A recent Daily Insight talked about the importance of controlling one’s time – but how does one do that?
One way is to apply lean principles: Determine what your most valuable work is, look at what’s getting in the way and experiment to find the best ways to control time. Get customer or colleague feedback as to what’s working and what’s not. This is far easier said than done.
The most despised but effective lean tool I have worked with is a standard work opportunity called a Standard Calendar. The idea is that by having a set and visible schedule of tasks, one can work to improve the schedule by decreasing wasted time and increasing value-added time. There is often intense resistance to this, either because it’s hard to set and adhere to a schedule (We get important emails to be read and addressed! We cannot predict what problems will come up each day!) or because it’s perceived as micro management. This tool is especially beneficial for managers and should be seen more at management levels than at the frontline. It does not have to be complex; simply using an online calendar to set a schedule and later review results can deliver improvement. Just remember to review the results, be honest with yourself (Was that golf outing as productive as it should have been given the time investment?) and make adjustments where there are opportunities for improvement.
Are you taking specific steps to manage your time? How can you make time management more visible?