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Analyzing Time

Estimating Value

To find out the cost of each minute of your time, multiply your annual salary by 1.5- to include overheads- and divide the total by the number of working hours in a year (working hours per week time's working weeks per year). Divide this total by 60.

1.5 * Annual salary/Working hours per week = Cost per hr

Cost per hour/60 = Cost per minute


Think through your day while making your way to work

Always delegate tasks which are not time-effective for you to do

C) Keeping A Time Log

Maintaining a daily log of how much time you spend on particular activities is fundamental to managing your time more effectively. You may be surprised at how much time you spend chatting, and how little time you spend working and planning. Your time log provides you with a starting point form which you can assess areas to improve. How long you should keep a time log is dependant on the nature of your work. If you work on a monthly cycle, keep the log for a couple of months. If your work cycle is weekly, a two- or three-week log should suffice.

Timing Tasks

Compile a simple time log by dividing your day into 30-minute chunks and recording exactly how you spend your time. This will help you determine how much time you spend on useful and unnecessary tasks.

D) Reviewing A Time Log

To analyze your time log, allocate all of the 30-minute time chunks that you have recorded into categories according to the nature of each task, such as meetings, reading and replying to mail, helping colleagues, or making phone calls. Now calculate the percentage of your time spent on each task. This will give you a better picture of your working day and will enable you to access how you can allocate your time more affectively.

E) Breaking Down Tasks

Look at the categories into which you have allocated your tasks, and divide them into groups: routine tasks (for example, writing a regular report), ongoing projects (for example, organizing a meeting), and tasks that would further develop your job (for example, making new contacts). Work out the percentage of time spent on each group.

Allocating Time

To be most effective in your job, you should:

Spend about 60 per cent of your time in planning and development

25 per cent of your time in ongoing projects

15 per cent of your time in routine tasks

In fact most people allocate their time in exactly the opposite proportions.

F) Looking For Patterns

Now that you have established how your time is being allocated, ask yourself if the breakdown meets your expectations of your working day. Are you spending too much time on routine tasks, rather than concentration on the important planning and development tasks? Look at the distribution of these tasks throughout your working day. Are there times when you are really busy and others when you are slack? If so, try to find ways to reorganize your working day so that you are able to work more consistently and efficiently, and achieve more.

G) Estimating Efficiency

How close is your work pattern to the idle 60:25:15 time distribution shown on facing page? If you find you are spending too much time on one group of tasks to the detriment of others, work out how you can reorganize your daily schedule so that your time is distributed more sufficiently. For example, if you find you are spending time on tasks that could easily be done by a junior, delegate them. This way you can concentrate your energies on the areas in which you are not spending enough time.

Questions To Ask Yourself

1) Do I do work that should be done by somebody else?

2) Are there patterns that repeat themselves in my time log? Am I always involved in routine tasks in the morning?

3) Do jobs frequently take longer than I expect them too?

4) Do I have enough time to be creative and innovative?

Manik Thapar

About the author:

Manik Thapar (MBA)


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