How do you manage your time? Do you always complain that you don’t have enough time to get things done? Do you always have hanging issues and tasks that you keep postponing and delaying? Well, I have news for you the real problem is ….. YOU!
Yes you, No matter how busy you are and no matter how many tasks you have to do, you have to figure out a way to manage your time and get things done. The problem is not that you are busy and you have too much to do so everyone has to sympathize and tell you it is ok to delay tasks. It is about how you handle your task list?
Here are some guidelines from my experience:
1- Shorter job first rule. If you have some very small tasks that don’t need much mental effort, then start with those and get them done quickly then concentrate on the big ones.
2- Have a daily routine. For example if you are a sales manager then you must have half an hour everyday to meet with your team for a quick follow up on their work. It has to be fixed on the same time slot everyday no matter what, a quick catch up with some advice from you to charge their batteries and get them going. Or if it is part of your job to read and answer a lot of emails then that too has to have a fixed time of the day to do and get it out of the way and so on. You have to have a daily routine and sacred times of the day where you have to do what you have to do no matter what.
3- Meetings are sacred. Meetings can be a lethal weapon for wasting time. Any meeting has to have a clear agenda and a clear expected outcome or else refuse to attend. If the meeting didn’t start on time refuse to attend and leave. During the meeting stick to the agenda and finish on the allocated time and not later.
4- Learn to say NO. You know your schedule, you know your priorities so say NO to anything that will interrupt your schedule – unless it is an urgent popup – don’t get dragged into exceptions that will always destroy your schedule and waste your time.
5- Concentrate on results, not on being busy…some people love the act of being busy all the time. Sorry but you are just wasting your time and other people’s time too. Don’t enjoy the fact that you are not answering your email and not returning your calls by the excuse that you are very busy. The fact is you are a failure!
6- Always have a target on mind. Why Am I starting this task? and when should I finish it? If you don’t have answers to these questions then don’t do it.
7- Set your priorities…decide what is important, urgent, can be postponed, can be cancelled all together. Get focused and know what you want to accomplish to be able to manage your time.
I will post here the chart proposed by Stephen Covey in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective people….Please check it out and see in which quadrant do you live to know whether time is your worst enemy or your best friend:
Most of your time should be in quadrant II. if you want to succeed and make the best of your time. Then Quadrant I. should have part of your time as well. Know that you will never achieve anything if most of your time is spent in Quadrants III. or IV. These can be real time killers that make you feel busy all the time when actually you are losing precious time in trivial matters.