A Case for Time Logs

Time logs: a true pain in the rear. If, however, you are looking to improve your performance and success, they are necessary. If you don’t have a sample, email me and I’ll send you the format I use. Marsha@MarshaPetrieSue.com

If you think your time management is ‘spot on’, think again. Right now, write down everything you did yesterday.  Really, I mean everything. I guarantee you will not capture every activity, call, text, conversation, meeting, break, lunch or interruption you had.  You do way too much to capture every minute of time.

Here is a note from a client I am working with:

Marsha and Todd’s conversation:

Todd: Per your request last week, I have kept a Daily Activity Log for the past three days, unfortunately there are some gaps.  If I didn’t write down what I was doing immediately, I had a hard time accounting for what I was doing during that time, especially if I tried to remember the next day.  After reviewing the logs this morning and determining what I can do to be more efficient with my time, I came to the following conclusions:

  • Time-ManagementAttempt to start meetings on time and keep them to their scheduled allotment;
  • Utilize time in the car to catch up on phone calls
  • When waiting for meetings with clients or employees, utilize mobile device to complete emails
  • Plan what I want to get completed for the day at the conclusion of the previous day
  • Schedule appointment time for myself, to make sure I have time to complete the tasks I have planned
  • Utilize my weekly rounding schedule to ensure that I am visiting all of my facilities on a regular consistent basis

So many talk about being too busy or plates being too full.  Challenge them, or better yet, challenge yourself! You do not have to share these findings with anyone. Complete five days worth of ‘work.’ Typically this is enough information to give you a bird’s eye view of your time.

Here are Ten Time Management tips:

  1. Ask yourself several times a day: Is this the best use of my time right now? If it isn’t, redirect what you are doing.
  2. When your ‘To Do’ list is overwhelming play a game with yourself. Pretend you are leaving for a long period of time (I use a week) and ask yourself: If I had time to do just one thing on my to do list, which one would I do? Give yourself 30 minutes of uninterrupted time to complete the task. Then read through your list again. An overwhelmed mind will not make a decision on what to do.
  3. Evaluate your five-day time log. Determine how you could bundle or time block activities like phone calls, email, training, etc.  Remember that every time you shift gears to a new activity, you lose approximately 6 – 8 minutes because it takes that long to get your concentration to a point of execution.
  4. Hard copy or on-line appointment books and/or calendars work.  And don’t forget to block time for yourself. Use the ‘alert’ feature. Get training if you need it!
  5. It’s rude to be late. Period. Set ground rules for yourself and others about being on time.
  6. Leave 20% of your day for the unexpected.  Your time log will allow you to customize this percentage.  It may be 10% but it is probably 30% + of your day that is eaten up by the emergencies and putting out fires.
  7. Review emergencies and dissect them to see if more planning, communication, training, etc. will help prevent them, or at least reduce the time you spend on the crazy train for the future.
  8. Review your plan for tomorrow just prior to going to bed.  Your brain is powerful and will begin to detail out your actions for the ‘To Do’s’ on your list. Then take 5 – 10 minutes at the beginning of your day to quickly review your list again.
  9. Before you call or go to a meeting, take a few minutes to determine the results you want from the interaction. What do you want them to do, think or feel?
  10. Put up a “Do not disturb” sign when you absolutely have to get work done. But keep it up for no more that 30 minutes. Make a ground rule of what constitutes an interruption to that sign (i.e. Something is on fire or dying.) Put your phone, email, texting, etc. on silent or DND (do not disturb).

“I am definitely going to take a course on time management… just as soon as I can work it into my schedule.” ~Anonymous

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” ~Harvey MacKay

Thanks! Marsha

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