Thanks for the eye opening article. I teach my clients very similar strategies. Time keeps moving and life is too short to invest your time in something that does not serve you, empower you, move you forward or bring you joy. Looking forward to reading more.
The Fallacy of Time Management
There have been numerous books and articles written on the subject of time management. The problem is … you cannot manage time. Time is the great equalizer.
There have been numerous books and articles written on the subject of time management. The problem is … you cannot manage time. Time is the great equalizer. We are all given the exact same amount of time in every day, week, month and year. We all get 525,600 minutes per year. That sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? So, why is it that we all complain about the lack of time we have?
The problem is not the amount of time we have - but what we do with it. The fallacy of time management is that we can somehow ‘manage’ or control time. Time will keep moving forward whether you are productive or not. The hands on the clock continue to move regardless of what you do. Instead, you need to think about priority management. You can manage how you use your time and what the priorities are.
In addition, think about ‘time’ in terms of the return you get on what use it for. When we talk about time, we usually use the consumption term of ‘spend.’ You should be thinking about ‘investing’ your time so you end up getting something back for your effort. When you think of time in terms of an investment, you begin to look at your list of things to do differently.
Here are five things you need to do in order to take control of your most precious resource – time. Start working on these areas today.
1. Plan your day in advance. Don’t arrive at work without a plan for what you will focus on that day to move your business forward. It happens to all of us – whether you work in your home or drive to an office each day – we get ready to start working and the phone rings, an interesting email shows up, or something distracts us. The next thing we know we are working on things important to someone else or that we like doing but aren’t necessarily what we should be doing. Before you know it, the day is over and you did not accomplish what you started out to do.
Things come up each day that you simply did not expect and that is just a reality. If you go into the day with no plan then you will be at the whim of whatever comes up. To avoid this problem, take a few minutes at the end of each day to plan what will be your top priorities and your plan for the next day. What do you need to focus on to move the business forward? This is not just a list of tasks you need to do. It must be a list of the priorities to work on your business, not just in it. When you have a plan, you attack your day differently. You are on the offensive to get the right things done for the business – not the defensive, dealing with issues as they land on your desk on in your email. This leads us to the next critical point.
2. Create your two-do list every day. Notice I did not say ‘to-do’ list, which is usually just a list of the tasks you are going to do that day. Instead, decide the two things that, if you got them done today, it would improve your business and make money. Decide what your most important items are and do them before you do anything else. Do not give yourself permission to go home until you have dealt with those two items.
When you work on a priority list like this it will keep you much more focused and effective. Make sure the two items you choose each day will move you closer to your success goal. If they don’t then why would you call them a priority?
3. Practice Selective Neglect. We all have more then enough to do every day. It is almost impossible to get everything you need completed every single day. The practice of selective neglect makes you focus on the priorities that mean the most to your future, not the day-to-day small issues that come up all the time.
Examples of this I see all the time are business owners who do not delegate because they have not trained their team. The owner tells me they simple don’t have time to train and then delegate to their team. They are simply too busy running the business, making all the decisions and working on problems. The principal of selective neglect says you need to push less pressing items off until another time and invest your time training your team. The long-term benefit is you will have a team that can handle the issues you are handling now. You will then focus on the profitable areas of your business, not the daily issues.
This is true for many things, not just training your team. Put off the daily issues while you work on the areas to grow your business. Those small items will still be there when you are ready to tackle them. Set a specific time on your calendar each week when you will deal with the little issues and then get them done and out of your way.
4. Eliminate the distractions from your day. Statistics tell us that it takes the average person about 17 minutes to re-engage in a previous activity after being interrupted. Continual distractions during the day will hinder your productivity and ability to get things done faster than anything else. Find ways to keep yourself focused on what you are working on with limited distractions.
Some ideas include 1) set a time each day when you close your office door and don’t take calls or let anyone in unless the building is on fire 2) Turn off the chime on your email program so it doesn’t go off every time a new email arrives 3) If what you are working on does not require your computer then turn off your computer monitor so you will not get the visual distraction of what pops up on the screen 4) Create a default calendar that sets aside specific time each week for the critical tasks you must do for your business. During that time, you don’t work on anything other than what is scheduled for that time slot. The other things will wait for you!
There are many other ways to do this. Make the choice to be in control and not let the distractions destroy your plan for the day
5. Determine your value and outsource accordingly. Decide what your time is worth and only invest your time on those items. If something can be done better by someone else, then delegate it or outsource it. As the owner/manager, your time should be invested on accomplishing the growth and profit goals of your business. If you need to pay someone else to do a task, figure out what it will cost you and what you would have to do with your time to make enough money to pay for it. You will be surprised at how little you would probably have to do in order to cover the cost.
If it is something you should delegate, determine who in your organization in the best person to do it. If they don’t know how, then use selective neglect to get them trained and ready to take it over so you can focus on those things you should be working on. Remember, profit is king.
We get to choose how we invest, or spend, our time each day. Make solid choices to stay focused on what is most important to you and don’t let the news of the day or the negativity of others get in your way. Any time you waste today is gone forever – investing your time wisely is the best investment you can make. Focus on these five areas to take control of your priorities and you will get more done every day.
Learn more about the author, Dennis Kelley.
Comment on this article
Posted by Vicki Garcia, Everett, Washington |
Oct 17, 2008
Posted by Shahrad Milanfar, Emeryville, California |
Nov 10, 2008
Good article. These are practical tips which will make life a bit easier.
Posted by Harri Jussila, Long Island City, New York |
Dec 30, 2011
Since everybody is given 24 hours a day, the person who is able to master time management will find that he will accomplish more given the same time. A person who is able to leverage upon the times of his employees will also gain more time. Harri - Time Management
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