Time Management Resources

Time Management Exercises

Exercises that help you create time

Time management exercises -

These are great time management exercises to keep you fit for managing your time. These exercises will help you ensure you are spending your time where you want to. We beleive that you need to do use exercises such as these on a regualr basis to ensure your time management fitness is where you want it to be, just like you need to do to maintain physical fitness. Try these and see how much you improve your time management.

Based on the feedback from our clients and readers here are 3 activities that will help you get control of your time.

Our 3 most useful Time Management Exercises are:

1. Time Flies -- Estimate BEFORE you start how long a task will take (when finished) compare with the actual

2. Find out where you time really goes -- Track your time for 2 weeks

3. Connect your plan to your goals

Time flies time management exercise

1. Estimate BEFORE you start how long a task will take (when finished) compare with the actual

The first of the time management exercises involves finding our how well you estimate the actual elapsed time a task will take. Most people who do this exercise give us the feedback that they significantly under estimated how long things take. This creates a new awareness of where there time goes and what to do about it.

Almost all of our clients and readers experience the same thing when they try this exercise. They realise that they under estimate, by a long way, how long it taks to do the task they set themselves. It is much easier to get control of your time when you are able to accurately estmiate how long tasks will take. Most people never develop this time management skill. This activity is designed so you can find out how well you estimate the time a task will take and to help you improve your time estimation if needed.

The basic activity is to pick a task (I suggest you start with a relatively small task that will take less tahn one our). Estimate how long you think it will take to complete it. This is elapsed time, from when you start until you are finished. Then time yourself. Do the task. When finished see how much elapsed time you actually needed. Do this for 5 tasks over a week. When you get quite accurate with smaller tasks, try estimating a bigger task. You may need to plan this out and break it into blocks of time over several days.

When you have completed this process for 10-12 tasks, take 20 minutes (away from your desk) to reflect on what you do differently to manage your time now that you are more accurate at estimating the time it takes to complete tasks.

Where does your time go time management exercise

2. Find out where you time really goes -- Track your time for 2 weeks

Our clients tell us this time management resource is extremely valuable. Most don't want to do it initially, but all get great benefit from this time management activity.

Time tracking should be simple and only take a few minutes a day. I used to do with this with my sales teams. You have probably heard (and it pretty true) that sales people hate paperwork - so tracking their time was not something they wanted to do. So we came up with a simple, yet powerful way to track time. It takes about 3 minutes a day when you follow the guidelines.

Here are the instructions for using the time management form for tracking time.

Step 1 -- Identify between 5 and 10 KEY categories for the activities you do. Some examples are: meetings, email, paperwork, staff management, personal, planning, travel, interruptions. There will also be specific activities for your role. For sales people would include prospecting. We suggest that Personal and Planning MUST be included.

Step 2 -- Click on the tab 1 on the bottom of the page. Print this form. Use one page per day. Simply place a mark in the 15 minute block under the category. So if you are in a meeting from 7am to 9am you will have 8 marks from 7am (takes just a few seconds). You can take these written sheets and put them in this spreadsheet ( a day for each tab below) to get totals and graphs. Just put a 1 in the cell. All the adding and the graphs will happen automatically.
You can send the data to us by fax 03 98904790 and we will do this for you for free :-)

Step 3 -- Analyse the information. Where is you time going? What patterns do you see? What are you avoiding? What have you already changed just by tracking your time? How much planning do you do?

Step 4 -- Decide on what you want to change, create a plan and take immediate action!

Download the time tracking time management form

Connect your plan to your goals time management exercise

3. Connect your plan to your goals

The next of the time management exercises comes from the Franklin Covey time management system. Stephen Covey (author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) feels it is very important to make sure your time is spent doing what is most important to you and will help you achieve your goals.

The major benefit you get from this time management exercise is to get out of the 'busy loop' . That is, to stop yourself from getting caught reacting to the day-to-day situations, without seeing how they fit in to the big picture.

This exercise involves reflecting on your daily, weekly, monthly plan and identifying which activites help you progress to achieving your monthly, quarterly, yearly and/or life goals. This highlights a few things. Firstly, are you clear about your goals! Assuming that you are, then this exercise highlights if you have a day, a week or a month where you are doing very little to progress toward achieving your most important goals. Once you become aware of this you can change things. I have feedback that this time management exercise has helped people realise why they used to say 'where did that day or week (or longer) go?

Let me outline the steps for this time management activity.
1. Complete your plan as you usually do (if you don't do a plan at the moment check out the Ideal Week section of our time management activities page.
2. Change your mindset to 'big picture', like looking down from 10,000 feet. Reflect on your plan overall, rather than focusing on the individual tasks. Now get out your written goals (by month, quarter, year or longer - whichever suits you) and read them.
3. Physically number your goals and then write the goal number next to the task that helps you achieve that goal. Reflect again on your plan. Is it a good plan for you?
4. Look at the plan again. Is there at least one task for each of your goals? Should there be? Are you tasks (and/or your goals) all in one area of your life, like maybe work?
5. Change your plan to connect the plan and the tasks to achieving your goals

More great Time Management Information
Lots more time management tools, tips and resources to help you save time

Time Management Quotes -- Time Management quotes that inspire. Famous people on time. Quotes about time that make you laugh.

Even more Time Management Quotes -- Needs a quote for your site, article or book. Look through our pages of time management quotes

Time Management Articles -- A comprehensive library of time management articles with information that really saves you time.

Time Management Books -- Reviews of time management books to save you time working out which books you should read.

Time Management Exercises

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