Do you feel the need to be more organised and more productive?
Do you feel very busy doing a lot and wonder why you haven’t accomplished that much?
These time management tips will help you increase your productivity and help you manage your emotional state around your work load.
Key 1: Realise that time management is a myth
We actually can’t manage time. Time doesn’t change. We all have the same number of hours in each day. Who we can manage is ourselves and what we do with the time we have. So rather than time management, it’s about ‘choice management’ and taking responsibility for the choices made.
Key 2: Know where you’re wasting time
It’s easy getting distracted on things that are time-wasters that steal time you could be using much more productively. What are your time-bandits? Do you engage in conversations that could take half the time? Do you need to attend every meeting you go to? Do you send an email when delivering the message by phone would be much quicker?
Deciding what you cut out that will allow you to invest time where it matters more is the next step. What are you getting out of wasting time? Where could you get those payoffs more resourcefully?
If you are wasting time because you ‘don’t know’ then do something. Make a decision and do something. Clarity comes through being in action.
Key 3: Take control of aligning your results to choices of time
Whatever goals you’ve set (for the month, quarter or another time period), know how to discern what is important and what is not important in achieving the goals you’ve set. It’s easy to get distracted, do other stuff and then point the finger elsewhere. The person to point the finger at is you. Stuff does come up, it always will, yet the commitment to complete, for example, the top 5 priority tasks for the week to meet the milestone goal for the month is the commitment made. Prioritise ruthlessly. Your results will always be a function of what you discern to be important. Are you results accurately reflecting what you actually believe to be important? Remember, your energy flows where your focus goes.
Key 4: Use time as a motivator
Setting goals is one thing, but tracking them over time to see whether or not you are accomplishing them is the game changer. Knowing where you are against your benchmark result score can be the motivator that kicks you into action. For example, if you’re 3 weeks late in starting something in the quarter then you’ve only got 69 days left. Your quality of conversation and decisions required to stay on track can really lift your game and motivate you more than anything else. When there is a score set in time, you’ll likely play a different game provided you keep the promises you make to you, your boss and your team.
Key 5: Set time limits for tasks
Get in the habit of setting time limits, for example, reading and responding to email which can consume the whole day for many people. Instead, set a time limit, and book the time into your daily calendar. Be disciplined and stick to the time blocks you’ve set. If you need dedicated time for something, don’t be afraid to close your door (if you have an office) for quite uninterrupted time so you can maximize your productivity in the time block allocated.
You can be in control and accomplish what you want to accomplish – once you’ve come to grips with the time management myth and taken control of your time.