Time Challenged

Edited by Bob Lapidus, CSP, CSMS

Note:  Time Challenged is an OurBizniss film distributed by Media Partners.  Information is available at http://www.mediapartners.com/management/timechallenged.htm.  Permission has been granted by Media Partners for Bob Lapidus to use information from Time Challenged in this article.


All of us would love to get more accomplished in our daily lives, especially those of us in safety who are trying to prevent losses, comply with government regulations, and implement new programs and activities.  Yet it seems that our lives just fly by causing us not to finish what we try to do.  Here are some tips on how to make our lives more time efficient:

  1. Times does not discriminate against any of us. Use time to its best advantage.  There are always 24 hours in each day.  Everyone has the same number of hours in which to get all of life done.
  2. Schedule visitors and distractions – Ask friends and colleagues to call prior to coming over. Schedule visits around when you need to get your projects completed.  We discussed this subject in a previous article.
  3. Freedom from chaos is a liberating feeling. Organize your project areas and seek to have more control over your project areas.  Put everything into manila files so you know exactly where everything is.  File EVERYTHING in alphabetical order (from A to Z).  Avoid piles AT ALL COSTS and avoid spreading things out.  THROW unneeded documents AWAY.  Keep your project area (wherever it may be) clean, neat, and organized.  Be careful about having personal knick-knacks where you are working on projects.  They literally get in your way. Always put tools and equipment back where they belong.  In this way, you will find them each time you need them.
  4. Manage the phone rather than letting it manage you. Phones can be intrusive.  When you are extremely busy working on a project that should not be interrupted, have calls go directly into your voicemail.  Call back later at a set time.
  5. Handling the same document more than once is a major time waster. Either immediately file away correspondence OR throw it out (recycle).  Don’t put the document down.  They tend to stick to the desk, table, chair, or anything else they are put on.
  6. Always allow time for the unexpected.  Never underestimate the time required to get a project done.  Better to give yourself more time than not enough.  Goal:  Be on time with the work.  PLAN YOUR WORK FOR THE FOLLOWING DAY ON THE PREVIOUS DAY.  Keep a diary and/or a to-do list so you can focus yourself for the day, the week, and your project as a whole.
  7. Prioritizing is the key to time management. Oftentimes we spend our time on the urgent things, not the important things.  Most folks go through their day just going from one task to another without any direction in mind.  Concentrate on achieving results and not just being busy.  Establish SPECIFIC AND REALISTIC GOALS to stay focused on what needs to be done.  Goals will tell you what to concentrate on versus what is merely a distraction from achieving success.  Don’t wait to be motivated, just get started.  DON’T PROCRASTINATE REGARDING DIFFICULT JOBS.  Break the difficult job into smaller jobs (chunks).  If you draw a blank on what to do, SEEK A SECOND OPINION.
  8. Take care of yourself – Maintain a healthy diet, exercise, get plenty of rest, and take breaks when possible. If we don’t take care of ourselves, there is a tendency to make more mistakes and therefore lose precious time trying to get our projects completed.  Schedule regular breaks – They say we tend to work in 90-MINUTE INTERVALS.  At the end of 90 minutes, we need to take a break from what we are doing.  It might be a rest break or it might be a change of task that is being done.  DON’T SKIP MEALS – Eat – Food is our fuel and we need it to be healthy.  EXERCISE – Be sure to do heart and lung exercise to maintain your health.  SLEEP – Get sufficient sleep so you do not make fatigue mistakes.  WATCH YOUR BIORHYTHMS – If at all possible, work to your energy levels, that is, put in the most work at the time of day when you have the most energy (our most productive hours).  Some folks are morning persons, others are afternoon, and others are evening.  If at all possible, try to do your most intense projects during your personal high energy biorhythm times of day.
  9. Don’t Forget the Details. In most things in life, the DETAILS MATTER.  Always check the details to make sure you are doing what needs to be done.  Don’t guess that something is the correct way of doing it.  Find out.  Ask questions, sweat the details.


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For More Information:

Go to www.safetycenter.org for more information about Safety Center’s Safety Management Specialist Certificate.

After completing this nine-day program, graduates may take the exam to achieve the Certified Safety Management Specialist (CSMS) designation. Recipients of the CSMS receive a beautiful plaque and become part of an elite group of safety specialists who have achieved this recognition.  Once this certification is attained, successful candidates keep it for the rest of their lives without any additional requirements or fees.