I suspect that every one of us struggles at times with managing our time. The demands placed upon us by our lives and by our work are enormous, and we sometimes find creative ways to make things worse by procrastinating or falling into bad habits. We did an article the other day with five good, solid time management techniques that I called the basics. Here are five more. Remember that time management or choice management as I like to call it, is really about our choices. We try to tell ourselves that we don’t have any choice in how we spend our time, but that isn’t really true. We always have a choice. Here’s hoping that you read this article and then make better decisions. My research with my clients suggests that we can almost always increase productivity by 10-40% by just implementing a handful of ideas that make us more effective.
Set And Prioritize Your Goals – What do you really want to get done? What do you really want to accomplish? Write them down, look at them, and determine which of them will give you the most leverage if you get it done first. Prioritize your list from most important to least important, then get them onto your calendar, so you have time to get them done. Don’t let ANYTHING distract you from working on your priorities until they are done.
Make Time For What’s Most Important – I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard, “I don’t have time” from someone who has lost control of their priorities and their effectiveness. Take control back from the multitude of things that are distracting you. Do not give in to the tyranny of the urgent. If it’s important that you get it done, MAKE TIME to get it done. Clear your calendar. Don’t allow a lower priority to get in the way of you working on what’s most important. Determine what must be done, and make the time to get it done.
No Time Like The Present – If you have a particularly nasty task to perform, don’t let procrastination rear its ugly head, start your day with the nasty task, and eliminate it from your path. You will feel SO good when you have completed those TPS Reports for Mr. Lumbergh before the day is half over, and don’t forget the cover sheet! (remember Office Space?)
Say NO Positively – We all want to please out teammates and our bosses, but in all honesty, too many times, our desire to be a good teammate results in us becoming less accountable if we say “Yes” to every request. Each of us needs to learn to say “No” with tact and appropriate humility. Learn when to say “No” and how to say it so that you build credibility rather than destroy it. If you’re already scheduled for important work, you cannot possibly accept requests for additional work, can you? Don’t let your desire to be agreeable destroy your ability to work on the most important work until it’s complete, before taking on additional requests.
Reveal Your Time-Leaks and Plug Them – I haven’t yet met a person who isn’t wasting some amount of time occasionally to things that they consider important that really aren’t important, they just make them “feel” like they’re getting things done. Identify those few things that rob you of your time without helping you get things done and eliminate them from your day. Spend your time wisely, and consider it an investment in your future happier/more productive self. Whatever they are, eliminate the time-wasters!
Alrighty then, there’s another solid, time-tested technique that is sure to increase your personal time in a positive way. These five, along with the five that we posted a couple of days ago, will work for you. They will work for your teammates as well if you employ them. These are indeed simple concepts, but that is a big part of why they work for people, the ideas are easy to implement. That is what makes them so valuable, their simplicity. I hope these five techniques, and the five we posted a few days ago here, will get you thinking, and planning, and taking action to raise the level of YOUR game. Sharpen up your focus and make managing your choices about how you spend your time a big priority for the next few weeks, and see what happens. Send me a message and let me know how it goes for you, I’d love to hear how you make out.
Michael Beach is an Executive Development Coach who works with Leaders to sharpen their leadership skills and build a game-changing culture in their organizations and get their leadership teams firing on all cylinders, like a high-performance racing engine. Michael gets frequently asked to help executives to get more done during their workdays. If you’d like to receive a free set of 25 Choice Management Best Practices, visit Michael’s website at www.michaelbeachcoach.com and subscribe to Michael’s “Coffee With Michael” e-newsletter. Michael will then send you his 25 Best Time Management Practices free of charge, along with a boatload of other valuable content.