Career advancement isn’t just about doing the right thing to get ahead.
It’s also about doing it faster and better than others. Effective time
management can give you an edge. Consider Sue Trizila, president and chief operating
officer of Wyndam Jade, an incentive and meeting services company in Plano,
Texas. She knows managing time well has contributed to her success. In the past
five years, her company has grown in annual sales to $180 million from $23 million
and to more than 200 employees from 26. Says Ms. Trizila, "People who really
succeed in a business appreciate the importance of managing their own time and
have a sensitivity to managing the time of those who work for them, as well
as managing the time of clients."
The basics of time management concepts are simple and easy to apply to any career
advancement strategy. They include:
· setting priorities;
· taking a long-term view;
· planning your time daily;
· taking time to organize; and
· maintaining a sound mind and body.
Doing the Right
Time management offers you skills and tools to decide what’s the best
use of your time right now so you’ll be more likely to be doing the right
thing for your job and your career. How do you guard against the myriad of interruptions
and distractions that can throw you off course? The first step is having clear
long-term and short-term goals and prioritizing what you need to do to achieve
"Look at your list of priorities," says Tom Bay, a time-management
consultant in Newport Beach, Calif. There’s always more things to do than
there is time to do them in, he says. "Demands have gone up dramatically
-- the amount of things we’re obligated to do -- especially in the last
10 years, but there’s still only 1,440 minutes in a day. That doesn’t
change." Mr. Bay, a former consultant for Franklin Covey Co. Inc., a time-management
consulting firm in Salt Lake City, recommends designating tasks you simply must
do as double AA priorities. If you have 10 or 15 items on your to-do list, choose
three to five that are truly double AA priorities. "Invest your time in
those [priorities] that will give you the best ROI -- return on investment,"
Take the Long View
When making decisions about how to spend your time, weigh the short-term benefits
against the long-term ones. Choices made for the long-term often lead to a greater
Tom Ferrara, 29, president and CEO of CareerEngine.com, an independent network
of category-specific career sites, says a mistake people his age often make
is chasing money rather than opportunity. "I could have, at any time, taken
a sales job and made more money than starting up a new business," he says.
"If I was just after the money, I’d have chosen a path other than
the one I chose, which was more time consuming and more stressful."
But, he says, the career experiences and satisfaction of building a business
from the ground up far outweigh the short-term financial benefits of working
for someone else. When thinking about what you want to do, consider what will
be best for you in the long run.
Daily Focus Time
Call it quiet time, planning time or focus time. Make time to prepare for the
coming day. Tom Bay, author of "Change Your Attitude: Creating Success
One Thought at a Time" (Career Press, 1998), says, "Get focused either
at the end of the day for tomorrow or at the beginning of the day for that same
day. You’ve got to take time in the morning to really get yourself organized."
Take up to 15 minutes to focus on what you have to do and the time you have
to do it in. "Instead of just charging ahead, as so many seem to do, in
a reactive mode, you’re carefully considering all the possibilities and
actively planning the steps you will take," says Mr. Bay. This will help
make sure you plan to do the right thing.
Being organized also will save you time. While you need to concentrate on your
high-priority tasks, you won’t be able to find those crucial documents
and papers you need to work on if you’re disorganized. Budget time for
organizing. It could be just an hour every day, week or month or even just 15
minutes, whatever suits your workstyle and schedule.
Consider fitting an upgrade day into your schedule. This will motivate you to
learn finally the software you’ve been using but never really understood,
or experiment with new equipment that could multiply your productivity tenfold.
Use this time to take a seminar, hire a consultant or attend a trade show. The
time and energy you devote to upgrading skills and equipment will work to boost
Sound Mind, Sound
You may be thinking, "But I don’t have time to exercise," or
"I don’t have time for lunch." Think again, if you want to maximize
your efficiency and advance your career in the long run. Taking some time to
exercise, even if it means taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking
your car a little further from the door, will increase your daily productivity
as it improves your fitness and stamina.
-- Dr. Yager, a workplace
expert, sociologist and seminar leader, is author of "Creative Time Management
for the New Millennium" (1999, Hannacroix Creek Books).
Avoid 3 Character: Overdoer – Overorganized – Time-Nut
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