Make the Most of Your Time

7 habits for effective time management

Managing members effectively requires the effective use of time. Here are a few time-saving tips to help in managing the hours, days, and months more effectively.

1. Break up responsibilities according to a few broad categories. Urgent tasks must be done immediately or very soon. These are usually easiest to address. Important tasks are worthwhile but donít have an immediate deadline. These tend to be put off if there is not a conscious effort to stay on top of them. Busy work is anything that is only marginally worth doing. These jobs provide reasonable excuses to postpone more difficult tasks while providing a false feeling of accomplishment. Understanding these distinctions makes it easier to set priorities.

2. Make a list of short- and long-term goals: specific things that can be attained through hard work, with specific steps toward achieving them. Pick the three or four most important goals and write them down where they can be seen frequently.

3. The best time-saving tip is always learning how and when to say "no." Itís impossible to protect priorities when constantly taking on new tasks that donít advance either short- or long-term goals. It is better to do a reasonable number of things well rather than a great number of things poorly.

4. Accept the fact that perfection is unattainable and that striving for it can be a great waste of time. Perfectionism absorbs too much time, causes too much stress, and turns reasonable tasks into studies in frustration.

5. Delegate. Leaders who try to do everything are not only wasting their valuable time, but also damaging their organization by not cultivating future leaders through sharing responsibility.

6. Beat the procrastination habit. There are a number of ways to overcome procrastination, such as learning how to make big tasks less intimidating by breaking them up and changing personal work practices in ways that help harness the best efforts for the most challenging jobs. Find a way to tackle procrastination and overcome the self-defeating behaviors that sustain it.

7. Donít be a slave to the telephone. While working, keep the number and length of calls to a minimum. Donít be embarrassed to put off callers to a later time thatís better for talking more in-depth. Let people know the best time for calling and when not to interrupt.

Reproduced for by permission of Scouter Douglas Moore - Nova Scotia