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The effective time-manager – a diagnostic activity


TrainingZONE Library author Andrew Gibbons has produced a range of best-selling materials on mentoring, learning and development within organisations. This diagnostic activity, which follows those published at the end of last year and which can be used in a variety of situations, gives a special taster of what's on offer.

Read the following statements describing specific time management competences, and answer as best you can, on the basis of how you think you rate as a manager of time.

Tick or cross each statement - tick = true of you, cross = not - the more ticks, the more effective your time management skills.

  1. I can concentrate on getting one thing done at a time, and avoid ‘task-hopping’.

  2. I know my most and least productive times of the day, scheduling work accordingly.

  3. I respect others’ time, meaning I am just a little more likely to get this back from them.

  4. I am prepared to be firm with people when I need, in order to protect my time.

  5. I put effort into getting and staying and looking organised so I can focus on tasks..

  6. I set specific deadlines for everything, and I take these seriously..

  7. I clear my work space of everything other than that on which I am working at that time.

  8. I am realistic about what I can get done, allowing myself the time I need for tasks.

  9. I take breaks, without guilt, when I need them.

  10. I prioritise effectively, being clear about which tasks need to be done ahead of others.

  11. I delegate without hesitation, freeing up time, and ensuring I do only what I should.

  12. I recognise when I am wasting time, or not using time well, and correct this.

  13. I don’t overload myself by setting myself more to do than is realistic.

  14. I reflect often enough on my use of time to make improvements to this.

  15. I deliberately observe and learn from others’ management of time to improve my own.

  16. I make sure I allow more time than is given to tasks than I feel they really should need.

  17. I avoid absolute perfectionism whenever this leads to more time on a task than it needs.

  18. I have developed a reputation for managing time positively.

  19. I do not find it hard to say ‘no’ to anyone when I need, in order to protect my time.

  20. I am familiar with the technology I have to hand, making the most of this to save time.

  21. I am not a hoarder of paperwork or anything else that clutters my workspace.

  22. I don’t let drop in visitors, or distracting phone calls interfere with my focus on tasks.

  23. I have put real thought into the layout of my workspace to help get me organised.

  24. I know what an hour of my time is worth – within the nearest pound, including overheads.

  25. I don’t get overawed by the size or complexity of tasks – I know they all break-down.

  26. I am very clear about where my time goes – and how much is spent on specific tasks.

  27. I do not attend meetings that I feel are not a good use of my time.

  28. I don’t confuse activity with productivity, I know achievement counts more than what I do.

  29. I am keen to learn more about managing time, and how to improve the way I do this.

  30. I leave time within my busy day for the things that come up unexpectedly.

  31. I do not put off tasks I find unpleasant, or know I will find difficult in favour of easier stuff.

  32. I feel that time spent reflecting and planning is not dead or unproductive time.

  33. I am always on time for appointments.

  34. I can scan read complex documents to save time.

  35. I make and return phone calls in batches, never one at a time.

  36. I never allow anyone, whoever they are, to dump work on me they should do themselves.

  37. I regularly review the way I spend time, looking for, and finding ways to improve.

  38. I am assertive, meaning I can skilfully stand up for my rights without upsetting people.

  39. I can generally distinguish the urgent tasks from the important.

  40. I can find time and space away from distraction for when I really need to focus.

  41. I am able to consciously control my body language so as not to prolong conversations.

  42. I give myself sufficient credit when I manage time well – it’s not all beating myself up!

  43. I maintain a positive balance of work and home time – I don’t do too much work at home.

  44. I am prepared to seek advice on how better to manage time from those who do this well.

  45. I am clear about my objectives, both long term and tactical, and focus on these.

  46. I feel generally in control of my time.

  47. I finish one task before I start the next.

  48. I am finding it harder and harder to my manage time.

  49. I have competent, supportive immediate colleagues, who take some time pressure off me.

  50. I really can find more time if I put my mind to it.


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