and then trying to get to the less important tasks in our remaining time, we increase the odds that we will accomplish what's really important.

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Know and Exploit Your Work Patterns
        Not every hour of our workday is equivalent in terms of our personal work patterns and the environments we work in.  There are times of the day when we are most productive, when we are most creative, and when we can be relatively free from the distractions of the world around us.  We should identify those times and schedule accordingly.

Quick and Dirty Time Savers

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Motivational Tips

About the Photo
        A clock repairer from Cumbria Clock Company works on one of the faces of the Manchester City hall clock as part of its annual service, November 22, 2002. The minute hand on the clock face had to be removed to carry out the work. (REUTERS/Ian Hodgson: e-mailed to me from Yahoo! News, www.news.yahoo.com.)

        Covey, S. R., Merrill, A. R., & Merrill, R. R.  (1994).  First things first.  New York: Simon & Schuster.
        Whetten, D. A., & Cameron, K. S.  (2002).  Developing management skills, (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

About the Newsletter and Subscriptions
        LeaderLetter is written by Dr. Scott Williams, Department of Management, Raj Soin College of Business, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio.  It is a supplement to my MBA 751 - Managing People in Organizations class.  It is intended to reinforce the course concepts and maintain communication among my former MBA 751 students, but anyone is welcome to subscribe.  In addition, subscribers are welcome to forward this newsletter to anyone who they believe would have an interest in it.  To subscribe, simply send an e-mail message to me requesting subscription.  Of course, subscriptions to the newsletter are free.  To unsubscribe, e-mail a reply indicating that you would like to unsubscribe.

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E-mail Your Comments
        Whether you are one of my former students or not, I invite you to share any insights or concerns you have regarding the topic of this newsletter or any other topic relating to management skills.  Please e-mail them to me.  Our interactions have been invaluable.  Every week, I learn something new from LeaderLetter subscribers!  Let's keep the conversation going.

A Good, Clean Joke

If they had been Three Wise Women instead of Three Wise Men, they would have asked directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole, and brought practical gifts.

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