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Time management - Typical process

Typical process

Typically once you have recognised the main ‘time destroyers’ there is no point in trying to tackle them all at once you must formalise an action plan.

Review your personal time log

Review the log that you have been keeping for at least one week.
Remember the basic ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’, which are:

  • 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

It is a good idea to maintain a log on a regular basis so you can see how well your action plan is doing.


Prior to looking at your ‘top ten’ ‘time destroyers’ you may wish to carry out a personal audit covering how you feel you are performing in all the these areas at the present. Then in the future you can repeat the exercise to see any improvements.

You will need to build a bank of questions for each ‘time destroyer’ and rank your answers, for example:

  • How easy was it to distract me?
  • Did I recover easily?
  • How efficient is my screening system (where appropriate)?

Decide on the top ten ‘time destroyers’

From the log find the top ten.
These should match closely to your base audit results.

Rank then in order of priority

Using your time log you can easily rank the ‘time destroyers’ in order.

Review the causes

Think about all of the potential causes for each of your ‘time destroyers’ and list them in a form.
You might find a template useful in the Word file ‘process steps’.
Make sure that you don’t come up with a list that puts all the blame on others.
Remember you will be in this position largely because of your own inactions.

Consider solutions

For each of the causes develop a potential solution. This is not the same as the ‘action step’ next, see 'strategies for getting on with it'.

Generate action steps

For each solution generate an actual action, something that you will go out and do to implement the solution.
A good technique for developing solution and action steps is to use ‘brainstorming’.
The Complete Project Management package’ covers this topic in more detailed steps.

Decide on the overall time scale

Having decided on a series of actions you will need a reasonable schedule in which to implement them.
Clearly, it would not be practical to try to do everything in 2 or 3 days by implementing ‘edicts’.

You will need to plan the execution of the actions.
A typical plan of attack is to try to tackle each ‘time destroyer’ on a weekly basis.

Create deadlines

Within your ‘weekly’ plan set deadlines and reward your self when they have been achieved.
Try to maintain your momentum when tackling these and not let things slacken off.

Team work

If you can identify the causes that are generated by you alone so that it will only take you to resolve them.
As is often the case, many causes may be team related and thus you may need to take a team approach.

When you have ‘time destroyer’ problems that are team wide you will need to approach the solution via the whole team.
The process above can be equally employed by each team member.

Each keeps a log, and decides on their individual ranking of the ‘time destroyers’.
Each person (including your self) ranks their own list.
For each ‘time destroyer’ you add up the individual scores to get a total.
The ‘time destroyers’ are then ranked, for the team, according to their total scores and tackled as above accordingly.

A template for this is in the Excel file ‘team process steps’.

It is always important to cover not only personal issues but those of the team as well.
It only takes one rower in a boat to be out of synchronisation for the boats progress to be severely affected.

To work effectively with a team you must give them empowerment to achieve the tasks that they are responsible for.
This is covered in more detail elsewhere [see ‘The Complete Project Management package’] and [see 'The Complete Project Management plus PRINCE2'].

Non - PRINCE2 information