To begin let’s review some of the points of part 1. We talked about how time has become one of our greatest competitors and how we must always pay attention to time. We discussed how time plays no favorites; we are each given the same amount to work with. We looked at how our attitude towards time impacts what we do with time. Remember we make time for the things we love and find time to do the things we dislike. Finally we looked at how time rewards the diligent and punishes the slacker.
Now let’s take a look at four common modes of time management operation. Each has specific symptoms and thankfully a remedy. Here we go…
The first common mode of operation is the FIREFIGHTER.
Symptoms: Everything is an emergency. The minute you walk in the door, you are met with a day of unexpected events. While you had every intention of being productive, you find yourself putting out fires all day long.
Days like this happen to each of us. What we must understand is that there is NO WAY to handle every task at one given moment. With that said we must prioritize the task and then allocate a specific time or deadline to complete it. Ask yourself, is this something that must be done immediately or can I deal with this when the doors close? Naturally if it truly is an emergency, then you must deal with it first. Prioritization can help with this.
Allocation understands that there is a limited amount of resources so we distribute the tasks accordingly.
The last note on allocation is a deadline. This provides accountability to getting the task done. Without a deadline, you may find yourself never getting it done
The next mode of operation is the JUGGLER
Symptoms: Too many tasks can’t get anything done. Feel like you are constantly juggling tasks and never being able to complete or let one go. A side symptom is that you can never say “NO”
Delegate means to authorize other resources to help. For example, do you have someone you work with that can assist you in the task or do you have a technology resource that can expedite the process. If so, do you know who and what they are and are they easily accessible? Sometimes the toughest thing about delegation is “letting go”. You think thoughts such as “It will take more time to show you how to do it than doing it myself”. Remember, time is a limited resource, so if you do have access to reliable resources, I strongly suggest you use them!
Next we look at the DISTRACTOR
Symptoms: Tasks get off course unintentionally (this is key). You mean well but other things or other people become more appealing or get in your way.
This is exactly what it says, intense mental application. No matter how loud the golf course or shopping spree is calling, don’t get distracted. Focus on the task first. Another form is distraction is people. Perhaps you are working on a project with someone and you can’t complete your part until they have completed their part. When this happens you must take action on the distraction before you can focus on the task. Determine if there is anything you can do to assist your co-worker, follow up with them and stress the importance of what they do and how it helps achieve success.
Finally and perhaps the most common mode of operation: The PROCRASTINATOR
Symptoms: This is the “I’ll do it later” approach. Unlike the Distractor discussed above, this symptom displays an intentional approach to putting off the task.
Discover the potential reward or risk regarding the task. For example, by going to work on a Saturday, I will be able to complete the presentation and therefore have the opportunity to close the deal quicker. Or, if I don’t go to work on Saturday, this presentation will never get finished on time and we will miss a great opportunity. I think you see the BIG picture here. You motivation proves your desire or incentive to get things done.
So here are two daily prescriptions to help. First prioritize your tasks. I know you have heard this before but it is critical. Second, have a real plan of action. Here are some tips for an action plan:
• Have a specific time in your day to prepare for your day. Scheduling, emails, return calls, etc.
• Make sure you are doing the “productive-money making” tasks while the doors are open. This means doing the most important things, not preparing for them
• Find time for you. You must have time to enjoy what you do. If you ignore this part of time, it will severely impact the rest of your time.
• Be sure you keep score and track progress
Let me conclude by saying I am in no way saying that I have all the answers. What I am saying is that in my personal experience, when I pay serious attention to time, when I value it, it pays great dividends and when I don’t, there is nothing more frustrating that trying to get back on schedule.
What I know is this, we choose to do what we do with time. It is my hope this article will help provide assistance to make your 24 hours a day as productive and enjoyable as possible. And by the way…Thanks for taking the TIME to read this!