We all face the daily dilemma of having too much to do and not enough time to do it. The problem isn’t that you have too much to do – the problem is you are trying to do too much. We all have 168 hours in the course of a week – no more – or no less. Time in not adaptable – people are. Time isn’t out of control – we are. The secret to good time management is good self-management. And the secret to good self-management are good habits. We are adults and we can develop new habits. (Stop doing one thing and start doing another. And the more that you do it – the more it becomes you)
Worth Remembering …
“Besides the noble are of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists of eliminating the non-essentials. – Chinese Proverb.
I’ve put a list of categories together that are proven time wasters. Some of them may carry more weight with you then others. These 7 categories – Goal Setting, Establishing Priorities, Effective Planning, Scheduling for Results, Handling Interruptions, Successful Meetings, Paperwork, Procrastination and Managing Team Time – seem to be the ones that occupy a manager’s time more than others. Over the next few weeks we’ll discuss each one in more detail and post some time saver tips to help you can gain some valuable insight into how to manage your time and your teams time more effectively. (Remember – a good habit is a good result. We are adults and we can learn new habits)
This weeks categories: Goal Setting and Establishing Priorities.
Goal Setting: The way you spend your time defines who you are. Managing your personal and professional life means deciding on what kind of life you want to lead and what kind of manager you want to be. Setting goals and developing a plan to achieve those goals is the key to being a good manager. You not only need to set goals for yourself but you also need to set goals for the people who work with you.
- Determine your daily, weekly and monthly goals. What do you want to accomplish? Write them down on your To-Do List.
- Read your list at least 3 times a day. Once in the morning before leaving the house – after lunch – and at the end of your day just before you nod off to sleep. You need to wake up in the morning with a sense of urgency. You should be going into work thinking about what you need to accomplish today – Who is going to do it – And by what time you expect it to be done.
- Don’t try to keep your goals in your head. Writing them down helps to de-clutter your brain. If you’ve written it down you won’t forget it. By writing it down you’ve made a personal contract with yourself. You’ve made a personal committment to accomplish that goal. I always felt a great sense of accomplishment when I got to stroke an item off my To-Do List after completing it.
Establishing Priorities: Think carefully about what priorities mean to you and about how you decide what is really important. Remember – you will never have enough time in the course of your day, week or month to accomplish everything on your To-Do List. But, you do have the time to decide what absolutely needs to be accomplished today. Try this simple but effective A-B-C System to help you decide when to do what on your list. An “A” item is an urgent item and it needs your immediate attention because it must be accomplished today. Anything that needs to be completed in 2 or 3 days out should be labelled a “B’ item. Anything else on your list should be labelled a “C” item. Never, never, ever work on a “B” item until all your “A” items have been accomplished for that day. If all the of your “A” items have been completed on your list – then and only then can you can start working on a “B’ item. There are a number of systems you can use to help you prioritize what needs to be done and when – the key is being disciplined enough to stick to your system.
Learn to play the what-if game to help you decide which “A” item you are going to start working on first. Look at all the “A” items on your list and ask yourself – If I don’t do this one – what’s the worst thing that would happen? Start on the one that is going to effect you the most. (Next week – Planning and Scheduling)