Time management is not simply about making the best use of your time here and now, and in the foreseeable future. It is also about planning to ensure that the unexpected does not leave you sitting on your hands waiting for someone else. It also means making sure that your time and efforts are not totally consumed dealing with an emergency.
Life has a habit of catching you out – no matter how well prepared and organised you feel you are, there is always the risk that you have left at least one base uncovered.
Time Management and Contingency Planning
It is times like this that you fall back on your contingency arrangements and find if they work as well in practice as you hoped for. Contingency arrangements should be clear, yet sufficiently flexible and adaptable to cover the unexpected.
With "swine flu" in the news and a widespread outbreak perhaps imminent, now is a good time to make or review these plans – but of course you should think also about other disasters that you might be called to cope with.
Unless yours is a one-person business, then you should ensure that as much as possible it can function well without you, which in turn means testing that it can do so when you are present. You should be confident that your plans will allow the continuation of core tasks. A high priority is making sure that your customers do not feel disadvantaged – very often they have the lowest tolerance level.
Contingency arrangements can be varied, but normally includes building in flexibility on an on-going basis – this can be a good opportunity to encourage the routinely efficient use of assets and good time management.
How would your business function if you, or key employees, were out of action? What would be the effect of losing say all power to your premises? Have you considered which are the key components in your business – and have you thought about alternative means of supply?
Are you well prepared? Would your employees be left kicking their heels and wasting their time? Or would your staff use their time profitably – and do so quickly, efficiently and effectively?
Worse still, would your customers go elsewhere?
Contingency Planning – Advantage from Adversity
Do not restrict your contingency planning to coping with disaster – although this should be your immediate focus. It is also wise to be prepared to handle a sudden increase in business.
Someone else's disaster may be your opportunity, and whatever your attitude to taking advantage in this way, their situation might be terminal, or beyond you ability to assist. If you do not take advantage of the situation, then it is almost certain someone else will.
An all-inclusive and tested contingency plan is a characteristic of good time management. It can even be about making sure that you, amongst your competitors, make the best use of such times. Are you ready for that?