Question of Productive Use of Time

Time management refers to the development of processes and tools that increase efficiency and productivity. Benefits of becoming more time conscious include increased job satisfaction, increased productivity, improved interpersonal relations, better future direction, reduced stress, and enhanced health. In order for supervisors to make better use of their time they must plan and prioritize, analyze how they use their time, make a list of tasks in order of importance that must be accomplished, set objectives and work to deadlines, commit plans to paper, and limit face-to-face contact.

A major force in the productive use of time is planning and setting priorities, along with proper delegation. When analyzing how you use your time, check up on yourself and keep a record of how you spend your time. When you have sufficient information to work with, sort the results and determine the amount of time spend on routine tasks, unscheduled tasks, and tasks that could be considered emergencies. This information shows which tasks are candidates for delegation and which tasks you must perform. Making a list of tasks in order of importance that must be accomplished allows supervisors to stay on track. Supervisors should complete one task at a time before moving on to the next. This also helps with limiting distractions. Working toward an objective and setting reasonable deadlines is important to complete tasks. Write down plans on paper and get in the habit of planning for the following day. You can revise your plan to reflect current requirements as needed.

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Face-to-face contact can waste time because employees often engage in excessive small talk and social conversation. A certain amount of social conversation is essential for good interpersonal relations, but supervisors should make every effort to stay on business in contacts with employees and coworkers. One of the most important tasks supervisors should make is developing a relationship with each employee; however, talking basketball for an hour with an employee that is a fan is a clear waste of time. It is also important not to waste their time by delaying them to complete their tasks. When communicating and making better use of time with employees, supervisors should utilize the telephone wisely, conduct meetings only when necessary, planned and organized with specific purposes in mind, and organizing paperwork in categories such as immediate attention, research or extended effort and non-critical items, and items that can safely be discarded.

Time management and stress management are inseparable activities. By being a supervisor and leader, stress may arise due to the large responsibilities you are faced with. Stress arises from work activity in a number of ways including emergency tasks arising, work piling up and not getting caught up, tighter deadlines, problems arising with employees, working in the midst of disorganization and confusion, and working in an environment that is regularly exposed to illness, pain, trauma, and death. With effective time management, the pressure of too much to do in too little time is reduced; therefore, reducing stress. Time management is an important element of stress management.

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