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Bola Owoade

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Book Review – Managing Time


Managing TimeIntroduction

Managing Time is part of the Harvard Press Pocket Mentor series. The book written by Melissa Raffoni looks at some key time management principles which a lot of people will already know about. As is the custom with this series, the book is short and straight to the point and covers topics such as assessing how you use your time, prioritizing and delegating. Altogether the book has 94 pages which includes the content for reading, frequently asked questions, templates that help with managing time, a test to help readers review their understanding of the content and some suggestions for learning more. The book has two parts, each with a number of chapters.

Following is a quick chapter by chapter review.

Part One - How To Leverage Your Time: Assess and Plan

How To Look at The Big Picture: This chapter helps us to answer a key question: the difference between leveraging and managing time. It also challenges us to think about why we do what we do and leverage our time by considering how to get the best value and return from the way we use time.

How To Audit Your Time: This is a very interesting chapter and even though the information in it we will mostly be familiar with, I still found it very insightful. Most people might read and understand this information, but not necessarily apply it and that's where the value of this information is, using it. The author in this chapter writes about:

  • Auditing how you currently spend your time
  • Examining your time spending habits closely for a week to understand how you really use your time
  • Compare your time auditing results to your goals

How To Develop Your Plan: This chapter is all about allocating your time to the activities you need to do, and then checking your target allocation time versus your actual allocation time, in other words comparing what you planned versus what you actually did.

Part Two - How To Manage Your Time: Implement

How To Time-Box: This chapter discusses time-boxing which is an iterative process that helps you to shape your schedule to accomplish desired goals. It has these steps:

  • Create a to-do list
  • Break the list into categories
  • Record your time
  • Build your time-estimating skill
  • Give yourself some wiggle room

How To Manage Your Time: Some of the usual suspects of time management are tackled here, including monitoring and evaluating your schedule and delegation.

How To Overcome Obstacles: Any plan to manage your time more effectively will no doubt come up against obstacles. Obstacles to be mindful of and how to overcome them are discussed in this chapter. They include:

  • Interruptions
  • Disorganized space
  • Procrastination
  • Poorly planned meetings and unnecessary travel

The key message is that you should take the time to recognize obstacles to managing your time effectively and actively work to overcome them.

How To Develop Good Time Management Habits: This is the last chapter and it gives some quick tips on some specific areas like developing effective telephone manners, using email and taking advantage of downtime.

Tips and Tools: This section has a series of frequently asked questions, time management templates used in the book and a multiple choice test to review understanding.

As I wrote earlier, this is a small book, however it does have some good tips which I find useful. The top three learning points for me from the book are:

  1. The challenge to audit your time over a week to see how you actually use your time.
  2. Tips on overcoming obstacles
  3. The various time management templates

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Bola Owoade

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Read more from Bola Owoade

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