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More Time Management Tactics

Delegation

Delegating is an important tactic, not only to help you with your workload, but also or developing staff, and creating an atmosphere of employee empowerment. The critical component of delegating is to make sure each employee knows his/her degree of autonomy and authority. If parties are not clear, MORE time is wasted through delegation. Below are some delegating options:

1. Subordinate has full authority to make a decision without consulting boss.
2. Subordinate makes decisions, but informs boss and anyone else involved, preventing any surprises or unexpected problems.
3. Subordinate recommends a final decision, which boss must approve.
4. Subordinate presents alternative solutions to boss, who makes the decision.
5. Subordinate presents relevant information from which boss narrows down feasible alternatives. Boss then makes final decision after consulting with subordinate.

Using Talent

Organisational talent is the sum of skills and abilities available in your work unit. Effective use of organisational talent can save time and reduce frustration, while mis-use results in the opposite. Here are some tips.

1. Identify your own strengths and weaknesses. Try to be as objective as possible. When you undertake tasks in areas where your skills are not highly developed, you spend MORE time than would a person with more developed skills. By recognising your own lack of expertise, you can avoid spending time unnecessarily.

If you aren't good at something, consider finding someone who IS good at it.

2. Certain tasks cannot be done efficiently by only partially trained or educated personnel. For example graphic design work (design of brochures, marketing material etc) can be done internally, but only at a significant cost in terms of time and quality. While technology may allow us to do things otherwise reserved for specialists, that doesn't mean we can do it well, or do it efficiently.

Unless you have other reasons for doing so, don't take on "specialist" type tasks when people outside your organisation may be able to do the task more efficiently.

3. Working with "specialists" outside your organisation can be time-consuming. Look to create a relationship with specialists so that they understand your needs. If you contract for service, don't always go for lowest price. Indicate that you are looking for a long-term relationship, and that you expect the specialist to save you time, not cost you time.

4. Where you have a recurring need that you would like to handle internally, invest in your staff. Provide proper and ongoing training so that the person can become very good at it, not just mediocre. Only the "very good" will work efficiently, and the mediocre need constant support, which is time consuming.

Handling Interruptions

Interruptions, be they on the phone or in person can be frustrating and time consuming. Apart from the time spend ON the interruption, it may take time after the interruption for you to regain your original level of concentration and focus. Some tips follow.

1. When scheduling meetings (ie., in your office), schedule them in blocks. Don't have one here and one there, but consolidate them, one after the other if possible. This will help keep each individual meeting to a reasonable and pre-defined length. Inform secretary or relevant people when each meeting will end and make it clear that you do not wish to be interrupted, and when you will be available.

2. If you are constantly bombarded by random phone calls and visits, set aside a time each day (quiet time, focus time) to work on specific projects. Make sure staff are aware that this time is sacrosanct and should not be intruded upon unless there is a dire emergency. Consider scheduling this time at the same time each day.

3. If you have a "gate-keeper" who deals with visitors and phone calls before they are handed to you, make sure that they know what people should be "gated" to you and which people will receive return calls/visits. You don't NEED to see or talk to people every time THEY want you. You can exert some control over the process.

4. Set aside particular times each day to return calls. If you have a secretary inform him/her when you will be returning calls so this information can be passed on to the caller.

Other Time Tips

1. Return calls when it is unlikely that the other party will want an extended conversation. Before lunch and towards the end of the work day may be good times. When calling, say: "I know you must be heading off to lunch, but I wanted to make sure I talked with you about..."

2. Schedule meetings with a distinct termination time. When scheduling indicate this termination time to the other person, and/or ask how long the person needs. Stick to the termination time, and people will catch-on that you are serious about it, and will modify their behaviour to fit the time constraint.

 

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