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One time management technique is to keep a time log. A time log helps you identify and pinpoint where your time goes or where you spend it.
In a time log, you divide the day up into sections and write down what you did in each segment of time. Ideally you would measure your time in ten or 15 minutes segments. This is a good technique but it takes time and if you are already time-challenged, chances are you will not continue keeping a time log. You would start out with the log but after the first hour, you will be distracted from it by the very problems you are trying to track.
Before starting your time log, take five minutes and look at the manifestations of your time problems. Do any of these apply to you?
- You are always overbooked.
- You feel that other people are in control of your time.
- You are always canceling or rebooking meetings.
- You are always taking work home to finish.
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you do need to track the source of the problem, but a time log may not be the answer. Your time is already out of control. When will you have time to actually stop and fill in the log? Instead try this exercise:
Right now, sit down with a pen and paper and answer these questions:
- Which is the most overdue of your tasks for today?
- Which is the most difficult of your tasks for today?
- Which is the easiest task you have on your agenda for today?
Do the easiest task first. You will feel some resistance, but do it. Just get it out of the way. Next, look at the most overdue and the most difficult task and see if you can break this task down into smaller pieces and have someone else help you with them. For the rest of the day, do not take on any more tasks or book any more meetings. Repeat these steps daily and you will notice a difference within a week.