For many managers, everyday life is characterized by meetings that follow one another. It is difficult to get from meeting to meeting, and it is difficult to find the time for preparation. All too often you are interrupted or have to decide on an urgent matter. This means that the preparation is all too often almost non-existent. Far too many projects run aground or end up with missed deadlines. How do you get out of the vicious spiral?
It’s about being realistic with your time and your tasks, so you can make a plan that lasts. Here you get four steps to plan your time effectively.
1: Find out where it goes wrong.
To find out where it’s going wrong, you need to know what you’re spending your time on. Commit for a period of time (eg a week or a few representative days) to record what you plan to spend your time on and what you actually spend it on.
Record things such as effective working time, telephone conversations, interruptions, preparation, urgent tasks, etc.
With the registration you can find out:
If you reach the planned.
How big the agreement or discrepancy is between what was planned and what you actually spent the time on?
How much time do you actually spend on unplanned tasks?
How much time you should set aside each day for yourself and in that way make a time-realistic plan with time for the unplanned?
Never plan more than 60% of your time. Research shows that up to 40% of our working day is spent on unplanned tasks. Therefore, take this into account in your planning.
2: Time budget
Just like in your personal finances, you must also set a budget for your time if you want to be able to plan effectively: What expenses (tasks) and income (time) are there?
Typically, during your day there will be meetings and other fixed appointments that you cannot plan yourself. Make sure you keep track of these appointments and find out how many hours you actually have to deal with.
Remember to also take the 40% rule into account in your budget. The calculation below illustrates the rule:
A working week of 40 hours corresponds to 8 hours per day.
If you deduct lunch, there are 7.5 hours left.
Subtracting 40% from this leaves 4.5 hours of real work time left to sort out the tasks on your to-do list.
So if you plan 6-7 hours of work every day, it’s no wonder that your plan rarely sticks.
3: Make a time-realistic to-do list
A time-realistic to-do list depends on four steps:
Set a deadline. Planning, prioritization, and level of ambition depend on when you need to finish.
How long will you spend on the task? If it is a larger task, you can advantageously divide it into smaller parts.
Select ambition level. Choose a scale e.g. 1-5 or 50 to 100 percent, so you can quickly show yourself how many resources you need to use on the task. – How “good” does it have to be good enough?
Priority. Which tasks are important to get done today?
Need more inspiration for your to-do list? Here are 11 tips for a product to-do list
4: Take the time to plan – you’ll never get it
Frequent objections to planning are that it takes time and that the plan rarely lasts. And yes, it takes time, but that’s nothing against the time it takes to put out fires and try again and again to create an overview. Studies show that you reduce your execution time considerably when you take the time to plan.