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5 Lessons I’ve Learned About Time Management

Posted Jun 07 2012 3:03pm

Time management is a popular topic of discussion. And who hasn’t wished for more time in the day to get things done?

I’m by no means a time management expert. I’ve read about the topic more out of curiosity than anything else.

Stop watch

As a result of my research, I know that common time management techniques include:

  • Time blocking
  • Delegation
  • Prioritizing
  • Saying “no” and setting personal boundaries (ie, knowing your limitations)
  • Using smart phone apps that turn off the Internet for a designated period of time

They’re all time tested and known, when used appropriately, to work.

Yesterday I sat in on a webinar scheduled from 1pm – 2pm EST. As the clock approached 2pm I knew the speaker wasn’t close to done. The webinar host came on the line and reminded him about the time.

To summarize the speaker’s response: This is going over so I can give you as much detailed information as possible. Sorry if you have to sign off, you can listen in to the recording.

While I appreciated his concern about providing us with as much information as possible, I also felt perturbed at his lack of respect for our time.

The expectations had been set for a 1-hour webinar. He even mentioned the timing in his introduction. He knew.

Deadline

I signed off around 2:30. I later learned the webinar ended at 3pm.

No doubt, part of time management is personal responsibility. But how do others fit in? Who is in control?

I stopped taking yoga classes at a local studio because they started and ended 10 to 15 minutes late.

As a speaker I am very conscientious about time. (Thank you Toastmasters !) If I’m told I have 20 minutes, I speak for no more than 20 minutes (less if possible). If I’m told the program starts at noon, I start at noon. Why make those who show up on time wait for others who are late?

  • Add a buffer. When I schedule meetings or phone calls I add a little buffer around the start and end time “Just in case”. I do not like rushing.
  • Respect your own time. Yesterday I had time to stay on the webinar a little longer. I finally shut it down when I knew I had to leave. I’ve also left live meetings for the same reason. When I respect my time I stay in control over my calendar and activities.
  • People have good intentions. The webinar speaker wanted to provide as much detail as possible. His intentions were good. Unfortunately he didn’t communicate that up front. Communication is key to keep the respect of your audience.
  • Speak up. I’ve lead groups where people talk beyond their allotted time. I’ve learned how to “reel them in”, with respect and without embarrassment in order to keep an agenda moving along (again, thank you Toastmasters).
  • Time is not infinite. I received three invitations to separate events tonight! Knowing my priorities and values, personally and professionally, helps me feel good about how I choose to spend my time.

What do you think? Have you ever sat in on a program with a time expectation only for it to go over?  How do you respect your own time? What tips would you share?

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