Point of Beginning

Finding Time

April 4, 2000
Editor's Note:
"A man who wastes one hour of life has not discovered the value of life." Charles Darwin.

Time is the great equalizer; we all have the same amount: 24 hours a day. It's what we do with that time that separates the successful from the not-so-successful. Some people can accomplish an enormous amount of work each and every day. Others spend their time spinning their wheels and chasing their tails. I fall somewhere in between. I can get a lot done (especially around deadline); I also tend to procrastinate (when deadlines seem far off). I knew I could do a better job of managing my time.

In February, I was privileged to attend SurvCon 2000 in Atlantic City, put on by the New Jersey Society of Professional Land Surveyors. Among the many interesting seminars they offered was one entitled "Time Management." I signed up for the four-hour session. I'm glad I did.

Presenter Jim DeSena of Diamond Associates, a training and development company in Westfield, N.J., had many tips and strategies for more effectively managing time. The key, he says, is setting goals and objectives. "After all, you can't plan how to get there until you know where you're going." According to DeSena, a worthy goal is specific, measurable, realistic and can be completed in a reasonable amount of time.

Once you set your goals, you can start to plan them. "Time spent on planning is never wasted," he says. Planning for the short-term and the long-term will actually save you time in the long run. Other ways to squeeze more time out of your day: be prepared for changing priorities, analyze tasks and interruptions and get organized. I especially liked his tips for handling papers that cross your desk. DeSena says each piece of paper should be handled only once; either toss it, give it to someone else, do something with it or file it. Periodically go through your files and if you haven't referred to a piece of paper in so many years, throw it away-you won't miss it.

Although I haven't implemented all the strategies I learned in DeSena's seminar, by simply organizing my office and spending a few minutes each day planning, making lists and goal-setting, I've found "extra" time I didn't know I had. I strongly recommend you take the time to learn about time management. You'll be glad you did.