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Managing Time

What is Time Management ?

Poor Time Management

Everyone has their own method of managing time.  But poor time manager can give an appearance of poor management overall.

Case Study – Adrian is a manager with an accountancy firm.  He prefers to get up early and work from 7am to 10am at home, doing business accounts etc. He then goes to work, arriving at 10.30 each morning. He tells staff that he has been working at home. Staff do not believe him and think that he just likes to come in late. This causes dissatisfaction among the staff.  They also start to realize that he will not be in every day until 10.30, so also start to come in later and later, until often there is no one in the office until 10am.  Adrian is not aware of this until a client starts to complain that no one ever answers the phone until after 10.  He holds a staff meeting and tells off the staff for being late.  This causes real problems amongst the staff who are annoyed that he shows such bad time management, but they are expected to be at work.  They view this as a case of “Do as I say, not as I do.”

Adrian recognizes that the staff are dissatisfied, so holds a meeting to find out the problem. They tell him they do not see why they should be on time when he never is. He explains that he works every day from 7am until 10am at home. The staff tell them how this makes them feel – they do not really know he is doing the work, why should he work at home when they can’t and so on.  Adrian finally realizes how his behaviour appears to the staff.  He agrees that he will come into work at 7.30, but needs time to concentrate on the business accounts, so will not be available (except in emergencies) until 10am.  Staff accept this as they see that he is coming in early. He is happy to do this as they do not disturb him and he can stick work in peace.

So punctuality is very important. It is important to show to staff that you will always be punctual. You will be there for 9am if that is when work is supposed to start.  You will not slope off early when they are expected to stay until 5pm. Or you will leave early when everyone else is rushing around staying late due a big order.   As a manager it is important to show that you are there when you should be. How can you give a member of staff a warning for poor time keeping when you do not keep time well yourself? So it should be a case of “Do as I do”.

Another sign of bad management is forgetting meetings or important dates.  It is essential for any manager to be well organized and plan for events that are coming up. Such as deadlines for reports, staff reviews, meetings, annual leave and so on. Whatever method you use though, it is wise to write down any significant events.

Options might be:

  • Write a list every morning and cross things off as you do them.
  • Use a diary or Calendar.
  • Use an electronic calendar, such as on your computer, i-Pad app, on your phone etc.

Learn to schedule. If you know you have a meeting at 11am that is in a building twenty minutes from where you work, also put that twenty minutes travelling time into your diary.  Allocate a certain time to a task, and try to not exceed that time. You need to allow yourself a little scope to spend more or less time than is allocated on a task.

Set alarms on your phone to remind you that you need to leave the office in five minutes or call someone in ten minutes, for example.

Try to stick to your diary as much as possible. Sometimes things have to be cancelled. It is unavoidable. But the more you can stick to things, the more organized you appear to be and the more organized you are.  Organised people are also often far more efficient in their work than people who spend all day “fire fighting” issues rather than planning how to proceed and spend their time.


Study Business Management and improve your skills at running a small business, or study Office Practices and gain a greater understanding of how offices work, and how they should be organised. Links to these, other courses which may be of interest and our Business and Management course directory can be found lower down this page.

If you are not sure of which course to choose as part of your professional or career development, or you have any questions about studying with ACS, then get in touch with our specialist Business and Management tutors today. They will be pleased to help you and explore the different study options available to you.

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