What is time management?
Time management is an important skill an Investment Banker and every other professional needs to learn to perform tasks in a timely manner and gain the coveted status of a super star analyst in the work place. Before we begin with tips to effective time management, let’s take a look at what time management actually is.
What is time management?
Time management involves organizing, planning and putting conscious effort in controlling time spent on specific activities with the aim of increasing effectiveness, efficiency and productivity. Effective time management can turn hard work into soft work (lol…is our work oo!!.. pardon me, only Nigerians would understand this.) Anywaiz, effective time management enables you to complete work faster and most especially work smarter rather than laboring on tasks without nearing completion. In other words, as mentioned earlier, the main goal of time management is to improve your efficiency, effectiveness and productivity. Apart from improving these three metrics, time management also helps to ease stress levels as there is less panic to deliver work on time or miss a deadline. Also, with effective time management, there is a greater opportunity for advancement as effective time managers tend to stand out from colleagues at the work place.
Steps in effective management
- Effective planning: If possible, make a plan in advance for each week or day if your tasks for the week or day is already clearly defined. Effective planning is the bedrock of effective time management. Effective planning enables you get a mental note of tasks to be performed and time to be delivered even before the date. In other words, it prepares you in advance for the tasks be done.
- Prioritize and do the most important work first: It would be fruitless exercise if you dedicate so much time to unimportant work while leaving more pressing work at the sideline. Failing to meet the pressing or important work would not only dent your image, but may land you into trouble at the work place. The first step to effective time management is thus analyzing the work to be done or deliverables and ranking them in order of importance. After successfully ranking, proceed with the work ranked as he most important and continue with that trend.
- Remove all distractions (both physical and mental distractions) when working: This is also very important especially if you are the type that gets easily distracted. So switch of that phone or television set when you plan to work and focus your mind on the job at hand. I remember my secondary school days, I used to hate reading, so anytime I tried to read, there would be one distraction or the other. I might just look at the wall and be thinking in my mind that wow, this wall really looks bright and colorful today, that when last was it painted and so on. That’s how my mind wandered. So guys, apart from the elimination of physical distractions, there should also be elimination of mental distractions.
- Don’t work too long stretches, take breaks when needed. This is also very important in time management as working long stretches might leave you mentally drained and fatigued. The recommended thing is to work and when you feel tired or fatigued, take a short break, walk around or go grab something to eat and come back to complete the task.
- Discover productive times: This simply means that you need to study yourself to ascertain the best time for work. For example some are day readers while some are night readers. Also, some people work best at home while others prefer to be in an office environment to work.
- Work towards attaining skills to increase efficiency: This goes without saying because to be more efficient, you need to develop ways to make your job easier. For example an investment banker cannot perform efficiently if he doesn’t know the basic excel or PowerPoint shortcuts that helps to make work faster. That is why most times analysts tend to work very late. This is because a work that should take 1 hour is taking 3 hours because they are still learning and have not gotten a good grip of the skills they need to be efficient on the job.
- Accept Limitations: This is the final step in the time management process. It is important to note that even though you set targets and work hard towards it, you might not accomplish the set target on some days. If this occurs, don’t put yourself down or lose motivation as it is normal. The way forward is just to keep on devising ways to be more productive and also add skills that increase efficiency.