"Time management" and self-management in industry

Plan your day more efficiently

The world’s economy grows more global every day. Demands for increased productivity are on the rise – again. Individuals take on more and more responsibility. With circumstances like these, employees and managers have to budget their time more efficiently than ever. To answer this challenge, the firm ND SatCom GmbH is offering its employees and managers training in time and self-management. The aim: to teach them how to make the best use of time.

“Stress” has become a buzzword. These days, it’s easy think that if you’re not stressed, you’re obviously not busy enough. Stress can cause illness, professional and personal problems, disrupt your work-life balance and lower your quality of life. Before you know it, you’re not living any more - you’re existing.

ND SatCom, the world’s leading provider of satellite-based broadband VSAT, broadcast and military communications networks, turned to the Winnenden Steinbeis Transfer Center Advisory Services for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses for two reasons. First: to prevent stress from developing in the workplace. Second: appealing development programs always spark interest among managers and employees with their own non-monetary rewards. The Center developed a tailor-made, in-house workshop on “time management” and self-management lasting two days.

The first step was to help the training participants pin down their short-term, mid-term and long-term professional and personal goals. The focus here was on actually doing the right things, not just thinking about the most efficient way of doing them. The next step was a personal activity analysis, where participants pinpointed their personal “areas for improvement” so that they could make the right changes in the right places. Participants had to ask themselves what they used their time for and how they performed tasks.

We often have a false impression of how we use our time each day. Critical self-reflection is an important tool in combating stress and helps us see the situation more clearly. After noting all “time-wasters” and disruptive factors, participants dealt with or discussed the major ones. They assigned priorities to tasks using a so-called ABC analysis. This differentiates between A-tasks (very important), Btasks (important) and C-tasks (unimportant). The Eisenhower principle was also introduced during the training – this goes a step further and divides tasks into four groups according to their importance and urgency:

  • Important, urgent tasks are tackled immediately.
  • Important, non-urgent tasks are scheduled to be performed.
  • Unimportant, urgent tasks are delegated to someone else.
  • Unimportant, non-urgent tasks are discarded.

The next step was all about planning. The participants received weekly and daily schedules. These helped them to learn to keep their desks and noticeboards free of endless post-it notes. The schedules also doubled as overviews of pending tasks, and participants could even prioritize what they had to do. Various calendar and planning systems for drawing up a daily plan were recommended, along with the ALPEN method. The workshop also covered the importance of biorhythms – these differ from person to person and determine your individual performance curve throughout the day.

The participants were asked to think about their decisions – were they made always on time or were they late? Correctly timing decisions is an important skill. Workshop participants learned to make a decision after gathering all the facts they could.

Another aspect of the training explored “delegation as a management task”. If you’re going to actually save time – not squander it – by delegating, you have to ask some thought-provoking questions first:

  • What am I delegating?
  • Why am I delegating it?
  • Who should do it?
  • How should they do it?
  • When should they do it?

A common problem in day-to-day business is the inability to say no. This may be due to a desire to help, or a lack of courage. If they say no, people are often afraid that colleagues will label them as stubborn and egocentric. To counter this reaction, workshop participants learned how to say no and stand their ground. It needs to be said, however, that “no” is a judgement call. You have to weigh that action against your own situation, your own goals, the priority of what you have to do and the time you have to do it in.

This workshop gave employees and managers of ND SatCom the time and self-management the skills they need to plan their days and weeks more efficiently, avoid stress, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.  

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