Time Management

Element Descriptor

This is the process of organising and planning how to divide your time between specific activities. Good time management enables you to work smarter – not harder – so that you get more done in less time, even when time is tight and pressures are high. Failing to manage your time can damage your effectiveness and can cause stress for yourself and others.

Level descriptors

NovicePractitionerExpertNinja
You are able to understand the benefits of basic time management both to yourself and to the group as well as being able to implement some of the basic concepts to prioritise the emails, projects and tasks you need to do that day. This means you are able to respond urgent emails quickly and can estimate how long you think a task may take. You are able to regularly update others in the project team or group related to the work you are doing if you think you might be late or miss a deadline and are able to let others know when you are struggling to meet deadlines or attend events on time.You’re a seasoned time manager who regularly does this effectively for both personal and professional purposes. You are able to balance a few of the short term needs from urgent items that come in unexpectedly with longer-term items that might be able to put off with some guidance from others. You’re fairly experienced at understanding how long things could take and take a conservative approach when committing yourself to tasks that require hard deadlines and delivery dates / times as you know ‘unknown unknown’ events can occur.You have been managing your time for years and have consistently been getting the right balance between a large number of competing priorities that’s cool, calm and level-headed. You are known as someone who rarely if ever misses a deadline or lets others know when it’s not possible and can diplomatically manage their expectations. You know when you take something on that you’ve not done before it’ll take you longer and you always factor that in as well as some time for contingency that means you under-promise and over-deliver.You are known as a time management guru and appear to manage to bend time to your will. It appears to many that you have more hours of the day than most and can survive to balance a gruelling work, activist and home life at a coast. You’ve held motivational talks and can improve the productivity of even the most chaotic and stubborn members of the group.

Element Overview Essay

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Time management, that old chestnut. So the cause of people not having good time management skills is frankly in most social movement organisations, it kind of doesn’t matter. If you succeed or fail, you can always find an excuse for why you didn’t do something, you can play the “I’m burnt out” card, and it kinda doesn’t matter anyway because there are no accountability structures. So people are often not under direct pressure to get better, and so they don’t, because time management sounds awesomely, corporate and productivist. It is regarded with slight distaste in some groups as a mechanism of the bosses, something that we’re trying to get away from. 

But obviously, if you don’t have time management skills you waste a lot of time and time is finite as far as we know. Unless you’ve got a blue police box. 

So how to get better? I think there are any number of books offering any number of useful snippets of advice. I think Dave Allen’s Get Things Done with the 43 folders or however many it is, is super cool. I wish I used it better. 

Maybe share best practice from within your group, develop or use rather collaborative tools. I mean, you may not even need to go full time management. If you just have better collaboration and data management tools, You’ll magically save a hell of a lot of time and morale right there without ever having to become slaves to your Google Calendar.

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