Before you start to plan how you are going to get more control over your time, it is important to identify which areas are in most urgent need of attention. Putting the issues into an order of priority and dealing with the most pressing ones first will make your action plan seem far less overwhelming.
Read through the questions and mark yes or no for each one:
1. Are you sure what your main work objectives are?
2. Are you clear about the amount of time you spend on the different areas of your life?
3. Do you know what you will be doing in one year’s time – and in the next three to five years?
4. Do you find it easy to identify which tasks are the most important?
5. Do you spend more time than you should doing routine jobs?
6. Do you find that you have enough time to spend on important thinking and planning tasks?
7. Do you often feel anxious or worried about getting work done?
8. Do you know if you really have too much work to do?
9. Do you always say “yes” to additional work, even if you are fully loaded?
10. Do you cancel leisure activities in favour of work?
11. Do you prefer to do jobs yourself rather than give them to others?
12. Do you see delegation as an important part of your role?
13. Do you plan what and how to delegate well in advance?
14. Are you willing to train and support others while they are learning how to do a task you have delegated?
15. Do you always know whether you have time spare to fit in any additional work?
16. Do you often take work home or stay very late to finish something?
17. Do you find it impossible to get through all the work you have to do in a day?
18. Are you often late for appointments?
19. Do you often put off work till tomorrow?
20. Do you find it difficult to end a conversation?
21. Do you allow people (or phone calls) to interrupt you at any time?
22. Do you feel that meetings often waste your time?
23. Do you have a large part of reading material to tackle?
There are no right or wrong answers to these questions – the activity has simply led you to identify the approaches and attitudes that you already find useful and those areas where you may want to develop new behaviours. The “ideal” time manager would have answered:
“yes” to questions 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12, 13, 14, and 15
“no” to questions 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22
Hopefully the quiz has made you realise that you are probably not such a poor time manager as you might have thought! However it should also have given you some clues about the areas you might find it useful to work on.