Doing a good job of managing your time is a challenge for every IT manager. Every day it seems like there are more and more things that you are being asked to do while the amount of time that you have to accomplish them keeps getting smaller and smaller. If only there was some way to organize what you had to work on so that you knew that you were making progress every day…
The Secret To Time Management Success: Goals
Look, the simple fact of time management is that we all start in the same place: too much to do and too little time in which to get it all done. To top things off, everything looks the same – we don’t know where to start.
This is where the power of your goals comes in. Assuming that you’ve taken the time to create good goals, ones that actually mean something to you and which are valid things for you to be striving towards, then you’ve got the guiding light that you’re going to need in order to get your limited time under control.
Your goals will help you guide your time by allowing you to identify just exactly what specific tasks you should be working on in order to achieve your goals. The side benefit of doing this is that your goals will also show you what you should NOT be working on because it’s not going to help you to achieve what’s really important – your goals.
Three Ways To Use Your Goals To Mange Your Time
In order to do a good job of using your goals to solve your time management challenges, you need to know how to get from having goals to having a time management solution. There are three basic steps that you are going to have to follow here:
- Break ‘Em Up: Your goals are probably high level statements like “replace such & such system” or “solve such & such problem”. These are fine for goals, but not so good as time management tools. You need to sit down and spend some time breaking up your goals into a smaller set of manageable tasks. In order to make sure that you’ve captured everything that you need to do, keep this list of tasks in sequential order.
- Make Time Guesses: Before you can come up with a plan for how you are going to get your work done, you first need to know how much time it’s all going to take. Take a look at each of the individual tasks that you broke each goal up into and estimate how long it’s going to take you to complete that task. In my world, after I’ve come up with my best guess I often double it in order to cover unexpected things that can delay me in getting it done. If you’ve never done something before, then ask others who have how long it took them to do it.
- Create Priorities: All goals are not created equally. Some are more important than others. In order to make sure that you spend your valuable time working on the right things, you’re going to need to prioritize your tasks. Some tasks may have to be started earlier than others because they will take longer to accomplish or because they require resources that are not currently available. It’s generally best if you group your tasks into one of three priorities: high, medium, low or whatever. This will show you what you should be working on now and what comes next.
What All Of This Means For You
As our lives as IT managers keep getting busier and busier, trying to do a good job of effectively managing our time can easily become a real challenge. It turns out that by using our goals as a way to get our bearings, IT managers can quickly establish a good time management system.
Just knowing what your goals are is not enough. You need to use three simple rules in order to use your goals to manage your time: break them down into smaller tasks, estimate the time each will require, and prioritize.
Although this may seem like a simple solution to a complex problem, you’ll be amazed at how quickly it works. In no time you’ll be on top of what you have to do and you’ll be getting the right things done. Perhaps you should start planning on what you’ll do with your free time…
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™
Question For You: How many goals do you think an IT manager should have?
What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
With a little luck, every IT manager realizes that they are only as good as the people that they have working for them. What this means is that they need to be a good boss if they want to be successful. This leads to a critical question: how good of a boss are you? It turns out that most of us seem to think that we’re a better boss than we probably really are…