How to manage time effectively – A 6 step plan


Managing time is crucial to everyone especially for team leaders and managers as, time is constrained and cannot be recalled at will. A six step approach is given below for more effective time management.

1. First, determine how you spend it

Time is a valuable resource. Before you can improve the way you spend it. You need to know how you’re using it now. Try keeping a log for a week or two. Use the log on the page opposite as a model, or devise your own. Here’s how the sample log works.

  • Fill in the date at the top of the sheet. (You’ll need to complete a separate log for each work day)
  • In the left-hand column, list each activity as it occurs include all activities meetings, phone calls, employee training sessions, etc.
  • Record the starting time ending time and total time for each activity.


2. Then, analyze the results

At the end of the week, calculate the total time spent on each activity. Examine the totals, and ask yourself:

  • Where did most of my time go?
  • Did I accomplish the most important things?
  • How much time could have been used more effectively?
  • Were there tasks I could or should have delegated to others?


3. Next, make a list of things to do

Include everything you need to do –both short- and long-term jobs. Assign each job on your list on a category as follows:


  • Important- In general, these are the jobs which help your team, department and organization to reach the goals set
  • Urgent-  These are jobs that need to be handled right away; keep in mind, through, that urgent jobs are not necessarily the most important jobs
  • Marginal- These are jobs that can wait, or that don’t really need to be done at all.

(You may want to use a difference color maker to highlight activities in each category.)


4. Set Priorities and goals

Rank the jobs in each category according to their importance. Also, estimate how long it will take to complete each job.


5. Work out a plan

Allocate time for your urgent jobs and most important jobs first. Then fit the marginal jobs into your schedule. Several types of “planners” are available. In addition to helping you to plan your work, they’re useful for nothing dates of meetings, staff holidays and birthdays, etc. Choose the types of planners that best meet your needs, as

  • Yearly planners and wall charts allow you to see the “big picture”.
  • Monthly, weekly and daily diaries allow you to plan shorter units of time


6. Prepare daily and weekly “to-do lists”

Put the lists where you can see them. Or, write the lists on your desk diary, if space is provided. Cross of each job as you complete it.

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