Time MattersBy Debra Wheatman
How many of you constantly complain that there is ‘simply not enough time’ to complete your daily tasks? Does this spill over to monthly or even annual reports or projects that you should obviously have enough time to complete? Do you have a planner? Online calendars? Other gadgetry to help you manage your time?
It’s hard to manage time. I know; I certainly don’t do a good job of it myself. I often find myself working from the early morning to late at night. Why? Well, I just said, I don’t manage my time well. I try to do 20 things at once, read email, take phone calls, and make lunches for three children. It’s no wonder that I can’t get anything done. Whose fault is this? My own, of course.
Many people do not recognize that they are at the root of their own mismanagement of time. They blame the phone, other people, and myriad other business issues. The critical element is to use the time you have to improve your life. Here are some ways to help you better manage your time:
Establish clear daily goals
Set aside blocks of time to respond to email and address phone calls. Outside of that block of time, do not initiate those tasks. This focus will allow you to complete projects that are due and facilitate your delivering them—on time!
While everything you do might be considered a priority, not everything can be #1. Define your priorities in order of importance. This will create a framework for you. Rank the priorities in order of importance and urgency. Those things that are most important and most urgent should be done first.
Write it down
Keep a to-do list with your rankings so you can reference it and check things off as you complete them. This will foster a sense of accomplishment and ensure you remain on track.
Don’t attempt to do too much.
When you try to fit too many things in one day, you can quickly become overwhelmed, maybe even paralyzed by how much you have to do. I suggest keeping a short list. Make a list of short- and medium-term projects or tasks that need to be addressed. If you keep a short list, you will be more likely to pursue the tasks and see each one through to completion.
These are just some tips that should help you plan your time better. There are myriad books on the subject; one in particular that I think really does a great job of getting to the heart of time management is The Time Trap by Alec Mackenzie.
If you really want to become a time management guru, pick up a copy.