Posted by: nuleadership | March 3, 2014

Time Management for Professionals

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As I teach working adults at the university level, the biggest complaint is the lack of time to fulfill academic requirements.  Of course, many working professionals must juggle their jobs, family obligations, and other priorities. It’s very difficult to be successful with these priorities. However, being successful is possible. 

Everyone can benefit from good time management.  Let’s examine professionals in the retail business. Professionals who interact with customers must be good stewards of their time.  Yet, most people have so much trouble with time management due to conflicting priorities in their lives in a busy society.

For salespeople, life can be pretty demanding; attempting to connect with customers often means taking away from one’s personal life. Understanding how to navigate one’s time is essential in managing our priorities. 

Salespeople are no exception. Mark Johnston and Greg Marshall, authors of Relationship Selling, maintain that the ability to manage time and territory is essential for salespersons for three reasons: (a) increase productivity, (b) improve customer relationships, and (c) enhance personal confidence.  Therefore, good time management assists salespeople and other business professionals in mapping out their priority obligations. 

Successful people distinguish the trivial from the important.  This reality is true in sales, as well as other industries. In my technical field, I see many people operating in crisis mode because they are engulfed in trivial matters. Working only on trivial matters is unproductive when an individual is ignoring the important things. Time management speaks to what is really important to you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XUmPKxDXfg

Stephen Covey, author of Seven Habits for Highly Effective People, argued that highly successful people know how to manage their time (aka ‘Put first things first’).  He notes, “Effective management is all about putting first things first. While leadership decides what the ‘first things’ are, it is management that puts them first, day by day, moment by moment.

Management is the discipline carrying it out. The successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do.”  Therefore, distinguishing the important from the trivial is part of good time management.

Developing effective time management skills is not a simple or short process. When a salesperson is young and single, he or she has different priorities. The individual may be willing to make huge concessions, such as long hours, to move ahead or make additional income.

Yet, the individual may transition into a different stage, where he is married and has children.  This reality can shift his priorities. Some people balance this strategically. Therefore, different life stages can impact an individual’s time management. 

Discuss your professional experience on this topic. 

© 2014 by Daryl D. Green

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Responses

  1. I have always been a steward of time management. It began as a ploy to find shortcuts in processes while multi-tasking. Then, it developed into only performing those functions I determined to be value added. Then once I joined the military our leaders determined what a priority was and what was not. Then, once I reverted back into the civilian workforce I was back in control of my own time. When life changes began occurring I had to decide to resign from a job as a result of the time I was spending on the road and away from family and friends. The value that I received in additional pay was not enough to compensate for the loss of time with those I love. Now, I find myself in a position that finishing my degree while still having enough time for my family and friends is important to me. I simply have to stop procrastinating and schedule my days in advance in order to accomplish all that is required on a weekly basis.

  2. Time management for professionals
    I totally agree that time management speaks to what is really important to you. One will always put those things first. When fulfilling a life goal or even an everyday task, if it means the most to you, you will definitely get it done on time and to the best of your abilities.
    Mathews et al. (2014) highlights in their article ten time management tips that work for busy individuals like entrepreneurs. Some of these tips include having a to-do list, putting up a “do not disturb” sign when you absolutely have to get work done. Putting your phone on silent and blocking out any distractions from social media sites. Remember that it is impossible to get everything done in one day.
    These few tips can help you to fulfill your obligation on time as long as you repeat the cycle daily.
    Mathews, J. et al. (2014) 10 time management tips that work. Retrieved from http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/219553 on March 4, 2014.

    • Jenelle,

      Interesting! How you spend your time speaks to your priorities. This reality is a hard pill to swallow for most professionals, even me!

      Professor Green

  3. Effective time management skills are imperative for both a professional’s work and home life. Finding the time to “get it all done” can be challenging, especially when additional roles are added in the mix. Such additional roles could be volunteering, participation in school or church committees, or attending school, among others. While all of these things can enrich a person’s life, they can add stress as well since they are competing for part of a person’s 24-hour long days. According to Blackman, (2013), “you can’t stop or save time. You can’t even manage it. Therefore, what you really must learn to manage is yourself.” I find this statement to be very thought provoking and insightful. In my job, I am constantly juggling more issues than I can count, and feel that there is not time to resolve them all. However, if one follows Blackman’s thoughts, the goal would be managing how one handles the workload, as that is the only variable. We have no control over the passing time.

    Blackman, J. (2013). Forget about trying to manage time — Instead, succeed in managing yourself. Central Penn Business Journal, 29(44), 15.

    • Jennifer,

      Outstanding points! Time management can be used in all walks of life!

      Professor Green


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