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Effective Methods for managing Work Time and Project Priorities

Effective Methods for managing Work Time and Project Priorities

“Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done.” - Peter Drucker

Everyone struggles with time management and can benefit from planning their time better. Several studies show that employees can free up 20 percent of their week simply by exercising more discipline in how they manage time. 

Good time management is the basis of personal and professional success. Being a master of time (or, to put it another way, being a good time manager) is key to increasing efficiency and productivity.

In this guide, we'll present the best approaches for time and priority management and show you practical methods that will help you on your way to growth.

Advanced strategies and useful tips on time management

Providing a business-oriented description, time management consists of a systematic structuring, based on time allocation priorities and distribution according to demands.

It all translates into a set of strategies aimed at conducting straightforward activities, projects, and goals within a specific time frame.

Clearly, it involves a series of work activities, which are the pillars of this discipline:

  • Planning
  • Goal definition
  • Setting deadlines
  • Management delegation
  • Time allocation
  • Backward monitoring

By acquiring time management principles, you will be able to master the flow.

Why it is important to manage time

In its most philosophical logic, time is seen as a stream, as something that flows inexorably. This does not mean that it cannot be controlled and managed effectively by learning to work by priorities.

There are dozens of resources and exercises on time management, but to acquire the principles, you need to comprehend why it is so important to manage it and what benefits you could access.

Talking about time management in your job, but also in your personal life, is essential because:

  • You can achieve more by trying less
  • Time is the scarcest resource there is
  • Improve your decision-making skills

Time management process: strategies and exercises

We said that time management involves a series of well-defined steps with the purpose of making you more productive.

Let's look together at the process for better time management, talking about strategies and tools.

Planning

The first step in not getting overwhelmed by the tide involves meticulous planning. If you do not plan your projects in detail, it will be impossible to have complete control over them.

The first tool you need is a time planner, something that allows you to organize your professional life in detail.

Choose a planning tool that will enable your team to keep track of all the tasks it needs to accomplish and its deadlines.

SMART goal list setting

A company without goals would find itself in a situation similar to a ship without a captain. 

Goals can be daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly. The key thing is that they are SMART. 

The acronym SMART indicates that the goals must be:

S = Specific

M = Measurable

A = Achievable

R = Realistic

T = Time-Based

Setting deadlines

After creating a task list, the next step is to prioritize. A good strategy you might experiment with is the 4Ds:

  • Delete: can that activity be stopped? What are the consequences of not doing the task at all? Always remember the Pareto principle where 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. By this, we mean to tell that the key to maximizing efficiency lies in prioritizing the activities that contribute most of your gains
  • Delegate: is there someone else who can perform that activity for you? If so, delegate it and maximize your available time;
  • Delay: some activities can be done later but within certain parameters. Always set deadlines and postpone what can be postponed, but without falling into the trap of procrastination;
  • Do: there are things that must be done immediately and have top priority. Postponing these activities could introduce you to a spiral of anxiety and stress.

Management delegation & Time allocation

Prioritizing and delegating are critical in a project. Analyze all the tasks on your lists and determine those that you absolutely must complete and those that you can eliminate, delegate, or postpone.

A good approach for organizing your checklist is the ABC method, as defined by Alan Lakein. In his system, "A" items are the most important ("A-1, A-2,..." the most important of the group), then "B" and finally "C."

Backward monitoring

You cannot talk about time management without talking about the analysis of results. You will have to learn to keep track of everything, check your progress, and practice consistently to acquire an effective method.

Conclusion

For virtuous time management in your organization, you will need to rely on decision-making and measurement.

Identifying potential risks before launching a project, moreover, can lead to a significant reduction in wasted time and resources.

Time management methodologies are crucial in this regard, but it is necessary to also have tools that support all the complexities of a project.

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