At work, time really is money, and organisations spend it in different ways. Some expect you to account for every moment you’re on the job. Advertising agencies, law firms and other businesses bill clients at an hourly rate for your time. Other employees may allow you to come and go as you please, as long as the job gets done. Results are what matter — not the clock.
To get an idea of how people regard time in your organisation, look around and follow other people’s leads. Find out what other employees’ and supervisors’ patterns are and what they expect. Always be the first person in the office, and never be the first to leave. And no matter what your excuse is, remember that everyone always notices when you come in late and when you leave early — and they may judge you accordingly.
Taking your time
A good example of how not to manage your time is Gary, a recent university graduate. Gary landed a new position with a non-profit organisation. He was told that his normal working hours would be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, Gary was more accustomed to keeping late-night hours.
At his new job, Gary arrived between 9 and 10 a.m. every day, depending on how many cups of coffee he had. If things were slow, he might bail out of the office around 4 p.m. Often when his boss needed to ask for his opinion or help on a project, she could not find Gary, who was on one of his frequent smoking breaks. His erratic work habits became a morale problem for other employees. They felt that if Gary was coming in when he wanted, why couldn’t they' He was repeatedly warned about his lackadaisical attitude about punctuality and time spent in the office until, finally, the boss determined that Gary had better look elsewhere for a job.
Showing ‘face time’
Some organisations like employees to put in “face time”. This means sticking around the office to make yourself visible, even if you have nothing to do.
On the other hand, some people wear their hours like a badge of honour, even though their long hours are not necessarily a reflection of hard work.
If you are spending too much time at the office, ask yourself, “Am I really accomplishing something or am I wasting valuable time I could be spending getting things done'”
It’s what you do with your time that counts
Others do not value you as an employee because of how much time you put in. They value the results of your work and the bottom line. While he was in his prime, tennis champion Jimmy Connors was notorious for only practising for an hour-and-a-half at a time. His rivals would spend four to six hours on the practice court. Connors didn’t need to spend four hours on court, because he was focused.
At work, if you dedicate yourself to focusing on the task and don’t allow yourself to get distracted, you’ll find that you can get a lot done in a reasonable amount of time. You know, you’re also paying rent on a place with a kitchen, a bathroom and a bed. You should probably spend some time there, too