No discussion about managerial skills would be complete without talking about time management. Effective managers are excellent at utilizing their time. More than just their time, successful managers proficiently steward the range resources under their control … the people, the equipment, and the finances. But time is the most valuable of them all.
If you investigate the marketplace, you’ll find all sorts of articles, books and other resources designed to help you master time management. And there are a ton of great tools out there to help you. But one particular concept — Time Blocking – is simple to implement yet highly effective.
Individuals and companies drift into all sorts of mindlessly executed habits, many of which revolve around time management. Some departments meet every Monday morning (even if nothing special is going on). Others always schedule their meetings for one hour long (as a product of the organization’s culture instead of the thoughtful use of their resources.) Many are in the habit of picking particular times to meet 9:00 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. These start times leave comfortable margins after when most people get into work or back from lunch.
But these habits and “margins” are designed-in waste. Like a gas completely fills the vessel in which it’s stored, rounding up your scheduled meeting duration to the nearest hour all but guarantees it will take the whole time.
The challenge then, is to think about what you could accomplish in a smaller block, say ten minutes. You can read a trade journal article. You could send a thank-you email. You can make a follow-up call. You can do a variety of valuable activities in ten minutes.
But because our organizational cultures often standardize on one-hour or half-hour time blocks, they miss out on the many things that could be accomplished is a shorter period of time. And these lost pockets of time, across an organization, accumulate into a staggering quantity over an entire year.
So I would encourage you to start thinking about ten minute blocks instead of half-hour or hour long blocks. Start thinking about what you can do from 8:00 am to 8:10 am, or from 1:00 pm to 1:10 pm.
Again, successful managers make the most of all the resources entrusted to them. And nothing is more valuable to an organization, or an individual, than time.
Ray Harkins is a manufacturing professional and online educator. He teaches a variety of low-cost, high-quality manufacturing and business-related courses at Udemy.com. Click on the links below to learn more and receive substantial discounts on these courses