Ever wonder how strong your time-management skills are?
Read these statements and grade yourself on a 1-5 scale, with a 1 meaning never and a 5 meaning all the time, and add them up once you’re finished.
- Prioritizing tasks. Throughout the day, I’m working on tasks that are high-priority or important enough that I should handle them.
- Working ahead. I’m fanatical about finishing projects and tasks well ahead of deadline and not waiting until the 11th hour.
- Scheduling. Whenever possible, I slot in time for planning and scheduling pressing duties.
- Handling distractions. I’ve got ways of controlling interruptions so they don’t disturb my preferred work flow.
- Planning for the unexpected. My work day is scheduled so that if a last-minute request comes up, either I or a staffer can make time for it.
- Determining a task’s value. I can immediately assess whether a task is high, medium or low priority.
- Dealing with stress. Most days I’m not stressed out. On the other hand, some stress some of the time isn’t a bad thing.
What’s your score?
- 28-35 points: You’re a very good time-manager. You prioritize well and even carve out time in your schedule for “surprises.”
- 15-27: There’s room for improvement, but you’re having success in some areas.
- 14 and below: Time-management is likely a struggle for you.
Take a hard look at what’s distracting you
Weight loss coaches ask clients to write down every snack, meal and calorie-filled drink they consume from the time they wake up until they go to bed, for a few days or a week.
Reason: It takes an honest and accurate scorekeeping to convince the overweight they’re eating too much and all the wrong things.
Same goes for wasting time. If you’re not getting as much done as you’d like, it can’t hurt to keep a running diary of what you do on a day-to-day basis. You can break the journal down to half-hour or hourly increments with descriptors like “worked on financials” and “met with IT and Payroll.”
Also keep track of specific issues like, “fielded call from Vendor A” or “solved fulfillment issue with Customer B.” You may find you’re taking care of problems that matter to your company, but aren’t in your arena – they’re responsibilities others are dropping the ball on.
Chances are you’ll see room for improvement and ways to take back more of your time.