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Analysing a Time and Motion study; Identify your Prime Time

If you’ve completed a time and motion study, now is the time to analyse the results.

  1. Let’s look at the first impressions.
    How many hours a day are you working?
    Are you getting a lunch break or other breaks away from your desk
    What do you notice about where your time is going?
    Do you have interruptions all day, every day?
    Do you find it takes you far longer to do a 5 minute job?
    Are tasks that should be taking you a long time, done in less time?
    How much time during the day are you looking at your email?
    How many meetings are taking up your day?
  2. Is there a particular time of the day when you appear to get more work completed? Or a particular day that is best for completing tasks? The Pareto Principle states that 20% of your time produces 80% of results and 80% of your time produces 20% of results. So you need to identify when in your day or during the week, are you producing 80% of your results in 20% of the time? This 20% is your Prime Time.
    Can you identify in your time and motion study, what time of day is your Prime Time? Even if you are feeling that your most productive time is after everyone else has gone home, is this actually the case?
  3. Is there anything you can do to immediately maximise your Prime Time? For instance, I know that my Prime Time is in the morning, and I work better at admin tasks on Monday and Tuesdays. Yet I’ve had a Careers Clinic Monday nights for as long as I can remember. This meant I would always give myself Monday mornings off, otherwise I’d be working a 14 hour day. But in holding a Monday night clinic, I was losing half of one of my most productive days.
    So for this year, the Monday night Careers Clinic is now on a Wednesday or Thursday, maximising my Prime Time. I balance this with making publisher and client appointments on Wednesdays to Fridays. (I already feel the benefit. I hope you are too – it means that our newsletter should hit your inbox on a Monday, rather than a random day of the week.)
  4. For the things that are stealing away your Prime Time, split them into two categories.
    A) The things you think can do nothing about.
    This might be an Editorial meeting always scheduled on a Tuesday morning.
    B) The things you can do something about.
    Everything else.For things in category B, see if there are any commonalities.  Some strategies for the most common time stealers will be coming up soon.

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