How Effective Are Your Time Management Skills?

Do you, as a business leader, take each day as it comes, work hard and hope that everything turns out all right and is achieved on time? Or, do you plan and do everything in your power to ensure everything does turn out right and is achieved on time? For today’s business leaders, forward planning and goal-setting are considered to be critical elements of effective time management. You wouldn’t think of creating a marketing strategy without putting a plan in place to help you steer towards achieving your end goal; so it is with all aspects of day-to-day business. From producing your business plan, to developing major projects, and undertaking more menial tasks – all take planning and preparation.

Learning practical time-management skills, such as goal setting, could prove beneficial in helping you to be more efficient and productive and subsequently achieving increased business growth.

There is no point in setting goals that are vague and/or unachievable; they have to be specific and achievable.  To help set realistic goals, a useful tool to apply is the commonly used SMART mnemonic:

S              Specific

M            Measurable

A             Attainable

R             Relevant

T              Time-bound

Each time you set goals, ask yourself SMART questions to ensure you are not trying to achieve the unattainable in an unrealistic time-frame. For example; is the goal precise? How will I know I’ve achieved it? Is it realistic and attainable or is it an out-of-reach ‘dream’? How relevant is it to my business growth? When do I hope to achieve the goal? – Next month, next year, five years from now?  If you intend to achieve a sizeable goal, break it down into smaller doable tasks and apply similar questions to each. Honing in on directly related questions will help keep you focused and help to prevent you from wasting time jumping from one unrealistic goal to another.

Creating a To-Do list will help you to keep on track and measure your progress regarding your daily, weekly and monthly tasks/goals, especially if you practise completing it on a daily basis. However, be careful! Don’t try to squeeze all your tasks into one massive complex to-do list. You may find yourself becoming disheartened and overwhelmed if you do. Rather, prioritise your tasks and work on the most important ones first – create a stop doing list.  You will soon feel a sense of achievement and accomplishment as you experience the benefits of managing your time well.

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