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Time management - Time log

Time log

Prioritised objectives

Having got a list of activities for each day over a week you should find out how efficiently you are managing your time in completing these tasks. You need to manage a log.
On a daily basis they might be:

  • Deal with mail
  • Finish a report
  • Go to a meeting
  • Contact colleague etc.

The above list is unlikely to reflect your ‘priorities’ as ‘dealing with mail’ is not top of most persons list.

You should tackle the tasks in the order of priorities that you have established.

Weekly plan

A weekly plan is a good time period in which to operate.
Naturally, this plan derives from goals leading to objectives.
From this schedule you will be able to monitor your progress, and take action to keep on track.

Recording the log

Maintaining a time log throughout the day over a period of 1 week will give you a good idea of where your time is spent. In order to get the best data you will need to:

  • Record all distractions no matter how trivial
  • Be as honest as you can
  • Describe the interruption as accurately as possible
  • Do this as it happens don’t delay

The key person who will benefit from this is you so make sure you are honest. There is no point in skipping over what you consider to be a minor item. Many minor interruptions add up to major problems. Be accurate in your description as vagueness can lead to uncertainty when assessing the causes for interruption.

Analyse where time is spent

When looking at each objective on your list for the day you could ask yourself these questions:

  • Did you delay starting the task?
  • Were there any interruptions?

If you answer ‘yes’ to these you will need to decide if you could have avoided the problems and whether it significantly affected the task completion.

  • Were you supposed to be doing this task and could you have delegated it?
  • Could you have improved, in any way, the way you tackled the task?
  • Was the interruption valid and actually important?
  • Are your systems with regard to documentation efficient

Remember, it is not only people who visit you. You will contact others and how these are handled and their relevance is important for efficient use of time.

Others could be:

  • Travel and reworking tasks

When you assess just how much time you spent on your ‘objectives’ it might come as a little shock.
Many of the reasons for non completion of tasks will be no more than excuses as you will in effect be responsible for the interruptions by allowing them.

Identify the ‘time detroyers’

From this ‘time log’ you will identify your major ‘time destroyers’ and focus your energies on eliminating them.

Identifying actions to eliminate them

We will cover this later.

Put the plan into action

We will cover this elsewhere, see ‘typical process’.

Non - PRINCE2 information