There are a lot of great articles, tips, insights and concepts when it comes to time management and I will be the first to confess, that I need all the help I can get. I’ll be honest; I am not the best person at details. I am one of those guys who like to get out there and stay out there and for that reason; I have a lot of help from those whose talents I am very thankful for. Because of this, I really have be focused with my approach to time. I have learned that there is no approach to time management that will be of any value if it is not an approach that I unconditionally believe to be something that will help me, and that it is something that I will commit to adhering to for the long haul. If these elements do not exist, then, well…I’m just wasting my time!
So to help you with the approach you should take regarding your time, let me begin with a question. Ready? “What must you accomplish today that will bring value to those you serve and to yourself and…how will you make it happen? Your approach to this question will determine how SMART you are regarding the precious commodity of a 24 hour day.
For those who have read any of my previous posts, you know I am big of VALUE. It is not just a word to me. In my business, if I want to stay alive, I must provide value. If I fail to do this, my business life will die. I must be viewed as separate, result driven and I must deliver on every promise I make to the best of my ability every day. And, just like you, I am awarded 24 hours of everyday. If your livelihood has anything to do with running a business or sales practice, or managing people or taking care of your family or…on and on (get the picture?) in order to bring VALUE to all, you must be SMART with your approach to handling time. Okay, enough of the intro. Here is the SMART approach to time management.
When considering a time management approach, ask yourself if the approach effectively meets the following criteria:
S: Systematic: Does the approach have specific steps and processes that can be followed. Is there an actual system or roadmap to dealing with and/or avoiding a chaotic day? My systematic approach involves specific steps to allocating, delegating, concentrating and motivating tasks to an efficient end result.
M: Manageable: Does the approach have the component of control and offer something you can actually use? I’m not talking about just a planner or a calendar to manage your day. I’m talking about how to manage resources available to you that you can utilize and monitor to provide value at its most efficient output; for example; people, special skills or even technology to help accomplish your goals. If your approach is not something you have control over, if it is hit-n-miss, don’t waste your time.
A: Accountable: Does your time management approach have a measurable end result? A risk or reward for performing or not performing the task? There must be a point where you end the process or complete the task. If you never hold yourself accountable, never have a deadline, you will find more and more ways to put the task off, especially if it is something you do not look forward to doing! Accountability is perhaps the most important element to achieving a valuable, productive day.
R: Repeatable: Are the applications to your time management approach effective time and time again? A great measure of success to managing time is the ability to put in place concepts or habits that maximize your efforts. Examples of repeatable events include how you divide your day into getting prepared, what you do when your business doors are open and even how you take time for yourself.
The point to the “repeatable” is that we need to develop great habits to our approach to time management.
T: Transportable: The final component to being SMART with our time is the element of transportability; can our approach work in all phases of our life. “We have never been busier than we are now!” I know you have heard this or even said it yourself. I have. I thought when my youngest son left home things would slow down…WRONG, they just changed. A great time management approach will provide concepts and tools that you can use in any phase or stage of your life.
So there you have it, a Systematic, Manageable, Accountable, Repeatable, Transportable (SMART) approach to time. While it is not rocket science, it is important to understand how special time is and how each of us needs to cherish it to bring value into this world every day. It is my sincere hope that each of us will strive to use our time so WISELY that we favorably influence the lives of every person we come in contact with…and because we do, WE are the better for it!