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Learn & Succeed ‒ How To Be Productive When It Comes To Time Management?

Written by: Pierre Bauzee, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Before starting with either the goals behind being effective in time management or the keys to success in order to do so, it is very important to really understand what time management means. Many people think that time management is being quick in doing things. Some others think that it means being able to do a lot in a day even if it includes doing extra hours. Well, time management is actually quite different. Indeed, being effective in time management doesn't mean doing more things or doing them more quickly. Effective time management means getting more work done in a given time with the highest quality by prioritizing, allocating your time accordingly and making sure the essential tasks have been done perfectly. In fact, effective time management is even more important than efficient use of our time. Finishing your tasks early or being able to do more things in a given time is very good. But the question may be what about the time you have left? Have you done all your tasks properly and prioritize the important ones when you have done more than you thought?

Understanding the main goals of time management


So the first question we can ask ourselves when it comes to being able to manage our time properly is what are the main goals in doing so? To answer simply, I would say that time management is the best way to combine quantity and quality when it comes to your daily duties. By being effective in time management, you will be able to do a lot while doing it with quality. The overall performance of your job will therefore be strongly related to how good you are in time management. Knowing how to do your job including every task, having experience and be able to work autonomy will therefore not be the only factors that will establish the strengths of your work performance. It is definitely the way you manage these tasks in the given time and the result of it that will also determine how good you are in doing your job.


One of the other goals of good time management is to be able to improve the way you organize yourself and more generally improve your skills. Indeed, the way you organize yourself and its effectiveness will definitely be improved by your ability in managing your time effectively. Moreover, the more you are trying to reach perfection in time management, the more you will develop the skills in order to do so. By developing the ability to plan your work ahead, to prioritize while managing these priorities in the given time, by managing your ability to multitask and by finding ways to reduce interruptions, you are drawing a road towards improvement.


Plan your work ahead


One of the first keys to success in order to be effective in time management is to be planning your work ahead. If you want to be managing your time effectively, you need first of all to be having a step-by-step organisation of your day so you know exactly the roadmap to follow when doing your job. As detailed above, even if you are very good in fulfilling your duties, it is your ability in organising them in the given time that will make you successful at the end of the day. It is, therefore, crucial to have a strong ability in planning your work ahead by knowing what must be done and in which order. Only by doing so will you be able to have all the basics in place to be effective in managing your time and apply all the below tips we will be running through together. However, don’t forget that it is crucial to have an in-depth knowledge of every task you have to accomplish regarding their lengths and difficulties so you can plan your work according to these factors and know how long you should spend for each task.


Planning your work ahead becomes even more important when it comes to work with autonomy and ownership. When given autonomy in doing your job, you will indeed have bigger freedom in organising yourself and your tasks. It is in fact by doing so that you will be able to strongly empower and enhance your work performance when it comes to work with autonomy. Of course, sometimes there is a specific way in doing things that you are required to follow by your company and you don’t have any other choice than doing so. But always remember that your ability in planning your work ahead can also be helpful when it comes to analyse these procedures you have to follow. Indeed, with a strong ability in planning your job, you will be able to analyse and feedback the effectiveness of these tasks/procedures in a better way and therefore not only improve your own performance but also the one of your team/company.


Prioritize and manage these priorities


The second tip you should definitely know in order to be productive when it comes to time management is to be able to prioritize. You need to be able to ask yourself good questions in order to 1 know your priorities and 2 know why they are your priorities. What are your priorities in your to-do list? What are the crucial tasks? Why are these tasks being a priority? Because they are difficult to do or because they matter a lot? What is the goal and impact of each task? Only by asking yourself these questions will you be able to clearly define each and everyone of your task by order of priority. Now you can fairly ask me “why would I need to know my priorities?”. And I would simply answer you that it is only by knowing your priorities will you be able to have the concentration, choosing the correct working environment and proper time (see below) in order to do these tasks properly. Knowing and understanding the difficulties or expectations behind each task will also give you a stronger sense of care, responsibility and ownership when it comes to focusing on priorities.


The other question you can ask yourself is how to manage these priorities and when to choose to focus on these important tasks. Should it be done at the beginning of the day when I have freshly started and got all my abilities? Should I do it in a quiet moment when I don’t have much disturbance? Should I keep the important tasks for the end of the day so I can purely focus on these? There is a lot of different methods in managing priorities and there is no one better than another. There is only the one you see as the best depending on your own organisation, the to-do-list of your day, what you feel the most comfortable with and the specifications of your job. As long as you are able to manage these priorities in the given time and the final result is the one expected, then you can definitely say that you have successfully prioritized your tasks. But you must always remember that you will never be successful in prioritizing without a strong ability in managing these priorities in the given time.


Finally, giving priority to essential or difficult tasks doesn’t mean giving less importance on the other tasks. Not, in any case, should you see any of these other tasks as “secondary”. By thinking so, you may lose your focus and dedication as well as reduce the quality of your job when doing these tasks simply because you see them as “less important”. It is crucial to bear in mind that no task is less important than others as every duty has its uses and therefore should be done with the same quality and dedication. Only by having this mindset will you be able to fulfil on of the most important requirement of time management: getting more work done in a given time with the highest quality in everything you do. Always remember, it is in fact by lowering your guard on these other tasks that you may end up in a situation where you make mistakes, when the overall result of your job is not the expected one or when you have to re-do some of your tasks because they haven’t been done properly the first time.


Manage your ability to multitask


It is of course obvious that the more you multitask, the more you will be able to be quick and efficient in time management. However, there is a huge difference between multitasking (doing several tasks at the same time) and being productive in doing so (doing several tasks at the same time with the same quality as if you would have done them individually). It is also crucial to have a strong in-depth knowledge in your ability to multitask in order to 1 make the difference between both (multitasking and being productive in multitasking) and 2 be really effective when you have to do more than one duty at a time. Indeed, in order to make a positive impact on your time-management’s effectiveness, you want to make sure that you are not only being quick in doing things but that you are also doing these things with quality.


It is definitely better to know your ability in multitasking even if this ability is quite low rather than not knowing it and therefore ending up in situations where you are doing two things at the same time when you should not. You can be very good in multitasking, but if you are not taking the time to analyse and really know your own ability first, you can end-up in situations where you are doing more than one thing at a time when you should not. Doing so will impact negatively your efficiency, will be counterproductive and will not have the expected result. In other words, your level of ability to multitask doesn’t matter as long as you are aware of it, even if that one is very low. In order to be productive when it comes to time management, it is definitely better to be weak in multitasking and knowing your level rather be strong in doing it but not knowing your own ability. What makes the difference is your self-awareness on your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to do more than one task at a time and not your ability itself.


So how to know your own ability to multitask? You need first of all to make sure you are checking the result of your tasks when multitasking while measuring the way you are coping with managing more than one duty at the same time. Something else you need to do in order to be productive when multitasking, is to relate your ability to multitask to the different tasks and duties you have to accomplish. You may indeed be very good in multitasking in some specific tasks and much less on others. This can be justified by your own strengths and weaknesses in doing a specific task, your experience in accomplishing this task or the importance and difficulties encountered in the task itself. For instance, if you are encountering a lot of difficulties in doing two specific tasks at the same time (or the result in one of these two tasks is not the expected one), you either need to stop multitask on at least one of the tasks, either get more practice before doing them at the same time or simply decide that the importance of one of the two tasks (or the challenges) simple requires a full focus on it.


To conclude, I wouldn’t simply associate multitasking with productivity as it can actually have the opposite impact on your work performance if not managed properly. The same as it is the case in time management, quality is a non-negotiable condition in multitasking. Therefore, you should always remember that what makes a difference in how efficient you are in multitasking is your self-awareness on your ability and not your ability itself.


Reduce interruptions


One of the things we tend to forget the most when it comes to time management but that will actually have one of the most positive impacts on the way you manage your time is your ability to reduce interruptions. Now the question we can ask ourselves is can it be done all the time? Is it really possible to stop all interruptions? In some environments or industries, it is obvious that it is not something very easy to do and may even be impossible in some situations. However, reducing interruptions doesn’t mean necessarily stopping all interruptions but only the ones you can stop. It also means choosing to do specific tasks when it is quiet around you or choose a different working environment in some situations in order to do your job properly. For instance, if you are working in a front office department in a hotel, you may want to do the important tasks out of the rush hours (when most of the check-ins and check-outs are done). A personal example I can also give is when I use to run huge gala dinners as a head of operations: at the end of the dinner service when half of the team were about to be signed out, as the signing-out and changing area were in a joined room after our office, I decided to do my administrative tasks in a different place. By doing so, I was in a quiet environment to do my job and avoiding the disturbance I could avoid knowing that I was already tired from a busy day. These examples illustrate perfectly the fact that the goal isn’t really to stop all interruptions but just to make the right decisions at the right time in order to be in the best environment to be productive.


Finally, something else you need to do in order to reduce interruptions is to try as much as you can to question everything around you and ask yourself if some of these things are actually slowing down in managing your time. You need to see the bigger picture and realise that the word “interruption” when it comes to time management can be related to anything being an obstacle in doing your job properly. Is there tasks that you are doing every day that are actually not necessary? Is the way you do a specific task the good way or is it actually the reason why you are taking too much time? Is there recurring small problems that you encounter daily but never solve and how much will it impact your productivity in the longer term if not sorted? Are you enough team members in a specific shift in order for all of you to do your job perfectly as individuals? In a way, everything is related to time management as time management is related to everything you do on a daily basis. So always keep in mind that any obstacle to your work performance is also an obstacle to the effectiveness of your time management. You need to be able to ask yourself as much questions as you can, keep thinking there is things you can do better, take initiative and solve/change things in order to enhance your work performance as well as one of your colleagues. This is why I would finally say that in order to be productive when it comes to time management, simply doing your job properly is not enough. You need to go the extra mile when you have to. You need to constantly analyse things in order to see the bigger picture and truly understand both your own performance and your working environment so you can make the correct decisions accordingly.


 

Pierre Bauzee, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

"Pierre Bauzee is a professional trainer, coach and consultant for the industry of Hospitality. After working for more than 10 years in this wonderful industry, Pierre decided to realise a dream: dedicate his life to train and support people by starting his Training and Consultancy company called Learn&Succeed Hospitality Training.


Learn&Succeed provides powerful Training courses covering crucial topics for people's development and success such as Leadership, Management, Training and development, customer service, personal improvement or Teamwork and interpersonal skills.


With certified and authentic courses entirely made by himself, he strongly believes that by training the right people with the right training, he can provide all the keys to success in order for them to grow, learn and succeed. He is also very proud and committed to taking part in people's development or in the success of their company by providing coaching and consulting services.


His goal: to make a positive impact on people and businesses in an industry full of opportunities."

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