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Time management tips

Part one

John Harrison Learning and Development Business Partner at YPO

Type ‘time management theories and models’ into Google and you’ll get over 1.4 million results in 0.66 seconds.

Delve into the results and you can quite easily get lost exploring the genius of Stephen Covey’s Prioritisation Matrix or the psychological theories of Flow by Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi and even the innovative State Management approaches of the Think Productive team and others. Suddenly it’s three hours later and that lesson plan still hasn’t been written…

Fine tune your search within and it takes 0.27 seconds to find 2,490 results which is still a lot of reading (and time) to find help on how you can balance planning lessons, marking work and writing up behaviour plans... Aaagghhh the stress levels are rising and still no magic ‘time management’ wand in sight!

This is not a ‘fix all’ article; over the next few editions of Everything Curriculum, I’ll share some techniques that could help you and some further reading and resources for you to explore.

Some ideas may not be relevant for you, that’s fine. All I would suggest is that you look at these and try a couple to see which works for you. Many of the suggestions complement each other, and could be used as a strategy rather than a one–off attempt to reduce Class 2C’s workbooks down to a manageable pile.

16 Workflow not list Pareto Principle

Traditional time management theories focus on tasks to complete and so we have grown up with the concept of a ‘to–do–list’. We all have a to–do–list, at work and at home.

How many of us have used the traditional to–do–list with the different tools such as dots, or marks next to tasks? How many of us feel like the to–do–list is never ending, adding extra dots or moving the priority onto the next page, then the next, then the next!

It’s never ending! Consider thinking about work in a holistic way – look at our work and tasks as a flow of our work rather than individual tasks to complete. Once we look at our work like this, we can then begin to plan and make the best choices as we ask, ‘what’s the next action?’.

The Pareto Principle is derived from Vilfredo Pareto’s observation that only a ‘vital few’ of the peapods in his garden produced the majority of peas.

The Pareto Principle (also known as the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

It’s a common rule of thumb in business; e.g. ‘80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients.’

Using the 80/20 principle, we can start to recognise that not all of what we do creates an equal amount of impact. 20% of what we do accounts for 80% of the impact. This should serve as a daily reminder to focus the majority of your time and energy on the relatively small number of activities that produce the majority of results.

Learning to recognise and then focus on that 20% is the key to success and the key to effective time management.

Richard Koch has written extensively on how to apply the principle in all walks of life. His writings are published on the ‘Buzzle’ website.

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