Make Time Management Work For You
Key Points To Make Time Management Work For You…
First of all lets put a myth or ‘misunderstanding to bed’ now! None of us can manage time. Time is a constant and can’t be changed. We can only manage our decisions as to what we are going to do with the time we have. So we are really talking about decision management as opposed to time management. So there are some key decisions we can take and act upon to choose the right techniques to make time management work for you.
In the quest to make time management work for you, we have been overwhelmed with a huge variety of apps, tools, techniques and programs invented to help us better manage our time. These apps, tools, techniques and programs make great claims to change our lives for the better, but most attempts fail to supply us with the improved time management we seek.
Of all the time management apps, tools, techniques and programs, we’ve found that it is the simple techniques, the ones you can more easily manage and implement properly, are the ones that consistently work well.
Here are some key tips, if followed, will help you on your way to make time management work for you:
1. Educate to enhance your awareness: First, educate yourself on further time management techniques by reviewing at least 3 or 4 different sources of information, in addition to this blog, such as videos, books, audios etc. Everything must first start with a thought. Set your compass in your brain to focus on finding ways to make better decisions and use your time better.
2. Build a Strong Desire to Kick the Habit: Like many poor habits, poor decision management or time management is a behavior that has been learned and developed over time. The second step in “kicking the habit” is to recognise that you have a problem, which requires the development of your awareness and then to make a firm commitment to do something about it. This desire has to develop into a ‘must achieve’ not a ‘want to achieve’.
3. Decide to Plan: Just the same as other disciplines, effective decision management or time management is a discipline that can be learned and through repetition, can be mastered over time. The key principle to effective decision management or time management is planning and this must be done every day. Studies have shown that for every minute you spend in planning, you save at least ten minutes in execution.
4. Be like ‘Abraham Lincoln’: Abraham Lincoln once said “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will invest the first four hours sharpening the axe”. Just as Abraham Lincoln quoted, the first practical step to make time management work for you, is to plan each day in advance. Whether you use a simple diary, a day planner, or electronic calendar, find the tool that you prefer to use and use it daily. Sit down each night, review what you achieved today and carefully plan out your next day. Ask yourself: “What is the best use of my time tomorrow to achieve my goals?” and “Where do I bring the greatest value to my organisation?”
5. Eat that Frog first: Develop your daily plan by ranking each and every task: Once you have identified the key tasks that must be accomplished, once you have listed these vital tasks, then rank them accordingly. Planning your day the night before has many other benefits as well. One key benefit is that you will sleep better, as your conscious mind can rest with a clear conscience (The most comfortable pillow is one with a clear conscience, because you’ve written down what must be accomplished tomorrow). Your subconscious mind can then go to work on organising your tasks while you sleep and help prepare to make time management work for you.
6. Schedule your day in blocks of time: Look to organise your day in as many blocks of time put together as possible to simplify your day. We call this Block Scheduling. Start with at least ‘one-hour’ blocks, then as you get more practice and become better at managing your time, you can start to manage 30-minute blocks of time.
7. Determine what time in the day you will set aside for each task: “Eat that frog first so the rest of the day tastes better”. The morning time, when you are fresh, is normally the best time to tackle your most difficult and highest priority tasks. People normally wear down as the day moves on, so in the afternoon you can then work on the other tasks requiring less mental or physical effort.
8. Make these entries to your calendar with the blocks of time: Some of the most effective time managers look at their days in time blocks as small as 15-minute blocks. Take the most important ranked tasks from your list and insert them into the earliest appropriate blocks of time in your calendar to ensure they are completed each day. Then you are well on our way to make time management work for you.
9. Prioritise & focus to reach Completion: Jump right in and begin on the most important, highest value task immediately. Focus single mindedly on starting and finishing this task and do not deviate from your plan, unless your building is on fire. One of the biggest enemies to make time management work for you is making poor decisions to start several tasks and struggling or at least delaying the finish of any of them. Always ‘check your decisions’ by always asking yourself, “Is this the most important thing I should be doing right here, right now?”
10. Where possible isolate yourself and minimise distractions: There are ‘a ton’ of distractions like social media, the phone, visitors, the internet, email, co-workers, etc., which can and will stifle your plan, if you let them. Make the necessary arrangements to keep these distractions to a minimum. Lock yourself in a room, move to a different environment, do whatever it takes to minimise distractions. Otherwise you will end up being the ‘typical business owner working half-days, you just choose which 12 hours’. Isolate the distraction to make time management work for you.
11. Plan time with your team and other people: Make sure during the day you have planned and allocated time with your co-workers, employees, customers etc. It can be very easy to plan to get ‘tasks’ done, yet let’s keep in perspective any necessity to speak with the people around us to help our and their businesses.
12. Plan for minor admin tasks and breaks: Make sure you allocate time for returning phone calls, clearing emails and having the necessary breaks you need to stay as fresh as possible. If you work at a desk or somewhere stationary, then at least every hour ensure you have a ‘5-minute state change’ to re-invigorate your energy levels.
13. Review what you actually got done: At the end of each day, before you plan your next day, review what you actually got done. You will quickly learn if there are any gaps between your expectations (planning) of what you can do and what you actually do. We want to schedule realistic tasks so if we are over-committing ourselves each day we can adjust our planning to keep it real.
14. Reinvest at least 10% of any time saved back into your personal life: We appreciate, if you are in Business, one tends to reinvest most time and resources back into the growth of the business. However, we encourage you to get into the habit of keeping at least 10% of any time saved for your personal life. Invest an hour of time rescued from work to do something in your personal life each week. For example, invest an hour at a golf driving range, or reading a book, taking your life partner out to lunch, invest time with your kids etc.
If you would like to find out ways to work more efficiently and work, save some time and make time management work for you, you can apply for a ‘Complimentary Business Growth Audit’ with one of our LibAbun Business Growth Specialists. All you need to do is go to the ‘Complimentary Business Growth Audit’ page on our LibAbun Website, complete the questionnaire on that page and follow the listed process.
Check out our range of Business Ebooks on our LibAbun Website too.