itSMF USA member, Susan Schellhase has reviewed Essential Time Management and Organisation.
With all the productivity tools at our disposal today, including mobile devices to stay connected anytime and anywhere, you’d think we’d actually feel more productive. But those tools can also provide distractions, as well as set expectations for immediate response. Combined with ever-shrinking budgets and the expectation by our executive management to do more with less, being organized and able to use time effectively is now a requirement just to survive, much less to excel.
Sarah Cook, the author of Essential Time Management and Organisation: A Pocket Guide, provides several tools and techniques to help the reader organize their time and meet their goals. Included are a couple of very simple self-assessment tools to measure the reader’s time management skill level as well as when during the day are they at their productive peak.
The book suggests a focus on the macro view, advising we set SMART objectives on a monthly basis. We should then define and prioritize tasks to meet those goals based on a matrix of Urgency and Importance. She presents the OATS process (Objectives, Activities, Time, Schedule) to break down the macro goals to monthly, then weekly, then daily activities. To be honest, my SMART objectives are usually only visited twice per year – during the annual and mid-year performance cycles. I love the idea of setting and reviewing these on a monthly basis.
This truly is a pocket guide, covering and summarizing concepts which most of us are familiar with. It is by necessity short (40 pages) and to the point but covers the major components of time management:
- Setting objectives, goals and priorities
- Planning time
- Avoiding time-wasters
- Email management
She ends with a summary of the 34 points covered in the book, along with a challenge to select just two ideas to implement immediately. In one month’s time, assuming we are determined and disciplined (big assumption!) a new, good habit can replace a bad one, increasing our time management skills, productivity, and value to the organization. I selected these two: 1) Make sure you complete a monthly plan, as well as a weekly and a daily plan, and 2) Recognize your peak energy time, and use this to achieve your most important and urgent, or difficult, tasks.