Time Management is the act or process of exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase efficiency or productivity. Time management may be aided by a range of skills, tools, and techniques used to accomplish specific tasks, projects and goals. These include planning, setting goals, scheduling, and prioritising, delegation, monitoring. Time management is a necessity in any project development as it determines the project completion time and scope.
As a self employed person Time Management is hugely important to get tasks underway, worked through and completed. An Action Plan template will help clarify tasks and motivate their progress and this guideline will take you through the steps needed to use it.
As a creative person you might have a hundred and one ideas buzzing
about in your head - this is great, but you can’t do all of these things at the same time, it
takes some planning.
The first thing to do is to get things out of your head and onto paper -
this is simply a “Brain-Dump”. Nothing has to be in any particular order but it will give you
the opportunity to look at the options and make some priority decisions: some things will be
ridiculous, others may need looking at in 2 years time, some even longer; however a few will
be credible and achievable in the short term.
It is these you will need to separate out and
prioritise, but keep it simple, maximise these to 2 or 3 options only.
Choose an option and put down everything that needs to be done
to achieve it, what are the key tasks that you need to do to make that happen?
Again, get all of this down on paper.
Initially the brainstorm might look like a big bowl of spaghetti with no clear
structure and so the next part is crucial. You will need to take a look at each
task and put them into an order so that you have a clear methodology of what
you need to do and in what logical order.
Objectives/tasks: Transfer your key tasks (as above) into the right handside
column of the Action Plan template, starting with the first thing you need to do at
the bottom and working up until you have all your tasks in order on the table.
Action Plan Template
Example Action Plan
You must decide, realistically, how long this goal is going to take you, or
how hard you are prepared to work on it. Or it may be that it is dictated to a particular
time in the annual calendar (ie the Christmas market). Each task that you have
identified needs a deadline and each square/cell running left to right represents a
week in time. Plot in how long each task is going to take you on the grid.
If there is a costing element to an action then add this into the cell. By doing
this you will realise, for example, that a task to be done in 16 weeks is going to cost
you £200, so you are aware you need to be making provision for that spend.
Review your action plan at the end of each week to see what you
haven’t achieved and plot this onto the action plan, marking in major priorities that
have slipped into a different colour code.