Management Training UK

Using forward thinking methods and expert trainers, we show you how to become an outstanding manager and respected leader. Our trainers are all working professionals with extensive knowledge in their fields of expertise.

On this site you'll find all of our top Management and Leadership blog posts and free resources to help with your learning.

Time Management Training

A, B and C TASKS

Time is a valuable resource and one of our management tasks is to get the best value from what is available. However, time cannot be stored, lent or borrowed, the supply is finite. We cannot create more but we can learn how to make better use of that which we have.

There is no formula for managing time: each individual manages in their own way.

To improve time management skills we need to become aware of how we structure our time presently, where the problems are, and then to identify new strategies that are more effective.

A Tasks – Building the Future

These are tasks which are positive and directed towards achieving long term goals. They are the building blocks for the future, are often long-term and are nearly always planned. They tend to have a higher value and so are important – but rarely urgent.

B Tasks – Working in the Present

These are reactive tasks that keep things going from day to day. They are problem-solving tasks through which we deal with people and events as they occur i.e. fire-fighting. B tasks are short-term and unplanned. The long-term value of them may not be so high – but are usually urgent.

C Tasks –Ongoing

These are on-going tasks that we do each day, week, and month. Rather than being planned or unplanned, they tend to be scheduled, done to a regular series of deadlines often set by the system itself. These tasks often represent a large percentage of your total time.

The aim is to balance the A, B and C tasks to provide the best balance between the need to maintain today and build for tomorrow: being flexible and responsive in the short-term while monitoring progress towards what we are trying to achieve in the long-term. To organise this balance there is a need to be aware of the benefits and disadvantages associated with tackling each kind of task.

Establishing and Managing Communication

There are some basic skills that are fundamental to establishing and maintaining relationships whatever the context.

These skills can be summarised as:

  • Listening to others
  • Observing others
  • Self-awareness
  • Self-expression

Listening

It is very rare for anyone to be able to devote all his/her attention to listening.  Most of us are doing a number of things when we appear to be listening.  Some of these things include:

  • Thinking about the implications of what the person is saying
  • Speculating about what the person is driving at
  • Disagreeing with the content of what the person is saying
  • Rehearsing how I am going to reply
  • Imagining what is behind the person’s statement or question
  • Anticipating what the person will say next
  • Agreeing with the person no matter what
  • Feeling affection, hatred, tension, scared, pain etc.
  • Wanting to do something else
  • Hurrying on to the next thing
  • Observing the speaker or something else
  • Listening to someone/something else
  • Withdrawing by simply going ‘blank’
  • Interrupting before the person has finished speaking
  • Internal Dialogue talking to yourself inside your head

Attending to any of the above activities obviously impedes listening.  In some ways being unaware that you are not listening is a bigger problem than simply not listening. For you end up believing that you have all the available information when in fact you do not.

Observing

Much of our communication is based on our observation of others, whether we are talking or listening.  As much as three-quarters of the information available to us in the communication process stems from non-verbal behaviour e.g. tone of voice, facial expressions etc.  The skill of observation is obviously crucial.

One skill in observing is that of recognising signals where body language, voice and words do not match.  It is very common in relationships of all kinds

Particular areas where a mismatch in signals is likely to surface are:

  • Breathing irregularities, sighing, puffing, blowing, caught breath etc.
  • Eyes ‘clouding’, narrowing, moistening, reddening, avoiding eye- contact etc.
  • Feet tapping, held at sharp angle, rotating etc.
  • Fingers tapping, stroking, picking, scratching etc.

There is no sense in which it is possible directly to translate these as indicators of particular hidden feelings or thoughts concerning the relationship, but it is helpful to recognise them as possible indicators that something is being held back.

Self-Awareness

More recently psychologists have increasingly taken the view that the workings of the ‘unconscious’ are not buried in an inaccessible recess of the mind, but rather can be brought out into the open by an increase in self-awareness.

In this sense, awareness involves giving attention to the mental, emotional and physical experiences we have from moment to moment.  The rationale for doing this assumes that our experience of ourselves will provide us with important information concerning our relationships.  It is taken for granted that at most times our contact with the world is coloured with some emotional perspective, and that this too will, if discovered, provide important insights concerning our contact with others.

Clearly, if I know what I am doing and my impact on the other person I can take full responsibility for my behaviour and feelings.

Self-Expression

Very often it is felt impolite or unacceptable to state how we feel or what we are thinking. Sometimes we hold back when we should calming express ourselves during our conversation. When self-expression is contained we can become frustrated, misunderstood and even resentful of situations.

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