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Asim Khan on Time Management

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With budgets getting tighter and competition getting fiercer, many employees find themselves forced to wear many hats. Too often, the heavy workload brought about by smaller staff sizes and multiple demands means that it is more and more difficult for employees to juggle conflicting expectations. Many people find themselves overworked and stressed to the limit on the job.

The term job stress refers to the emotional or physical response to a conflict between the demands of a job and one’s control over the conditions necessary to meet those demands. A variety of conditions can create or contribute to this stress. When tasks becomes too complicated, time consuming or vague, or when job expectations skyrocket, coping skills are needed. Often the conflict may be the result of poor management style. Strained interpersonal relationships among coworkers or between supervisors and subordinates can result in job stress as well. Environmental conditions may also contribute to the problem.
If you find yourself among those with mounting demands on the job, you may benefit from learning some time management techniques to deal with them more effectively. If you’re like many busy people, you spend a lot of time thinking about how little time you have. It can be frustrating and exhausting to efficiently manage the mountain of tasks most people face in their work each day. Perhaps one of the most important issues in managing time is to focus on results rather than on how much activity you engage in. Many people spend a great deal of time on tasks that are simply not productive and do not contribute to the results they wish to achieve. If you can learn to focus on the right things, you can dramatically improve what you accomplish and how much effort it takes to see the results you want.

This idea is not a new one. The Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto first demonstrated what came to be known as the 80:20 rule in the late 1800′s. The idea is that for the average person, 80% of unfocussed effort yields about 20% of total results, while the remaining 80% of results come from the remaining 20% of effort. If you can tap into what is productive about the 20% of effort that yields 80% of results, the ratio can be shifted dramatically in favor of more productivity with less effort.

This is where time management skills come into play. There are many simple techniques that can help you structure your working day more efficiently. To begin, you will work best when you have a plan. Some tools that can help with the planning process are activity logs, action plans, and to-do lists. There are also ways to manage time more efficiently by finding ways to stop procrastinating, minimize interrupts and ensure that your mind and body are in top form.

Activity logs are a great way to find out exactly how your time is being wasted and when it is being well spent. The method may seem like just another thing to takes up your time, but the effort has a definite payoff. Many people are unaware of how much energy is spent unproductively on any given day. By keeping and activity log for several days, you can develop an understanding of how you spend your time and when you are most productive and alert. To do this, simply record your activities throughout the day. Whenever you change activities, note the activity, the time and how you feel (alert, tired, energetic, etc.). After several days, you will have a clear record of how much time you spend productively, how much time you spend unproductively, and which part or parts of the day you are most alert and productive. This can serve as a good starting point for setting up a more productive daily routine.

Another tool for time management is to create an action plan. The idea behind an action plan is to list the tasks needed to carry out a specific objective. In contrast to a “to-do” list (discussed later), all of the steps in an action plan are part of the same goal. In creating the list, you simply write down everything that will need to be done to accomplish the goal and then prioritize the list. Action plans are not only a time management tool, but they reduce the stress of having to complete a seemingly overwhelming big project. By breaking the project into small, manageable tasks, you will have a greater sense of control over the progression of the project so it will no longer feel overwhelming.

In contrast to action plans, “to-do” lists are used to keep track of everything you need to do over a period of time. They can be prioritized in the same way as action plans, and different people use to-do lists in different ways. You can create a daily list of tasks to accomplish each day or one large list that you tackle a little at a time. Which kind of list you use will depend on your personal preference of work style.
Even with a clear sense of what you need to accomplish, time management can be sabotaged by interruptions. If you find yourself constantly interrupted, there are some strategies to minimize the amount of time it takes to address other people’s questions and requests. One way is to physically move away from coworkers for at least part of the workweek. If you have an office, close the door. If you can work in a conference room or other location removed from the main activity of the office, do so from time to time. Better yet, take a day each week to work from home. You can also minimize interruptions by setting up your workspace so that you do not face people who may be tempted to talk to you while you are trying to work. Keep in mind that you do not have to be available to coworkers at all times. Let people know when you will be available and when you will not. Block off certain hours to work without interruption, and let people know that you will not be available during those times.

When people do approach you with questions or requests, ask how much of your time they will need. Whenever possible, ask them to come back at a specific time so you can address their concerns with greater concentration. If they tell you something is urgent, set a limit on how much time you will give them by saying something like, “I can give you five minutes right now.” Ask them what solutions they propose for their own problems before volunteering too much time to help out with a request. A good way to end an interruption that has gone on too long is to stand and begin to walk toward your office door. This gives a subtle message to your visitor that it is not a good time to continue the conversation.

With more than ten years of international business experience, Asim Khan brings dedication and tenacity to his role as Chief Executive Officer of Business Management Group, Inc. Corporate presidents, government officials, and industry associations seek his hard-earned expertise in a wide variety of industriescommodities, energy, electronics, manufacturing, technology, and financial services to name just a few. Mr. Khan also serves on the boards of directors for several corporations and nonprofit organizations.

Asim Khan on Time Management
About Asim Khan
With more than ten years of international business experience, Asim Khan brings dedication and tenacity to his role as Chief Executive Officer of Business Management Group, Inc. Corporate presidents, government officials, and industry associations seek his hard-earned expertise in a wide variety of industriescommodities, energy, electronics, manufacturing, technology, and financial services to name just a few. Mr. Khan also serves on the boards of directors for several corporations and nonprofit organizations. WebProNews Writer
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  • vimmyk

    Hi Asim,

    I think you have a visionary take on life, I look forward to more brilliance from you.

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