Everyone has their own method of managing time.  Some are effective, others are not.
But poor time manager can give an appearance of poor management overall. We talked above about allocating time for tasks, but allocating time and being on time are also important.

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 finish 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.  At least working the hours of the other staff and starting a little earlier, which is often beneficial for planning and sorting tasks before the rest of the staff arrive. 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 or record verbally on a phone or voice message any significant events.

Options for Better Time Management might be:

  • Write a list every morning & 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.

Many managers find it most effective to spend the last 20 minutes of so if the day planning out the coming day, when the activities and tasks to do are still in your mind, rather that leaving it too early in the morning before work.  Modern technology with phone diaries and electronic diaries, computer planning and project manager programs make it easy to plan well and even set time limits and alarms to meet targets and move from one planning segment to the next.

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. Use a phone or computer to set time limits and reminders to be sure you fit in to the time schedule. These techniques can also be applied to setting meeting agendas and time frames too so all runs smoothly and targets are met.


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. YOU will work much more efficiently and your time will be used more effectively if the office space is set up properly from the start. Ensure you have suitable equipment, and storage facilities and streamline you methods of doing your work and workloads so you are most efficient. The layout of the office space will add or detract from efficiency and ensuring workstations are ergonomically designed and the environment is pleasant and comfortable will add the greater productivity and worker satisfaction. As manager, having an office of your own where you can shut yourself off from staff for periods of quiet, undisturbed work time  and planning is essential for sooth running of the office and time efficiency.

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.

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