Brought To You By Emily Parks
Productivity Consultant at Organize For Success, LLC...
Helping You Make Every Minute Matter!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Manage Self, Rather Than Myth of "Time Management"

 Chances are good that you've attended a presentation about time management, read about it in books or magazines and tried to use some sort of planner or app to "manage" your time. You may ask yourself why, with all your acquired knowledge and all the related tools at your disposal, do you still struggle to get everything done. Well, I'd like to share a thought or two about this with you.

I believe that there is no such thing as time management. Yes, it's a great "buzzword" that evokes the image of someone in control and able to accomplish all that is intended for the day. However, everyone is gifted the same 24 hours in any given day, and it's not about managing that time. No one can control time; it's going to keep ticking away regardless of what you or I do. Instead, I believe getting more done is more about managing oneself as it is much more realistic to control ourselves than the hours in any given day. Manage yourself, not your time.

As we work to get more done in less time, there are specific steps we can take to manage ourselves. Here are a few of the many such steps we can take:

  • Complete a weekly strategy session where you create a game plan for the upcoming week's tasks, appointments as well as opportunities for personal and professional development. Instead of prioritizing your schedule, schedule your priorities; focus on making time for what is important.
  • Start each day with a written list of 3 - 5 "must do" items. Plan your work and work your plan to be more effective.
  • Wrap-up each day by evaluating which action items got done versus need to be carried over to the future and, then, schedule the carryover items to be done on specific dates since "every what assigned a when is more likely to be done".
  • Put a stop to procrastination and build momentum by starting on your bigger projects. Set a timer for 15 - 30 minutes and work hard for that shorter duration with a burst of energy.
  • Batch tasks so you are completing "like" actions in one, lump grouping; for example, return all calls back-to-back, process all received emails together at set times and schedule errands so you complete all your running around in a single trip.
  • When you block off chunks of time for completing what actions are important for achieving your goals, be sure to include buffers for travel as well as "unexpected" opportunities or hiccups.
  • Be fully present for each scheduled task or appointment, focusing on the individual, group or activity in front of you rather than thinking ahead or multi-tasking... Not only will you get more out of that specific task or appointment, but you will complete things more efficiently and effectively.
  • Identify and eliminate as much as you can the time stealers in your workday. Close your door to limit drop-in visitors. Send phone calls to an assistant or directly to voice mail when you are focused on a specific task at hand. Communicate your priorities clearly. Encourage planning prior to meetings, leading to better meeting management. Options are limitless!

Contrary to the connotation typically associated with "time management", the dictionary definition of "the analysis of how working hours are spent and the prioritization of tasks in order to maximize personal efficiency in the workspace" appears to be quite a bit more accurate. With the aforementioned thoughts and that definition in mind, what do you find is something you can control when working to get more done in less time? What tactics do you utilize to boost productivity and enhance efficiencies?

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