Summary of more effective meetings – Time Management

Here’s the summary:

  • Consider if a meeting is really necessary or could you handle matters in another way: by e-mail, fax, telephone conference, memo, or by an informal discussion.
  • If the meeting is necessary, plan it with care.
  • Invite those persons whose presence will assist in achieving the goals of the meeting: those who need information, those who will present information and those who have sufficient authority to make decisions.
  • Draw up an agenda for the meeting and send it to all participants in good time.
  • Set the objectives for the meeting: What should be discussed, what should be decided and what is the aim.
  • Keep to the timetable you have agreed to beforehand. Observe the agreed starting and finishing times for the meeting. Remember to keep to the agreed breaks.
  • Participants should come to the meeting prepared.
  • At the end of the meeting, make a summary of the decisions that have been taken, the measures that has to be taken in the future, the timetable and sectors of responsibility.
  • Bear in mind! Holding meetings is expensive. You can try to calculate the cost on the basis of minutes per participant, in relation to their salary.
  • Always record the issues that were handled at the meeting together with the decisions made.
  • Meetings are necessary – but are they always effective?
Kategoria(t): Time Management | Kommentoi

Meeting Practice – Time Management

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Shorten the duration of your meetings if you want to make the procedure more effective. Consider if a meeting is really necessary or could you handle matters in another way: e-mail, fax, telephone conference, memo or handling the issue by means of an informal discussion. Regular meetings should be questioned; is the meeting really necessary or could the frequency of these meetings be reviewed.

A meeting should always be well prepared. Set the objectives for the meeting: What will be introduced, what should be decided and what is the aim. Make sure that the right people are present: Those who have the information, those who will present, and those who have sufficient authority to decide. Prepare a meeting agenda in advance that clearly describes the items to be handled. Information relating to the issues to be handled should be enclosed with the agenda and the participants should be clearly informed of what is expected of them at the meeting. Don’t try to handle too many issues during one meeting. The recommended number of issues for a three-hour meeting is five.

Send the participants an invitation to the meeting in good time and make clear the starting and finishing times, together with the practical arrangements (place, possible transport, opportunities for parking and so on) Time the meeting so that the rest of the working day can be used effectively. The meeting could, for example, finish for lunch, at the end of the working day, or the start of the weekend. Remember to reserve time for breaks. Aim at avoiding unnecessary interruptions during the meeting and request the participants to switch their mobile phones off for the duration of the meeting. You could use a standard checklist intended for planning meetings in order to ensure that the facilities you reserve for the meeting are appropriate and are equipped with the necessary meeting aids. Those who are participating in the meeting and the appointed chairman are responsible for ensuring that the agenda is followed, and that the timetable and breaks are kept to as agreed. Someone can be chosen as ‘time-watchdog’ , whose role is to make sure that the breaks are taken in accordance with what has been agreed beforehand. Many people have to participate in countless meetings in connection with their work. They admit that meetings have become one of the biggest time-stealers. Meetings where the arrangements and organization do not work properly, come in for a lot of criticism. In all organizations many meetings are held that take an enormous amount of time. Issues should be handled in order of the most important down, so that the set objective can be achieved within the time agreed. Aim to handle issues that are related to each other consecutively. Aim to reserve a time limit for each issue handled. In well-managed meetings, on each item under discussion, a decision should be reached on what has to done, who is going to do it, and by what time. At the end of the meeting, make a summary of the decisions that have been taken and agree on what measures will be taken for the future.

And next from me? Yes, a summary on meetings.

Kategoria(t): Time Management | Kommentoi

Inneffective meetings – Time Management

Many people have to participate in countless meetings in connection with their work. People admit that meetings have become one of the biggest time-stealers. Meetings where the arrangements and organization of the meeting do not function properly come in for a lot of criticism.

The most common reasons for ineffective meetings:

  • No particular reason for holding the meeting
  • Objective of the meeting not clear
  • Wrong people in attendance
  • No agenda
  • Participants not prepared in advance
  • Meeting agenda not followed
  • Too many participants in attendance
  • Meeting late in starting
  • Meeting continues after the agreed time to finish
  • No summary of the meeting is made
  • No decisions are taken or if they are
  • No follow-up is made

Next, we’ll take a look at how to change meeting practices to improve this.

Kategoria(t): Time Management | Kommentoi

Summary of Interruptions/Time Stealers – Time Management

To help capture the essence of my last two posts, here’s a summary-list of time stealers.

  • Draw up a list of interruptions and make a plan how to eliminate those you consider unnecessary.
  • Recognizing the problem is 90 percent of the solution.
  • Interruptions are an intrinsic part of the working day. Social intercommunication at work is necessary. The question is just how much is necessary?
  • It’s not possible to eliminate all interruptions but they can be directed.
  • A degree of flexibility improves planning.
  • Don’t plan you timetable with no room to move but make allowances for unexpected interruptions. Aim to manage unforeseen events without getting nervous.
  • Substitute e-mail messaging for telephone calls and personal meetings whenever possible.
  • Aim to keep office ‘chit-chat’ in check. Stand up when someone comes into your office or when speaking on the phone. By standing up you will be better able to monitor the duration of the interruption to your work.
  • Value your own time – but also give value to the time and plans of others.
  • Keep your desk clean and tidy and organize an appropriate desktop filing system.
  • Learn to discard any unnecessary paperwork. Handle only one document at a time.

One of the biggest time stealers is meetings and since that is so common, next a post dedicated only on meetings.

Kategoria(t): Time Management | Kommentoi

Internal Interruptors / Time Stealers – Time Management

The greatest source of interruptions and time-stealers are  ourselves. We ourselves create the interruptions. Individual self-discipline can be developed to link doing things with the time to do them: ’Do it today’ plans for work. Bear in mind your sectors of responsibility for the order of importance for doing things. If you want to make your own work more effective, plan today, the things you have to look after tomorrow. Set yourself a time limit for the deadline when the tasks have to be completed. Planning helps if you have the tendency to do too much, or are always aiming at perfection in what you do. Agree beforehand with yourself/customer/colleague, exactly what the required standard of work should be for each particular task, what is the desired level of quality. Make different types of aids for yourself that can help you in your work, for example, methods for filing, templates for letters etc. An untidy desk is a sign of disorganization. Heaps of papers pile up on the desktop and you say: ‘I’ll go through those when I have the time.’ Trying to find the necessary documents takes far too much time. Create a desktop filing system or other arrangement for your correspondence and documents. Keep only the documents for one particular task on your desk at a time and put all the others out of the sight. ‘Out of sight – out of mind’ is an expression that applies very well in this case.

Here you some picture of tidy desks. Some might think that people around these desks do not work at all, but people behind these desks clean their desks every night and when asking why they answer: “We have so many simultaneous activities that it is almost impossible to keep the priority order unless we start every day from a clean desk. It helps us to make our intentions into action and to keep up our priority order in tack”

Notice how you can concentrate on the question at hand better and your use of time becomes more effective. All things change in time. You change too. If you wish to become more effective in your use of time approve of the changes you will have to make. Relate to this change of working as an opportunity, and not as a threat. You have to learn how to say ‘No’ if you want to become the master of your use of time. ‘No’ doesn’t mean that you should always say no. Plan your own use of time in such a way that you are able to focus on achieving your goals based on your sectors of responsibility. By concentrating on essential issues you will be able to refuse to do something by politely saying: ‘No’. Keeping to your own plan demands self-discipline. Sometimes it is necessary to say no to your hobbies, to your friends and even to your own family.

One of the biggest time stealers of today is modern technology. In earlier articles you have been given good tips how to keep you @mails in tack.

Kategoria(t): Time Management | Kommentoi

External Interruptors / Time Stealers – Time Management

No matter how well you plan your week and day, etc it happens that something interrupts your concentration. Let’s now go into some common interruptions.

However well you plan your own work there will always be interruptions. Working life involves social intercourse and interruptions are an intrinsic part of life on the job. People generally get irritated when they are interrupted as they wouldn’t like to break off from what they are doing and have to focus on something else. Changing your attitude to interruptions, in general, will help you in managing them better. Accept interruptions as just a part of the day’s work.

Then you won’t find them that frustrating; you can manage them better, and the interruptions will appear to be shorter. You can’t avoid all interruptions but the ones that occur can be directed. We have to learn to accept people’s unexpected behavior.  Make provision in your own plans for reserving a little time for the unexpected.

Will you be constantly interrupted – or will you permit yourself to be interrupted? Acknowledging the problem is said to be 90 per cent of the solution. Make a list of things that you regard as an interruption to your work. When you have done that, consider what measures you can take to eliminate the disturbances to your work that you can have an influence over. Decide on a deadline for when you will do something to avoid interruptions. Discuss with your colleagues at work about the most typical types of interruptions in your own department/company.

Interruptions can be divided in several ways, but in this connection let me divide them into internal and external interruptions. Let me first go into external interruptions or time stealers as they sometimes are called.

Many people today experience the telephone as the biggest time-stealer. Unexpected or prolonged calls upset the process of getting the work done. It’s not always necessary to answer the phone. Calls can be directed automatically to an answering machine, the company’s switchboard or a secretary. Reviewing messages and requests to call back can be done to suit your own timetable. If you wish to focus on a certain job without interruption, ask one of your colleagues if he could answer the calls for you. Return the favor when your ‘helper’ needs the same kind of assistance. The calls you make could be unnecessarily prolonged. Consider what the objective of making the call is beforehand. Even telephone calls can be planned beforehand. You can also plan your day in such a way that you look after calls at a certain time of the day. Social intercommunication in a working environment is essential. Colleagues drop in for a ‘chat’; how do you feel concerning what is a suitable level? We don’t always come to think whether our socializing with a colleague interferes with his work. It would be polite to ask if we are disturbing him before we begin to recount what happened last night or go through the events of the weekend. Value your own time, but also value the time of others. If you want to be the master of your time you need also to learn to say “NO”.

THE MOST USEFUL PERSON IN THE
WORLD OF TODAY IS HE / SHE WHO KNOWS
HOW TO GET ALONG WITH OTHER PEOPLE.
HUMAN RELATIONS REPRESENT THE MOST
IMPORTANT CROSSROAD IN LIFE.

A supervisor sees a subordinate and asks: ‘Are you here in the afternoon?’ Usually subordinates are at work when their supervisors ask. The afternoon commences at 12.01. After that the subordinate starts to wait for his supervisor to appear. It would be a much more effective use of time if the supervisor planned a meeting for a certain fixed time. For example: ‘I would like to go through our marketing plan and discuss our marketing campaign for next month. I think that we could clear this up in around 45 minutes. Are you here at 2 o’clock?’

Kategoria(t): Time Management | Kommentoi

The importance of planning – Time Management

I started this series  about Time management with some tips of importance of goals, individual as well as collective. In an organization the manager and the leader should make sure everybody knows what the whole organization is aiming at.

Now it is time to have a look at Time Management again,  In the last articles I’ve talked about planning.  Every once and a while, people tend to say that we cannot plan everything. And their first argument is that one cannot influence how his / hers time goes by. However I tend to say that:

Those, who use their time most inefficiently,
are the first to complain the shortness of time.

I tend to say:  “Use a little more time in planning and the implementation phase is shorter, quality is better and the number of mistakes is less.”

For repetition the SUMMARY OF PLANNING is:

  • Plan both the tasks that have to be done and the time necessary to do them.
  • Develop the planning process by answering the following questions:
    What are my objectives? How do I intend to reach them?
    What do I have to do in order to reach my objectives?
    How closely is my objective linked to my areas of responsibility?
    What is the order of priority for the tasks at hand?
    How much time do I need in order to carry out each task?
    In what time will I carry out each task?
    How flexible should I be in carrying out unexpected jobs that crop up?
    A degree of flexibility helps in planning.
  • Make a written plan for all your use of time. At the end of each phase, make a plan for the next phase.
  • Make a new way to plan on Friday what you have to do the following week.
  • Make a habit of planning the following day’s work before you leave for the day. Make sure that when you prepare a ‘Do-it-today’ list that it complies with your tasks, in order of importance.
  • Set yourself a time limit and aim to keep to it.
  • Don’t fill all the time available in your plan.
  • Make allowances for unexpected matters that may pop up.

And next we’ll take a look at how to use your time wisely amidst time stealers.

Kategoria(t): Time Management | Kommentoi

Plan What You Do, Manage Your Time – Time Management

Effective planning takes into consideration both the job/task and the time required to do it. You can put the following questions to yourself as an aid to planning:

1. Results: What is the objective on the whole? How do I intend to reach that objective? What are the various sectors of responsibility for the objective?

2. Tasks What do I have to do in order to reach my objective?

3. Areas of responsibility How closely is my task connected to my sector of responsibility?

4. Order of importance What is the right order of importance of the things I have to do that will enable me to carry out my task?

5. Use of time How much time do I need in order to carry out each task?

6. Timetable What time will I use to complete the task?

7. Flexibility How flexible should I be in carrying out unexpected tasks?

The first three questions focus on your areas of responsibility and the second three concern your use of time in planning. You will need to start a new practice for managing both groups.

Outline your current use of time. Draw up a plan to make your use of time more effective: calculate the time allocated to do the tasks set, and whilst you do it consider the use of time for planning. Be flexible, don’t ever plan any phase with no time to spare. Make allowances for unexpected matters that may crop up. Keep a list of tasks that do not have a specific time limit. If a meeting or a negotiation with a customer can be managed in a shorter time than you have reserved for it, you can use the time gained to take care of some of the items mentioned earlier. Remember to reserve some time for yourself as well.

Many people manage to make effective plans for using their time without realizing it. Day-to-day ‘Do it today’ – lists are a good place to start from. The next step forward in planning your use of time is to make a time-linked daily job list.

 

But you need different kinds of planning periods

You need: annual, monthly, weekly, and daily planning, as all phases will differ from each other to some extent.

An annual plan will be general in nature and will provide the guidelines, for example, the annual budget, training programme for the year, or marketing strategy, and so on.

The monthly plan is slightly more defined than the annual plan. It’s reviewed a month at a time and put under the magnifying glass, to check the things that have to be looked after during the following month. At the end of each month, plan the next month. The goal of the monthly plan is to realise the objectives for that particular month which should then lead to reaching the goals for the whole year.

The weekly plan is a liitle further defined. During this phase you take one week at a time, and again under the magnifying glass, define the tasks that have to be managed during the week. At the end of each week plan the programme for the following week. Draw up your plan in writing; recording first, all jobs and meetings that have been agreed on beforehand. Following that phase you should ask yourself how much time is still available and how will you use it. The goal of the weekly plan is to realise the objectives for that week which should then lead to achieving the goals for the whole month.

The daily plan, though, is the most important of all planning phases. This is the day where you can exert your influence. All the other planning phases will remain as an illusion if you can not keep to the plan you make for using this day. Don’t ever plan to fill your day completely; leave room for the unexpected matters that crop up and allow yourself some ‘flexible time’. During this time you could, for example, check the incoming post or make a summary of the previous meeting before going onto the next. Remember to reserve enough time for getting from one place to another.

I recommend that your time-linked plan should always be made in writing. It’s more than likely that you will be able to set course for the goals you have set for yourself if you have the plan written down in black and white. At the end of each phase make a plan for the next phase. Adopt a new way to plan the tasks for the following week before you leave work for the weekend. Make it a habit to plan the following day’s work before you leave work for the day.

MAKING DAILY PLANS

IS TURNING GOOD INTENTIONS

INTO ACTION

SUMMARY OF PLANNING

  • Plan both the tasks that have to be done and the time necessary to do them.
  • Develop the planning process by answering the following questions:
    What are my objectives? How do I intend to reach them?
    What do I have to do in order to reach my objectives?
    How closely is my objective linked to my areas of responsibility?
    What is the order of priority for the tasks at hand?
    How much time do I need in order to carry out each task?
    In what time will I carry out each task?
    How flexible should I be in carrying out unexpected jobs that crop up?
    A degree of flexibility helps in planning.
  • Make a written plan for all your use of time. At the end of each phase, make a plan for the next phase.
  • Make a new way to plan on Friday what you have to do the following week.
  • Make a habit of planning the following day’s work before you leave for the day. Make sure that when you prepare a ‘Do-it-today’ list that it complies with your tasks, in order of importance.
  • Set yourself a time limit and aim to keep to it.
  • Don’t  fill all the time available in your plan.
  • Make allowances for unexpected matters that may pop up.
Kategoria(t): Time Management | Kommentoi

Types of calendars – Time Management

Manual / hand-written calendar / paperback calendar

Most often people make entries in their calendars in ballpoint pen. These entries are then difficultto amend or remove and it also makes it difficult to wipe the entries out of mind. I recommend the following method to use your calendar

  • Develop your own symbols and characters so that you don’t have to fill the calendar with text.
  • Use a style of handwriting that is intelligible (even to you).
  • Among other entries such as meetings, business trips, and training events, include your your own plans.

 

Electronic calendars

The most commonly-used electronic calendars are Lotus Notes, Outlook, and First today also Google calendar. All electronic calendars have their own particular features but in general all function in the same way.

Personal time-management in an organization where there are many employees is never only just personal – it is collective. An electronic calendar is a very good device for improving collective time-management. It is, however, of no use at all if it’s not used by the whole organization.

Tips on the use of an electronic calendar.

  • Learn how to use your own electronic calendar
  • Develop your own codes / the organization’s common codes
  • Utilize color codes, if at all possible.
  • Also record in your electronic calendars your own codes or codes you have coordinated with others for your own plan.
  • By recording the times reserved in your plan for important tasks you can manage to realize your plan better and manage your time more effectively. Learn to politely say ‘No’. No matter whether your calendar is manual or electronic it cannot be regarded as an aid to planning if it remains simply as a book for reservations.

 

SUMMARY OF ORGANISATION OF TIME USE AND CALENDAR TECHNIQUES

  • Monitor what you do and analyze the time you use for it.
  • Record: what you do and when and why you are doing it.
  • Record in your calendar your own plans.
  • If the organization uses electronic calendars, set an example for how it can be used.

When using an electronic calendar:

  • Learn how to use your own electronic calendar.
  • Develop your own codes/ the common codes in use within the organization.
  • Utilize color codes where possible.
  • Record in your electronic calendars your own codes, or codes you have coordinated with others that are linked to your own plan.

When using a manual calendar:

  • Use a pencil.
  • Use characters and symbols to depict different events and operations.
  • Use handwriting or text that you can decipher.
  • In addition to recording meetings and negotiations, make a note of your own plans.

 

Next, let’s go into planning

‘Well planned is half done’ is a familiar expression. Even though we say this to ourselves, we don’t give a sufficient amount of time for planning. The reason often given for a lack of planning is there wasn’t enough time to plan. If you do not get as much things done as you would like to – turn to planning.

Kategoria(t): Time Management | Kommentoi

Organising and calendar techniques – Time Management

Do you really want to achieve better results? Do you know how you use your time? Most people think that they know how they use their time. Our own habits of how we work determine to a great extent our daily use of time. Those habits of ours prevent us from being effective. In order to achieve the better results you are aiming for, you will have to change your habits in how you use your time. Everything that we do during the day, even the smallest of tasks, are connected to time. In order to be able to improve the way you use your time, you have to understand where the time goes.

If you really want to develop your own use of time so that it is goal-focused, you will have to acknowledge how you use your time today. Make good use of your calenda. Monitor and record everything you do during the following two weeks (without feeling guilty). Write in your calendar everything you do inintervals of e.g. to 30 or 15 min. Don’t be at all critical of yourself in this phase. Allow your own definitions of your areas of responsibility to stand as they are. After two weeks, refer toyour definition of your sectors of responsibility and the A, B, C tasks, and compare if the tasks you have completed are connected to your responsibilities. If they are, all well and good, you have done the right things. If not, you have just two alternatives You have the wrong sectors of responsibility. or you have been doing something quite different ….?

Is your calendar only a appointment book or is it a tool for planning. If the calendar stays only as a appointment book a crucial element is missing – the planning par.  As a matter of fact it is not what kind of calendar you use – it is how you use it.

Next we’ll look at manual and electronic calendars.

Kategoria(t): Time Management | Kommentoi