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3. Time management

Questions for Discussion

  • 1. What is Time Management?
  • 2. Why is time management given so much attention to nowadays?
  • 3. What tasks do managers have to do during the day?
  • 4. What prevents managers from doing their jobs efficiently? Doing a number of tasks simultaneously? Interruptions? Responding to demands that others make on their time?
  • 5. Can time management be taught?
  • 6. How do you use your time?
  • 7. Do you agree that the best way to control time is to log the tasks you have to perform?
  • 8. Do you keep a record of how you spend your working day?
  • 9. What are time wasting activities in your work?
  • 10. Do you think delegating tasks is an essential skill of a manager?
  • 11. What do you do when you want to buy time in case you are behind the schedule?
  • 12. How do you make plans? Do you make daily/weekly/monthly plans?

Target Vocabulary

to make demands on sbs time

to cut sth out

to do sth at the eleventh hour

to turn down some requests

to buy time

to delegate tasks

to log the tasks

to set aside certain times for

to analyze the time log

ahead of time

to re-shape the schedule

work against time

to work out all the jobs that must be done

to make a fuss

to list the tasks in order of priority

to distinguish between important and less important tasks

Vocabulary Practice

Exercise 1. Use your target vocabulary to replace these explanations.

  • 1. to put the tasks in an official record_
  • 2. at the last possible moment
  • 3. to do something in order to delay an event or a decision
  • 4. to reject or refuse to consider somebodys request to do something.
  • 5. to allocate the time for certain tasks.
  • 6. to work as fast as you can because you do not have much time.

Exercise 2. Complete these sentences using your target vocabulary in the appropriate form.

  • 1. Can you ... what these figures mean?
  • 2. A new employee was rewarded for doing his work ...
  • 3. Im sorry for.......about the delay.
  • 4. He is a very conscientious worker. He never submits his reports at...
  • 5. I could neither delegate my responsibilities nor ... them ... because I was thinking about the company goals.
  • 6. His day is usually busy, because many people ... on his time.

Tips for Topic Development

Text 1

The work of managers is fragmented. During the day they have to do a number of tasks, some fairly trivial, others highly important. The problem is that very often managers find it difficult to distinguish between really important and less important tasks. Another difficulty is that managers must constantly respond to the demands that others make on their time. For example, just as they are ready to tackle a report, a customer will ring up unexpectedly, or a friend will drop by their office for a chat. In a word, there is always something or someone to divert them from what they should really be doing.

The best way to control their time is to find out where the time goes. The usual method is to log the task managers have to perform. One way of logging time is to note down all the activities and indicate how long they take. Managers can always analyze their time logs and rethink their work schedule by getting rid of unproductive or time-wasting activities. Besides, a manager must learn how to delegate tasks to create more time so that he can attend to important tasks.

There are certain ways a manager can control time: to set aside certain times for important tasks, to work out the jobs for the coming week and list them in order of priority. He can also set deadlines for carrying out important activities.

Agree or disagree with these statements.

  • 1. Managers cant possibly respond to all the demands that others make on their time.
  • 2. Managers are usually diverted from what they should be doing when they least expect it.
  • 3. The best way to find out where the time goes is analyzing logs.
  • 4. Analyzing time logs doesnt guarantee the improved performance.
  • 5. Time-wasting activities cant be avoided.
  • 6. Its useless to delegate your responsibilities to attend to other tasks.

Text 2

Personal Time Management is about controlling the use of your most valuable (and undervalued) resource.

The absence of Personal Time Management is characterized by last minute rushes to meet deadlines, meetings which are either double booked or achieve nothing, days which seem somehow to slip unproductively by, crises which loom unexpected from nowhere. This sort of environment leads to inordinate stress and degradation of performance: it must be stopped.

Poor time management is often a symptom of over confidence: techniques which used to work with small projects and workloads are simply reused with large ones. But inefficiencies which were insignificant in the small role are ludicrous in the large. You can not drive a motor bike like a bicycle, nor can you manage a supermarket-chain like a market stall.

The reason Time Management is poorly practiced is that it so seldom forms a measured part of appraisal and performance review.

Personal Time Management has many facets. Most managers recognize a few, but few recognize them all. There is a simple concept of keeping a well-ordered diary and the related idea of planned activity. But beyond these, it is a tool for the systematic ordering of your influence on events, it underpins many other managerial skills such as Effective Delegation and Project Planning.

Personal Time Management is a set of tools which allow you to eliminate wastage, be prepared for meetings, refuse excessive workloads, monitor project progress, allocate resource appropriate to a tasks importance, ensure that long term projects are not neglected, plan each day or week effectively and to do so simply with a little self-discipline, (by Gerard M Blair, Personal Time Management for Busy Managers)

Say which of the statements below are true and which are false.

  • 1. Personal Time Management is about controlling the use of time in an organization.
  • 2. The meetings that are double booked are the result of good time management.
  • 3. The methods of managing time in a big company are similar to those of a small company.
  • 4. Very few managers understand the role of time management completely.
  • 5. A well-ordered diary is a good way of personal time management.
  • 6. Personal Time Management is confined to refusing excessive workloads.
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