Surprised business man consulting his watch

Weekly – daily – hourly? For many, it seems that there’s just never enough time in the day to get everything done.

When you know how to manage your time you gain control. Rather than busily working here, there, and everywhere (and not getting much done anywhere), effective time management helps you to choose what to work on and when. This is essential if you’re to achieve anything of any real worth.

Take this Quick Quiz
It will help you identify the aspects of time management that you need to improve. Decide, on a scale from 1 to 5, how well each of the 15 statements below best describes you. Answer questions as you actually are (rather than how you think you should be), and don’t worry if some questions seem to score in the ‘wrong direction’.

(1) Not at All             (2) Rarely        (3) Sometimes         (4) Often            (5) Very Often

1.  Are the tasks you work on during the day the ones with the highest priority?
2.  Do you find yourself completing tasks at the last minute, or asking for extensions?
3.  Do you set aside time for planning and scheduling?
4.  Do you know how much time you are spending on the various jobs you do?
5.  How often do you find yourself dealing with interruptions?
6.  Do you use goal setting to decide what tasks and activities you should work on?
7.  Do you leave contingency time in your schedule to deal with “the unexpected”?
8.  Do you know whether the tasks you are working on are high, medium, or low value?
9.  When you are given a new assignment, do you analyze it for importance and priority?
10. Are you stressed about deadlines and commitments?
11. Do distractions often keep you from working on critical tasks?
12. Do you find you have to take work home, in order to get it done?
13. Do you prioritize your “To Do” list or Action Program?
14. Do you regularly confirm your priorities with your boss?
15. Before you take on a task, do you check that the results will be worth the time put in?

46-75You’re managing your time very effectively! Still, check the next post to see if there’s anything you can tweak to make this even better.
31-45: You’re doing OK but there’s room for improvement. Focus on key principle of time management and you’ll most likely find that work becomes much less stressful.
15-30: Ouch. You got work to do. The good news is that by improving your time management skills you can improve your effectiveness at work and your long term success! However, to realize this, you need to start now. Don’t procrastinate!

Smart Moves Tip:

As you answered the questions, you probably had some insight into areas where your time management could use a pick-me-up. The follow-up post, part 2, gives a quick summary of the main areas of time management that were explored in the quiz and resources you can use for each. Time management is an essential skill that helps you keep your work under control, at the same time that it helps you keep stress to a minimum. It’s working smarter!

Marcia Zidle, the smart moves executive coach and speaker, is host of The Business Edge  on the Voice America Business Network. The show features the Smart Growth System providing small to medium sized businesses the proper foundation for expansion: a Growth Agenda that becomes their roadmap, a Growth Engine that attracts and engages the best talent and Growth Leaders that make it happen. Marcia, the CEO of Leaders At All Levels, brings street smarts to help businesses get on the right track and not get sidetracked on their path to higher performance and profitability.