Time Management

How we use it is up to us

  • Time is inelastic – demand has no influence on supply
  • All we get is all there is – 60 minutes to the hour; 24 hours per day=1440 minutes to use each 24 hours – about 480 minutes per working day – how we use it is up to us
  • Time is a valuable resource
  • Time is irreplaceable – once it’s gone, it’s gone forever
  • At work, we’re here to achieve, not to do
  • Time is always ‘short’ in a service industry – catch up never happens
  • Time management is really self management
  • Time has a high cost – what is an hour of your time really worth?

Common Time Thieves


  • Interruptions (people, telephones)
  • Absent or inadequate systems
  • Distractions
  • Procrastination
  • Lack of planning – the 80/20 Pareto Principle*
  • Meetings
  • Inconsistent use of time management techniques

*The Pareto Principle – the general principle is that in any series of elements to be controlled, a selected small fraction in terms of numbers or elements almost always account for the large fraction in terms of effect. For example, 80% of turnover can be attributed to 20% of product lines; 80% of bad debts will come from 20% of customers; 80% of interruptions will come from 20% of our colleagues; we can often spend about 80% of our time on jobs that make about a 20% contribution towards our job objectives. It’s important to spend time on the things that really count. Start with the time available, and not the tasks. Tasks must fit the time in terms of importance.

Strategies for Success


  • Planning – know what you need to do and how to do it effectively
  • Prioritise – do the right thing versus doing things right
  • Commit – to using effective techniques – consistently
  • Focus on results/the outcomes required
  • Delegate effectively
  • Eliminate time thieves
  • Learn to multi-task – the art of doing several things at once
  • Develop effective systems – and use them
  • Be ruthless with your time – and gracious with people
  • Find ways to ‘save’ time – work quickly; prepare for tomorrow today; be unavailable to be available; chunk time to do tasks; apply conversation ending techniques; write replies on letters or memos; ask people for their recommendations; eliminate unnecessary meetings, discussions or procedures; handle pieces of paper only once.
  • Use to do lists
  • Stop procrastination
  • Be clear about what is important
  • Get a headset for the telephone; it releases your hands to do something else
  • Learn computer shortcuts; learn to type with all fingers
  • Use templates
  • Treat your email inbox like the top of your desk – keep clear of clutter
  • Use good equipment and storage facilities
  • Control your desk and drawers
  • File, don’t pile

Leave a Reply