The Caterer

How to become an excellent time manager

26 April 2002 by
How to become an excellent time manager

The nature of the hospitality industry means that managers are often forced to react to events rather than being able to plan things out in advance. Even so, there are ways to manage your time that can help you become more productive and less stressed.

How much is my time worth?

Your time is valuable, as the following tables show:

Cost per minute£0.09£0.14£0.19£0.23
Cost per hour£5.55£8.33£11.10£13.88
Cost per day£44.40£66.61£88.81£111.01
Cost per minute£0.28£0.32£0.37£0.46
Cost per hour£16.65£19.43£22.20£27.75
Cost per day£133.21£155.42£177.62£222.02
*Costs based on salary plus employer's national insurance contribution. Source: learnpurple* How do I start managing my time better? To make sure you and your company get the maximum benefit from your time, first find out how you actually use it. You could keep a time log like the one below for a week.
7.30amArrived at work, chatted with chefs about the weekend, had cup of tea
7.45amChecked bookings, menus
7.55amWaiter called in sick, dealth with cover
…and so on
At the end of the week analyse your results. Even better, ask a colleague to do this for you. Look out for duplication, time-wasting activities, work you could delegate, interruptions, and situations you could have managed differently to take less of your time. Do your activities include crisis management which with better planning could have been avoided? What sort of things can eat into your time? Common "time thieves" include: - Unclear or non-existent goals - Unclear priorities - Fire-fighting - Lack of planning - The telephone - Meetings - Visitors (invited and uninvited) - People you manage/work with/work for - Customer issues - Miscommunication - Work you could have delegated - Indecision/procrastination - Inadequate tools/information/knowledge - Tiredness - Stress - Lack of motivation - Personal disorganisation - Poor desk management - Inability to say "No" What can I do about them? For a start, you could follow our top ten time-management tips: 1. Clear your desk and keep information where you can retrieve it easily 2. Find out how you use your time and think about changes you could make 3. Plan and prioritise your work: is it urgent or important? 4. Use a daily "to do" list, written each evening for the next day 5. 6. Learn to manage interruptions and "time thieves" 7. Have realistic expectations of what you can achieve; then achieve them 8. Ensure meetings are short, well-planned, focused and have clear outcomes 9. Establish a routine for dealing with regular jobs 10. Be decisive - avoid procrastination Any final advice? Remember to concentrate on results rather than on being busy. Another handy tip is to do the things you least want to do first. Use this memory-jogger to help you remember: - Banjoe - Bang A Nasty Job Off Early Produced by in association with learnpurple
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