New Manager

Capsule: Time Management

| Updated on March 20, 2011 Published on March 20, 2011

Let each second count.



Actually, a better title for this edition of capsule would have been “my struggles with time management”, because I am essentially drawing lessons from those struggles. And as with all such lessons, I find it easier to preach them than to actually practice them!

As we keep hearing right through our lives, success is the exclusive privilege of those who manage their time better and failure is the inseparable companion of those who don't.

From my own observations, there are just a few lessons that we need to learn in this context.

The first lesson is one I have learnt from Peter Drucker's book The Effective Executive. He says that the biggest barrier to better time management is that we generally “don't know where the time goes”. His prescribed remedy is simple. Keep a diary that has half-hour slots. And keep writing down what we did in that slot. This habit would serve two purposes. First, it will tell us where our time is going. Second, and probably more important, it will make us more conscious of how time is slipping by unutilised. Looking at our diary and reading the slots that have ‘did nothing' /‘chatted with xyz' /‘sat through pointless tele-call' will hopefully shame us into doing more with our time.

The second lesson is that we need to understand ourselves better in terms of what time of day we tend to have maximum mental energy and when our minds are slower. For instance, my job profile includes some amount of work that requires some thinking effort such as writing proposals, questionnaires and interpreting data. It also includes project management elements such as following up from field vendors and updating clients on timelines. It also includes servicing elements such as sitting through meetings and taking client calls. And finally, administrative elements such as solving the UPS issue and banking work.

I have discovered that the morning hours are my best time for work that involves some thinking, and the afternoon hours are when I am pretty lethargic. So, I tend to write proposals in the morning and do follow-up activities and client meetings in the afternoons. Now, please remember that this works for me and for my job profile. Each of us has to work out what time planning suits us and our job requirements the best.



(Contributed by Ashok R. Sankethi, CEO, Kaybase, a business consulting firm. Mail: ashok@kaybase.com)

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Published on March 20, 2011

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