Time Management - Order Matters
by Bryan Beckstead
You work hard all day and as you are driving home, you feel frustrated, stressed out and just mad because you were unable to get two key tasks done, even though you had the time, but were just unable to squeeze them in.
Let's start with the obvious. I did say you had the time; we always have the time. This realization has to come into play when we are working along our journey together. The concept of not having enough time to do the things you want in a day is false, inaccurate and will cause you no end of grief until you can get your head around the following concept:
· We always have enough time
· It's our use of that time that dictates wither we get our key tasks done or not
· On busy days, the time you had available to do a specific task was there, you just choose to use that time on another task
For example, you want to accomplish two key priorities today, write a report to a sales associate, will take an hour. You also have to schedule a 30-minute meeting with the manager to review some budget issues. The time to do these two priorities is one and a half hours. You arrive at work at 8:00 and you leave at 5:00, you have the time, how you choose to use that time is the issue.
You start your day, by answering your emails, taking phone calls, meeting with people who drop by your office, going out of the office for an unscheduled meeting, reviewing sales reports, returning phone calls, checking emails, responding to some emails, meeting with some co-workers, spent some time doing general paper work, worked on a budget, due at the end of the month, grabbed a bite to eat, called home twice, met with your boss for a short meeting.
At 5:00 you left for the day. The two key Priorities were left undone. Did you have enough time to do them? Of course you did. What happened is, you allowed lower priority items take over the time that should have gone to the higher ranked, key priorities that you wanted to get accomplished, but let slip away from you.
What just happened to you today is one of the most common mistakes we all make when it comes to letting our time slip away from us. Order matters is the name of the Tip of The Week, our example shows us what happens when we don't pay attention to the order of when we do things in our work day. Here are some ways to avoid this happening to you.
Rule One. Key A Priorities must be Time Activated into your Day Planner. If you don't have a Day Planner, and you don't Time Activate your Priorities, you can see what happens. In our example, this person didn't sit on his hands all day, he was busy, he accomplished quite a few things, cleared some issues off his desk, returned calls, cleared some emails, he did in fact work hard all day, did accomplished some things, he just didn't get the important tasks done. As we are learning, if you don't get the important tasks done on a regular daily basis, you are just not going to be successful, period.
Rule Two People are people, to safe guard your self from this fact, schedule your top A Priorities into the first half of you day. No exceptions. You must give yourself the bets possible time slots to get what is important to you done. The law of diminishing returns works against you the second you walk into work. We all know the distractions, the interruptions, the unforeseen, the unscheduled, all of these daily events conspire unconscionably against you from achieving your agenda. You know this, schedule accordingly.
Rule Three Priorities are just that, they take priority over things that are not Priorities, that's why they are called Priorities. In our example, our subject let lesser unimportant tasks take over his schedule. Two killers of time are telephone calls, in and out, and emails, especially in. The problem here is simple; telephone calls and emails almost always allow other people to interject their agenda into your schedule, if you let them.
·You must batch your telephone calls, in and out.
·You have to schedule times when you are unavailable to take calls.
·Limit your self to checking emails 3 times or less per day.
·You have a door on your office, use it.
Rule Four You have to learn to protect what is yours. Your time is just that, yours. Any one who wants to take up your time to benefit them selves has to be challenged, by you. Failure to do this means you will be the one at the end of the day with the unfinished schedule and very little to show for it. Here is an important aspect to think about. Very often, the order in which the other person is responded to makes no difference to them, but can make a huge difference to you. For example, some one walks into your office unannounced, and says he needs you to look at a file. You are working on a Priority task, timing is critical to you and your response is "I'm in the middle of something now, can we review it at 2:00 this afternoon?" More often than not, that will work for the intruder.
The rule is this, if they are unannounced, unscheduled, just appear, you are under no obligation to interrupt your schedule to accommodate them. You have to protect your time, your agenda and you're Priorities.
Order matters. You want to give yourself the best chance to get your important tasks completed. This means scheduling your key A Priorities in the prime times in your schedule to be finished first.
Bryan Beckstead may be contacted at http://www.powertimesystem.com firstname.lastname@example.org