"Excellent time management skills" has become a key phrase in the business world. Many good resumes contain this catch phrase. Job interviewers will ask how you manage your time. Knowing what to say and how to implement time management skills is a work in progress, as each job has requires preparation and knowledge, and has different deadlines.
Time management is often seen as an oxymoron: after all, like the best laid plans, the management of your working hours often has to be reassessed numerous times per day as unexpected emergencies or new projects which demand your immediate attention arise.
There are countless courses and articles readily available to help you prioritize your workload, and to help you minimize the amount of time projects take by suggesting more efficient processes. Even with the best planning and most efficient procedures at your fingertips, there are times when the list of things to do seems to just keep growing and may even feel unmanageable.
All dedicated employees will bite the bullet and keep hammering on. They must also learn to delegate some of the work when possible. Cross-training several people in your department or organization gives more opportunities for employees to build their own skill sets while contributing to the success of the company by being able to aid and assist when necessary. It also brings employees closer as a unit.
Building a stronger team builds a stronger, more efficient, cost effective and ultimately, more successful company.
Some tried and true ways to help with time management are:
- Make and review the list of projects which must be done, noting deadlines. (The list may have to be amended as previously noted.)
- Pen in time first thing in the morning to review, sort, and to respond to your e-mails.
- Check your e-mails regularly. Depending on your work load and the type of job you have, regularly can mean every few minutes, to only once every few hours or less. When multiple assignments must be completed, checking and responding to e-mails frequently can be a time sucker and ultimately, make you less productive. By checking and responding to your e-mails less frequently, you may be able to respond once instead of several times to inquiries.
- When unexpected projects/assignments arise, review your list and make adjustments as necessary. If you're going to require more time to complete a project, advise your supervisor.
- Allow yourself more time than you think you'll need to complete any task.
- Ask for assistance when assistance is needed! It's better to ask for extra time or for extra help to get a job completed properly than to scramble and rush through a job to get a passing grade.
Most importantly, always do your best. Even with the best of intentions, assistance and hard work, there will be times when your days feel over-whelming. On those days, the best time management advice (as long as nothing is immediately pressing) is to be good to yourself and to take a little break. Go for a brisk walk, have a cup of coffee, stretch! Tomorrow is another day to give your 100%.
Harumi Russell, Office Manager
Del Val Realty & Property Management