Managers must live in two time dimensions at once: the present and the future and this inevitably causes a conflict between focusing on the present demands of the day and creating space in which to plan strategically for the opportunities for tomorrow.How can managers improve their personal time management so that both these activities can be achieved effectively?

Managers need to manage their time effectively – it is difficult to save time and managers simply lose more and more of it as days, weeks, months and years progress. They often find that by the end of the day, no more hours are remaining for doing any work.

Managers must budget their time so that they can perform their daily tasks and have time for future strategic plans.

Potential ways of wasting time:
• Chatting too much on personal matters not related to work.
• Long group or committee meetings.

• Too many interruptions during working time.
• Disorganization as a result of poor management.
• Very little delegation.
• Indecisiveness.
• Lateness and absence.
Ways to improve personal time management
• Daily goals – know what you want to accomplish each day. Prioritize and tackle the most important goal first.
• Deadlines – set specific deadlines with time targets to achieve these tasks. Deadlines should be realistic and achievable.
• Taking notes – use a notebook or diary all the time. Keep a record of meetings and discussions as well as appointments, things to do and contacts of the people you deal with.
• Use telephone – this should be the main communication link as it is quick for solving problems and is a two-way communication method.
• Self-motivation – this will help managers accomplish tasks within a specified period.
• Action-oriented – be action oriented. If you plan to do something, do it.
• Work plan – plan work in detail for today and tomorrow. At the end of each day examine ways in which time has been wasted.
• Managerial questions such as what to delegate or what priorities there are in decision- making process will help a manager find more efficient ways of attaining goals and objectives.
• Avoid doing everything – do the most important things that lead to significant results. Delegate where possible. A manager is a busy entrepreneur.
• Reflective thinking – acquire this area of learning from one’s past experience, present and potential future activities.
• Review and evaluate your experience – a review of past experiences will determine which ones were interesting and productive, this will help in choice of future activities.
• Working in blocks of time – work undisturbed for a give block of time when you feel most effective.

Managers must consider time as their major asset and invest wisely in managing their personal time. They must concentrate on what is important, recognize time constraints, minimize disruptions and get information quickly. All these will serve to create time to perform all their managerial tasks effectively.

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