Are You Managing Your Time…Or Is It Managing You?

We’ve all heard the old saying, “time is money and money is time,” and this saying is even more important today to businesses and employees because of increased competition both domestically and globally.

If you want to improve your professional competitive edge, identify those areas that may be “time wasters” and turn them into “time savers.”

Some time wasters have been identified below along with the ways they can impact you negatively and some tips on overcoming them.

Effects of Poorly Written Communications

  • Written messages that are confusing or vague and that may actually lead to costly mistakes for your organization.
  • Unhappy employees and customers or lost business opportunities.
  • Unnecessary or repetitive messages.
  • Improper use of written communications such as forwarding jokes or other inappropriate material.

Solutions to Improve Written Communications

  • Consider taking courses that can help improve your writing skills.
  • Attend company sponsored writing seminars.
  • Attend writing seminars sponsored by professional organizations.

Effects of Ineffective Verbal Communications

  • Receiving personal phone calls during business hours.
  • Not getting complete information from a caller such as name, phone number, and reason for call.

Solutions to Improve Verbal Communications

  • Limit or eliminate personal phone calls.
  • Repeat the caller’s information and get important details of the call.
  • Always provide the complete number for calls that must be transferred.

Effects of Improper Planning

  • Important details may be missed.
  • Important deadlines may not be met.
  • Key personnel or key elements may be mistakenly omitted.

Solutions to Help You Improve Planning

  • Use electronic calendar and planning tools to help you plan and anticipate your task completion.
  • Analyze and identify the “who, what, and when” of tasks to help you cover key elements for completing tasks.

Effects of Having a “Cluttered, Unorganized” Work Area

  • Important information may be lost or overlooked.
  • Precious time may be wasted because materials must be searched repeatedly for important data.
  • Requests from others for information may be delayed or not completed at all.

Solutions to Help You Streamline and Manage Your Work Area

  • Make good use of filing supplies and guides for hardcopy documents.
  • Use filenames that clearly distinguish your electronic files.
  • Make good use of electronic folders to keep your files in order logically and efficiently.
  • Develop a plan to archive important files.
  • Review your files on a planned periodic basis to see what needs to be kept current, what needs to be archived, and what needs to be deleted (destroyed).
  • Backup your electronic files on a regular, planned basis.
  • Simplify repetitive tasks.
  • Handle paper once.

Effects of Waiting Until the Last Minute

  • All tasks in a project may not be completed.
  • Because you are now rushed, the outcome quality may be poor.
  • Deadlines may be missed and business opportunities lost.
  • You may experience feelings of frustration and irritability.
  • These results may lead to tension and resentment among other coworkers, especially those who depend on your tasks in order to get their work completed.

Solutions to Help You Become A More Effective Planner

  • Use electronic planning and calendar tools to help you plan ahead. Tools such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Windows Calendar Live, or calendar apps on Smartphones can help you tremendously.
  • Follow through on your “to do” lists and enjoy the sense of completion when you can check off tasks as “done”!
  • Establish good exercise, nutrition, and sleep habits.

Incorrect or Insufficient Use of Technology Tools.

  • Low productivity results in more time required to complete tasks, which can equal lost revenue.
  • Not being competitive can equal lost business opportunities.
  • Errors in data and information may go undetected.

Solutions to Help You Master Technology and Become More Software Savvy

  • Consider taking classes that can help you learn certain software applications.
  • Consider getting certified in specific software applications such as Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.  Certification awards can also help you in your current position as well as with future employers.
  • Attend company workshops and seminars on software updates and features.
  • Incorporate mobile devices and their apps into your tasks wherever feasible.

For more information on the BOSS program and how it can help you with your career, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.