Health & Wellbeing

Dec 13, 2022 11 min read

Effective Time Management

Author is currently posted in Corporate HR department of IndianOil Corporation Ltd. as Senior Manager(Skill Development). With about 14 years of experience in the corporation, his earlier tenures were in Operations, Retail and LPG sales of the Marketing division. An Engineer in Electronics and Instrumentation , he recently completed his executive MBA from IIM Lucknow .

Rohan came to his workdesk on Monday morning . After a Sunday's party he was feeling bit less energetic ,but he knew he had to make this important note sheet which require Director’s approval . This notesheet was on a policy which was vital for the Learning and development department in which he was working . 

While having a cup of tea served by the office boy he started rummaging through emails and clearing the inbox. Lo, there were some mails requiring immediate attention , then there was this irritating mail from a colleague.Not answering to it would demean the stature of Rohan.

When he was about to click send button after drafting a strong mail with a befitting reply , he was summoned by his Executive director . A new event was on the way which suddenly took all the priority . Rohan was supposed to call 10-15 fellows to arrange for nitti-gritties of the event . Not to mention that he was receiving Whatsapp messages from his fiancée Sonika in between and not replying to her warm messages would put Rohan as a very cold and unromantic fiancé.

After Lunch , Now Rohan was commited to complete this important notesheet but suddenly his colleague Alok peeped in to discuss about the role of L&D in innovation . Rohan thought that disposing his colleague without inputs will not be prudent hence he gave him all the inputs required . 

Just after completing discussion with Alok , Rohan received a call on landline from his training vendor that some of the payments have not been reflected on his account . Rohan immediately logged in to SAP and checked entries and got to know that finance has stopped 2 payments as the signature in the invoice was missing but he knew that signatures are not required as bills are digitally signed . He called Finance department to explain about the invoices . He had heated discussion with the clerk there to make him convince to accept the bills .

Now it was 6 o'clock in the evening and Rohan was already feeling very exhausted . Suddenly His Director called him and asked about the status of note sheet reminding him the deadline of today . Rohan had no choice but to sit late till 10 in the night and finish the notesheet , but he was mentally and physically so exhausted that even coffee shots were not being helpful and to make situation worse Sonika invited him for the dinner.

Was Rohan overworked ? or he was less efficient ?

Today we are living in a world which is full of distraction and there are myriad activities which ask for our attention .The “Pings, dings and rings” of devices condition us to respond immediately to minor tasks, but often crowd out more important work.

The key to better time management is Prioritizing and utilizing your attention span wisely .

Some tips for better time managemennt are :

1) Prioritize Goals while managing your time - When number of tasks are more you need to rank them in terms of importance and urgency.

One needs to complete tasks first which are both important and urgent then striking a balance between urgent and important and important but less urgent.

2) Identify when you are at your sharpest and use this “prime time” effectively- We all have time of peak energy and low energy which keep fluctuating in a day’s time. It is called Circadian rhythms which is physical, mental, and behavioural changes that follow a 24-hour cycle . Some of us are more energetic in the morning whereas some are in the late hours of evening .Just after lunch many feel trough in the energy, but a second wind comes after say two hours of lunch time . One should identify these peak times and utilize them for more creative tasks whereas low energy times can be for routine tasks .

3) Recognize what distracts you and refocus quickly- Gadget notifications , email pop ups, unwanted calls and colleague’s interventions are distractions which we need to control . While doing important tasks, gadgets notifications can be turned off. We need not to respond all the emails then and there . One should learn to say no and/renegotiate requests from others so that one has time for what matters most. Evaluate yourself and others by important work produced , not by long hours or always being available. Examine your daily habits -sleep, food, physical activity , time spent on screen etc. and aim for good choices as often as possible. Reflect on your days and use those insights to develop good habits.

4) Develop a broad toolkit of productivity strategies- One should preload the calendar with upcoming important projects and block off work times. There should be timely monitoring of progress of important long-term projects and timetable should be so designed as to have scope to accommodate few urgencies . Upcoming problems should be anticipated, and alternate plans should be kept ready in case primary plan does not work.

5) You cannot Multitask- Multitasking is a myth . You can provide attention to one task only at a time only you can shift your attention from task A to task B and this shifting has its own demerits .What we consider as multitasking is actually “task switching” and it makes us slower and more error prone.  It is better to finish ‘job A’ and then switch to ‘job B’ for efficient working.

6) Identify “Time Sinks” and avoid them – Time sinks happen when you and your team repeatedly and avoidably lose a lot of time on certain low value tasks, ineffective processes . These situations arise due to miscommunication , lack of clarity or rivalries at workplace. Work that is barely used, not valued , or tied to an outdated part of the business should be identified and one should strive to eradicate such processes, relations, and tasks to be more effective. address time sinks by figuring out the root cause and considering multipole solutions.

7) Delegate - You cannot do all the jobs by yourself . effective delegation is the key . one should identify the sub tasks in which team members are good at and they should be delegated suitably. For example , if you enjoy writing but dislike budgeting , partner with someone who enjoys the tasks you do not.

Make time work for you by developing smart and good habits which helps you staying energetic throughout the day .

To harness Physical Energy :

  • Get plenty of sleep

  • Exercise

  • Take nutritious diet

To harness Emotional Energy :

  • Defuse negative emotions and fuel positive thoughts

  • Develop holistic view of the situation and look at upsetting situations through new lenses.

To Harness mental Energy :

  • Take short breaks throughout the day to rejuvenate

  • Set aside time for thinking and planning

To harness Spiritual Energy :

  • Do more activities which fulfils you

  • Allocate time and energy to what you consider most important.

  • Live your core values.

Time management should be such that we should feel accomplished yet energetic at the end of the day.

We all have 24 hours , it is how we chose to dispose them makes us a good or bad time manager.


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Comments (2)

Animesh Jha

Nicely written piece, navigating through the day and being equally efficient at the same time has become a mammoth task. Simple tweak in some of the planning can help in long run. I will be sharing with my friends. This is quite insightful.

  • 16 Dec 2022

Abhyudaya bhardwaj

Dear Suraj ji Again you have shown your flavour of class in HR issues. The article has very well laid down your message of time management with a beautiful example of Rohan and then chronologically proposing the trouble creators of time management with its remedies. Hope you will write more as your expirience grow more as an HR manager . Best of luck .

  • 16 Dec 2022

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