For those amongst us who use Apple products such as iPhones, have you ever wondered why the snooze function on the alarm is set at 9 minutes? Why not 5? Why not 10?

The answer on the internet, according to most experts (usually self-proclaimed), is that Apple is paying some sort of tribute to mechanical clock makers of days gone by. Those people were aiming for a relatively logical 10-minute snooze time but due to the way in which the gears inside the old-style alarm clocks worked, couldn’t achieve exactly that, so resorted to 9 minutes “plus a few seconds”. Apple, apparently, decided to go with history and adopt the 9-minute standard for their products too.

Whether you believe this or not (it must be true though – I saw it on Google) it shows that from the very start of our day, we have to deal with time. Or for many people, a lack of time. All too often, there just never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done, and we get to the end of a working day with seemingly as much, or more, on the “to do list” as there was at the start of the day. So, is there anything that can be done to solve this issue??

(If you are one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have a time management problem at all, stop reading now – you clearly have it all sorted and can make much better use of the next few minutes by doing something other than reading this!)

Yes, there is! In fact, there are lots of actions you can take, practices you can adopt, guidelines you can follow, and to detail them all here would make a very long blog. So much so, that Prime Strategies offers a course which covers as many of the key thoughts as possible on the question of Time Management. Here are just a few teasers from that training – and even if you’ve seen these before, it never does any harm to hear good advice again…  

Time is Money
Imagine your bank account gets credited every morning with $86,400 but the balance left at the end of the day doesn’t get transferred from one day to the next. Any money left in your account by the end of the day will be taken away and you lose it. How would you most effectively spend that money? I imagine you would probably withdraw and very carefully plan how to use every cent, every single day before closing time. And if you are really smart you would invest some of it for tomorrow. Well, each and every one of us actually has a “time account” similar to this: 86,400 is the number of seconds that we all get every day, whether you use them efficiently or not. Just like money, time is a precious commodity and we need to use it effectively. The clock is always ticking so don’t let any precious seconds get lost and slip away.

Use Time Wisely
Another oldie but a goodie – 20% of what we do results in 80% of the results. So, identify the key activities in your day that create the greatest number of positive results, and concentrate on those activities. KEEP doing those things and, just as importantly, STOP doing the things that don’t create any meaningful or useful outcomes. If you’re wondering what activities or actions to maybe stop doing, consider these “time bandits” that decrease your productivity and effectiveness, and take your focus off your number one priority – “what should I really be doing right this minute??”

  • Unexpected Visitors
  • Emails (and phone calls)…and more and more these days, social media
  • Badly managed meetings
  • Waiting & Travel time (especially if you live somewhere that has a Harbour Bridge!)
  • Confused responsibility and authority (delegation?)
  • No KPIs or progress updates
  • Unclear Communication

Each of these is a topic on its own, but I’m sure you will see some items on the list that may impact on your day, and if that’s the case, please talk to us so we can discuss ways and means of dealing with them.

Be well organised
This is a favourite of mine, as I’m a firm believer in the adage of “tidy desk – tidy mind”. Not just a literal tidy desk or office (or van if you’re a tradie perhaps?) but also a tidy and efficient approach to your role. Another Google “fact” is that the average person spends 45 minutes a day simply looking for stuff! Lost electronic files that you know you saved into a really obvious place last week; actual lost pieces of paper in amongst the seventeen piles on your desk; lost parts or tools in the back of the ute – imagine if everything you needed was exactly where it should be and at your fingertips in seconds. Wouldn’t work life be so much easier then?

No matter how you do it, whether you are an electronic diary user, a whiteboard in your office kind of person, a paper diary fan, or whatever suits you best – it doesn’t matter, as long as you do something! And I also believe that possibly the most important times in anyone’s working day are the first 5 or 10 minutes, and the last 5 or 10. Using those few minutes each day to plan what you are going to do today, and then review what you did (or didn’t) do today, is the most effective action you can take to ensure that your precious time is used to its fullest extent, and that you are running at peak performance.

There is so much more to good time management than this – but talk to Prime if you’d like to spend a few minutes (planned of course!) talking about this really important topic.

The Last Word….

Are you ahead of the politicians and already giving your staff members a 5th week off work each year? No? Think again…. If someone on a 40 hour week uses – no, wastes – just ten minutes of your time each day they actually are at work to do something else (“I’ll only be 5 minutes late today – the boss doesn’t care”, “I’m on my way to the supplier, but on the way back I’ll quickly pop into New World to get something for dinner”, “I’ll just check my Facebook” and so on – it all mounts up) then that is 10 minutes a day, 50 minutes a week, or 2400 minutes per 48-week year….in other words an entire extra week on your payroll although not working for you!