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Improve Time Management with Time-Estimation Skills

By Dr. Geri Markel On 


Poor Time Management Doesn’t Just Affect You

Frank describes himself as a last-minute kind of person. In fact, he secretly enjoys “cutting things close.”  If he has to meet a deadline, he almost always comes through, even if he has to stay up all night. “I run on adrenaline,” he says. However, when it comes to arriving on time for his son’s football game, responding to phone messages promptly, or paying his insurance bills, doesn’t count on frank. He coworkers aren’t crazy about his “just in time” behavior either. It makes them nervous. They have complained to their boss about Frank’s not being a team player.

Chronic lateness is high on every employers’ list of “no-nos.” Time management problems affect others at your workplace and home.



Poor Time Management Affects Your Personal Life

In addition to negatively affecting your work, time-management problems can have a profound negative impact on your personal relationships. Do you want your kids to remember you as the last parent to pick up their kids or best friends waiting for you to arrive at the wedding? Are you the one that is always 5 minutes late to the team meeting?

Chronic lateness for work and appointments or worse still, frequently missed deadlines and meetings cause negative consequence. The fallout from much problems can cause you considerable anxiety and stress. You often feel that there is something looming over your head that you need to do. Your rely experience the relief of “catching up,” and you often feel driven and out of control.

It takes practice to improve time management skills. Improving your ability to make time estimations can help you prioritize and schedule tasks and helps you plan your day and use your time efficiently.

Here’s a routine to try:

  1. Every day or several times a week, estimate the amount of time you think a particular task or activity will take. (You can do this as a sort of fame: estimate how much time it takes you to select your clothes and get dressed to go out, prepare and eat breakfast, get to work, etc.).
  2. Tie yourself as you complete the task or activity.
  3. Check to see how accurate you were and what interfered with your accuracy.
  4. Try it again.
  5. Check to see if you were more accurate this time.
  6. Try it again.
  7. Ask yourself, “What can I do to estimate time more accurately?”

If others make comments such as, “You’re always late to our team meetings,” then this routine may help. Become your own experiment. It is not uncommon to be so engrossed in one activity that you forget about your next activity (e.g., getting to a meeting).  Are you unprepared to leave on time? Perhaps you need to allot time to find files or organize materials.  Do you schedule some time for transitions when going from place to place or running into traffic?  Using a time-estimation routine can provide awareness about what stands in your way when you want to get out the door to a meeting or other appointment.

What one thing can you change today?


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