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Before you all proceed with my post….please take a few minutes to read Cirnelle‘s post onย  “Counting Hours“.

Done? Ok, that’s all I want to say.

LOL. Ok, just trying to be funny. ๐Ÿ˜›

Let’s get straight to the point (i’m actually rushing my work now). Do you agree that if one works late or long hours, it means that one is a good employee? I’m pretty sure most of you will not agree….but how many of you is actually doing something like that or have a boss who thinks like that? I’m sure most of you will say “Yea, I do work late, so i think i’m a good employee” or “I have a boss who only rewards those who work late” or “My colleagues always say that I never do my work because I go home earlier”.ย 

Oh please….we’re no longer in ‘that era’. This is the knowledge worker era. What matters most is your work performance, your knowledge and of course the overall results. If i were to start my own business, i will of course set a timeline for all the employees to complete a certain task…….and to do some proper quality check on the end result. I wouldn’t even bother whether they come to work or not. As long as they are there when there’s a scheduled meeting/appointment…..then i’m fine. Come to work late, go back early or work from home, I don’t mind at all. Why? Because working late or long hours DO NOT mean you’re a good employee.

Let’s see….if you work late…maybe it’s because you have unreasonable deadline…….or, you wasted too much time during the actual working hours? Either way, you are neglecting your private life (family life…friends..etc) when you start to work late. I actually know some people who spend most of their time in office chatting, reading newspaper/online news, surfing, checking shares (ok, i do this, but not that often since the site I used only update once every 1 – 2 hours), watching youtube (that’s why it’s famous), etc (you should know as well as i do ๐Ÿ˜›). In the end, they are forced to work late in order to finish their assignments.

There you go…work late doesn’t mean you’re a good employee. Good end result + good work attitude + work delivered on time = good performance = good employee.

So, start doing yourself a favor…….don’t treat yourself like a machine which works 9-5 (OK machine) or 9-7 (GOOD machine) or 9am – 12am (candidate for employee of the year)…..because you’re a human and not a machine. Fully utilize your working hours, and go back home earlier….regardless of what your boss/your colleagues think of you. A boss will always reward those with good performance, not those who works late but lousy performance.

Again, feel free to post any comments here ๐Ÿ˜‰

Time management is not a simple topic to discuss. Thus, I must stress that the things I am going to say here is not a definite rule and frankly speaking, I myself don’t follow this time management method all the time.

The method that I’m going to discuss is somehow similar to the one I’ve read from “7 habits of highly effective people”. It will serve as a guideline since you will only refer to it and you won’t be able to follow it strictly. I personally don’t believe in the kind of time management where you dedicate a certain amount of fixed time on a particular event. Why? The reason is simple – we’re no longer in elementary school where we have a fixed time period for every class. Once the time is up, the class is dismissed and the school bell rang. No, we don’t have such thing in our daily life as a working professional (unless you have an alarm clock set up for you all the time).

Ok, let’s get down to the serious stuff. Normally, we have few kinds of activities in our daily life.

  • Activities we love to do – to help us relax or make us a happier person
  • Activites we hate to do but forced to do – things which need our immediate attention, like rushing a project
  • Activites we feel OK to do it – to improve ourselves in terms of skills and knowledge, like reading and writing this blog

I live in a society where projects have tight deadlines (sometimes near impossible deadlines and people end up working 18 hours a day), and this kind of activities will tire even the most work-hardened working executive. Such activities fall into the 2nd category – the ones we hate to do but forced to do. It will occupy most of our time (especially on weekdays and especially for workacholics). People get stressed out and ran out of energy fast…and they will escape into the first category – activities which help us to relax or make us a happier person but these activities don’t bring much benefits to us.

From here, we can see that most of our time are allocated for activities in category 1 and 2 and most of us have neglected category 2. In fact, this is the category which we need to improve on. Therefore, try to change your mindset and set this category 3 activities as something which is more important than your regular leisure-but-time-consuming activities of category 2.

So how do you manage your time according to these 3 activities?

First, list down all the activities, and categorized into the 3 groups. Sort them according to the importance (by assigning a number in the bracket). For example:

Category 1:

  • Complete a module for the project – deadline 30-Nov-2005 (4)
  • Settle an issue with the immigration department (1)
  • Settle some banking issues with one of the local banks (2)

Category 2:

  • Read an investment book (7)
  • Read articles on business ‘best practices’ (5)
  • Do tutorial on one of the technology implementation (3)

Category 3:

  • Go movie with friends (8)
  • Play computer games (6)

As you can see, most of the activities in Category 1 cannot be avoided. Those are the high-priority activities. However, from time to time, you can still fit in few Activities from Category 2 and 3 into your timeline.

Based on the above grouping, you know that within a single week (not days…since one day only has 24 hours and definitely not enough for you to carry out all the 8 activities), you need to have those 8 activities in order to make your life a balanced one. Try to fit them into your 1 week timeline and check them out from time to time (if possible, have them carried with you no matter where you are). If you cannot accomplish any of the activities, push it to the following week or cancel it based on the importance.

This is simplest form of time management. You will know your priority and estimate how much time you should commit to each activity. You won’t need to follow strict timeline (unlike most time management method where you need to follow the time strictly). Just manage them as you see fit. Bear in mind, there are times when you need to accomplish some of the “very urgent” activities like answering a phone call, or something happened (example, an accident or mishaps) which need your immediate attention (more urgent than Activity Category 1). If something like this happened, you will need to re-arrange your schedule a little but in most cases, it won’t affect much.

Feel free to post comments on this form of time management.

Editor note: This is just something which has been taught by experts such as Stephen R. Covey. I personally don’t do this as often as I was hoping I could. Yeah, I admit, I’m a quite a disorganized person. ๐Ÿ™‚ย