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How to Plan your Time Effectively

How to plan your time effectively

Good Time Planning

Planning ahead (in writing) is one of the keys to personal effectiveness. You need to plan ahead.

Failure to plan ahead would force you into the position of acting without a plan, meaning; you would be making it up as you go along, which would mean that you are only responding to events rather than driving the events.
That means that you have lost the initiative. And sadly, the greatest losses are suffered by those who lose the initiative.

On the other hand, the greatest gains are made by those who seize the initiative.

Planning is the means by which you can seize the initiative

Planning is the means by which you think about the goal to be achieved and start to break that goal down into manageable chunks.

All goals are composed of subset tasks. And these subset tasks can, and should be, identified and planned out, in writing:
You need to plan every important event, in advance.

Good time managers plan ahead, Poor time managers don't.

Time management is the name we give to a wide range of skills that combine together and allow you to make the best progress in the minimum time. This wide range of time management skills includes the following list:

1. Concentration

Concentration is the act of focusing your mind and resources onto the thing at hand and making progress by dint of concentrated effort.
Concentration is to be contrasted to "being out of focus" and responding to whatever chance environmental stimulus just happens to occur.

If a rabbit appears in your line of sight, then you chase that rabbit.
If something good on TV pops up in your line of sight, then you sit and watch it.

Your mental efforts are diffused and nothing of value gets done.

2. Goal focus

Goal focus is concentration on the goal. It means that you concentrate only on the most valuable use of your time: As opposed to concentrating on things that don't count for much.

Sadly, there are many people who spend major time and effort on things that don't count for much. (For example, there are many people who spend major time watching and thinking about football). As a result of thinking too much about football, they spend less time thinking about the things that would count for a lot, (For example, they spend less time thinking about their plans for their future prosperity).

Many people spend major time on things that don't count for much and not enough time on things that would count for a lot.

Last year, Jon spent 552 hrs. watching TV.

And he spent only 5 hours 52 minutes reading informative books.

Both Informative books and TV are fine.

But Jon has his ratios the wrong way round.

  • He spent too much time watching TV.
  • And he spent not enough time reading informative books.

Jon spent major time on things that don't count for much: And not enough time on things that would count for a lot.

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Most people feel they need help with time management. How can you get more done in the same amount of time? How can you stop other people wasting your time? If you want to know how, then click here to find out more about our time management training course.

3. Prioritisation

Not everything can be done at once. So things have to be done in a certain order, or sequence. Prioritisation is the act of figuring out;

  • What things are the most important and
  • In what sequence should they be done?

It is important to do the right things in the right order.

  • If you do the wrong things, then you'll lose.
  • If you do the right things in the wrong order, then you'll still lose.

You need to do the right things in the right order.

4. Delegation

You are a limited resource facing an unlimited demand.

You don't have time to do everything that needs to be done.

So you must learn to delegate some tasks to other people.

  • Delegate in order to free yourself up for more valuable tasks.
  • Delegate in order to train your colleagues.
  • Delegate in order to balance the load across the whole team.
  • Delegate in order to give the job to the person best able to do the job.

Delegate as much work as you can, to the right person, for the right reasons.

Time management and attendance

Time is the ultimate resource. We cannot afford to waste time.

Time management and accurate time keeping is the essence of productivity.

Poor time keeping and non-attendance is the essence of poor productivity.

To what degree are you efficient in your use of time and to what degree are you absent from your post?

Time management and Tidiness

We cannot afford to be in a state of disorder; untidiness; chaotic system.

Instead, we need order, tidiness, system and a more disciplined approach.

  • Untidiness is inefficient; dangerous, and it makes us look bad.
  • Tidiness is more efficient, safer and it makes us look and feel good.

We must rid ourselves of our current culture and institute a culture of greater order and tidiness.

Be tidy

Don't put things down randomly and then, later, try to remember where you put it. Instead, put things in their proper place.

"Everything has a place and everything is in its place".

Here is a list of excuses given by people to justify their untidiness

Question: Which of these excuses, if any, do you use, to justify being too untidy?

  1. It is my personal style: Some people work better in a state of disarray and disorder. My brain doesn't think in straight lines. I am a creative genius that has his own system of creative chaos.
  2. Why should I? Tidying up is not my job.
  3. "I'll put it back later, when I'm not so busy." (Yeah. Sure you will!)
  4. If you insist on tidiness, it makes you a "boring person". Too rigid. I don't want to feel too boxed in and regimented. I like to feel loose, free and live according to my own rules, man.
  5. I have never given the issue of tidiness, any thought.

Here is the rule

Immediately after use, put it back where you will expect to find it next time you need it.

Too much time is wasted in looking for things that are not in the right place.

Tidiness leads to good order.

  • Good order leads to efficient action.
  • Efficient action leads to good business.
  • Good business leads to profits.
  • Therefore, good order leads to profits.

Be as tidy as you can be.

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About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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Further Reading in Time Management

  • How To Prioritise Tasks Effectively
    Discover how to prioritise effectively and improve your time management skills with our helpful guide. Find out more about our training courses online today.
    Read Article >
  • The 80/20 Rule - Pareto Principle - Explained
    The 80/20 Pareto rule originally stated that 80% (or more), of the wealth in any economy is owned by 20% (or less) of the population. Find out how to use this formula at work.
    Read Article >
  • Time Management Skills: Planning Ahead
    Planning ahead is the best way to improve your time management skills. Planning ahead is the best way to maximise your personal effectiveness. Planning ahead will allow you to make more progress, in less time and effort.
    Read Article >
  • What is the Pomodoro Technique?
    The Pomodoro Technique is a time management technique; the purpose of which is to increase work efficiency, maximise concentration and minimize mental fatigue.
    Read Article >
  • How do you judge what is "important"?
    We all agree that we should do the most important things first. But what we cannot agree upon is: HOW to determine what are the “most important things”.
    Read Article >

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