Africa is a continent known for chronic time abuse. In fact jokes have been made about it. You often hear someone ask you if you are referring to African time or European time.
It is a common habit for people in Africa to take extra hours to the official communicated time. Why are Africans poor time managers yet we have natural ways of telling time for example crowing cocks, brooms, and shadow movement of the sun.
Today almost each electronic gadget and town road has a clock. Poor time management is embedded in our African culture. Someone can go for a burial ceremony and stays for a month.
A Ugandan minister once proposed a law that would make it illegal to burry if it is not on weekend. Growing the culture of effective time management will start with mindset changes.
The issue with worst time managers is that they do not set priorities. This makes them busy but not productive.
The daily to-do list directs you on what to do than hoping around for what assignment comes your way. Starting a day without a prior idea of daily tasks is a recipe for a stressful day. The to-do list must be updated and tick the accomplished tasks.
Time management should be treated like a personal accessory. If you do not want abrupt meetings or late coming then make it known to those you interact with.
You can emphasize the fact that your meeting is at 8am or never. That way people will learn to respect, and will never waste your time.
It is common for someone to cancel an appointment and they do not bother to communicate the changes. They wait for you to turn up and then they drop the bad news.
Invest in nice ear phones and door communication tools with words ‘Do not disturb’ so you reduce on the distractions.
Understanding your personal weaknesses can foster effective time management. Ask yourself if you are an early morning or evening person.
Some people are productive with their time at specific times. Plan your time accordingly. If you can concentrate better in morning then prefer to meet or do work then.
Wait productively. It is said that People lose at least 20% of their time waiting. Sometimes we have no control over time wasting situations but we can use the moments to do small bits of work.
If you are stuck in traffic jam, read a book, newspaper or emails, and do other assignments.Multi-tasking is another way of time management. It is about doing more than one task at the same time.
Over postponing work also turns you into a poor time manager. Handle tasks as they come and accurately than piling them. This makes you a great time manager.
Time wasters can be relatives, visitors, weird phone calls, and a disorganized living space. Be organized and make sure the keys and files stay in the right place. You may take an hour to find an urgent item.
Decide on what you will and will not do. Learn to say ‘no’. It may be productive to attend a wedding and have a work meeting at almost the same time. Make fewer commitments.
Time is one resource you cannot recycle. H. Jackson Brown Jr. said “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”
There are thousands of free time management softwares and apps.
Great time management translates to improved performance, success, a great reputation, successful relationships and customer satisfaction.
Take some time off to list areas of your life that drain your precious time. Develop case by case solution to those challenges and buy time management equipment.
PR and organizational diagnosis specialist