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Managing Your Time Well

Paul J. Meyer

Your success as an effective team leader or team member requires a wide range of skills, but one of the most important is how you manage your time. Knowledge of the work itself, skills in interpersonal relationships, and the development of creative and useful ideas are essential to your success.

It is time management that determines the efficiency and the effectiveness you achieve in each of these important areas. The effectiveness of the activities in each hour of the day - not the number of hours you work - determines the results you and your organization accomplish.

Effective time management can give structure to your day. Several time-management methods have proven effective in all types of organizations and at every level. Use these three important methods to manage your time:

Set priorities based on high-payoff activities. The most successful people are those who carefully identify their priorities and use them as a basis for making decisions, preventing problems, facing and resolving challenges, and planning the day's activities.

Work every day from a written plan based on your priorities and goals. Use a calendar system that works best for you. Make a list of all items of work you must complete during the day to meet a deadline or to prevent some serious consequence. These are your "Imperative" items. Next, write down all of the work you could do today, but could finish any time in the next two or three days without causing serious problems.

These are your "Important" items. Then, within both categories, assign each item a priority. Tackle your high-priority items on your "Imperative" list first. As each item is completed, go to the next. When all "Imperative" items are completed, move to the "Important" items.

Set challenging, but reasonable target dates for every project. Recognize and respect the value of deadlines and target dates. There is a saying that work expands to fill the time available. Without deadlines and target dates, your work may be stretched out over too much time. Deadlines push you to move forward.

Improved time management offers one of the quickest, easiest, and most effective strategies for improving productivity and increasing results.

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