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Eight ways to cure the time management problem

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We all know that poor time management is important. But if we really accounted for our time in the same way that we did every other cost we would probably be in for a shock.  According to research by global consulting firm Bain & Co and enterprise analytics company VoloMetrix, company executives receive 30,000 external communications a year compared with 1,000 in the 1970s.

The research revealed big productivity losses related to time management because businesses to not track and monitor employees’ time as closely as they track other resources, such as capital.

Do you record time spent as a cost against individual sales in your P&L or does it just fall into the salaries line in your overheads? Knowing how much time directly supports your sales is a critical performance measure. So if you already do this where does the rest of the time go?

The top eight time consumers according to the report are:

  • Muddled company agendas. Agendas should be clear for everyone in the company so that employees know which tasks are the top priority and the tasks that can be shelved.
  •  A time is free attitude. Time is clearly not free and should be managed as carefully as any other asset or resource.
  • Projects. Having the bright idea is the easy bit. But does the business case for the project really stand up when the time factor is costed properly.
  • Too many layers. The more organisational layers the more work is created in managing and communicating before the core tasks are carried out.
  • Anyone can call a meeting. The authority to call a meeting should be limited, as should the number of attendees.
  • Murky decision making. Decision making can be streamlined through the use of a standardised decision-making process.
  • Meeting time is free time. A clear agenda, advance preparation and attention to getting results on time can ensure maximum productivity at meetings.
  • Where did the time go? Time spent in meetings and on emails should be tracked and targeted to assess and improve productivity.

When we think of time management, it is not just out own time we should be worrying about.

Helen Alexander

Millbrook Financial Management Ltd

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