“Time is the scarcest resource; and unless it is managed, nothing else can be manged.” – Peter Drucker.
If you’re like me you recognize the need for better time management. You may have read some books with some helpful tips. Somehow you still manage to waste an awful lot of the precious time you’re given. You may have heard the old saying “you can always make more money if you know how, but we all still only have 24 hrs each day”. Time is our most valuable resource due to it’s limited nature. The richest and most powerful people in the world have the same 24 hrs each day that you and I have. Many of them are no smarter that anyone else, with one key exception… They managed / leveraged their time better than we have. I, like you, am still working on implementing many of these techniques in my daily and weekly routines. As I work on getting better in these areas I want to share them with you.
Here is the good news… You and I both CAN change today! We can choose to start managing our time better right now. If you are looking for better results for yourself and your team there are some specific principles that we can implement for better time management in every area of your life and each of your team members or staff members’ lives.
In no particular order, Here are some things you can start doing today.
Game Panning and Goal Setting: If you spend an hour or two at the beginning of each week or before you start a major project, you could easily save 10-20 hours of unproductive work. Setting specific goals will help you be far more effective toward achieving those goals. Here’s the key parts of setting goals: When setting goals you should have them written down. when you writing them down it’s helpful to be specific. use this formula to help… from what (current scoreboard/starting point), to what (the desired outcome/goal) , by when(set a date to have it accomplished by). If you have larger goals it may help to break down the goal into smaller “bite sized” chunks. Set mile markers or checkpoints along the way. Here’s an important piece – provide a realist reward for hitting each checkpoint and end goal.
Intentional improvement: Making/planning time (I suggest starting with at least an hour each day) to read in a specific attempt to improve yourself and your team is a big part of this process. (Bible reading, prayer and meditation should be a part of this process) while reading ask yourself “Can I make changes in any area of my life to get better results? Is there something I can change about myself that would yield better results for my team? What are the major issues that I or my team are facing?” Then, while reading be looking for answers to your questions. You’ll be amazed at how quickly those answers will come compared to the time it takes to find the answers without taking the time to read. Listening to great audio CD’s is another big part of this.
Increase Reading Speed: According to the Dale Carnegie group, “The average reading speed is two hundred words per minute. Most people have to read for at least two hours a day for work. A speed reading course can double your reading speed. That gives you another hour to do more productive things.” I might mention here also that you should be reading outside of work also. If you’re taking time to read this I can assume that you are one of the few individuals that actually read regularly. I congratulate you for that distinction! You are among the top 10% of people in the world who do so!
Seek advice: During the process of making changes inevitably some changes will work and others will not. By asking questions and seeking advice from others, you can save a lot of valuable time doing the wrong things or perhaps doing the right things in the wrong way. Having/finding a mentor who is well removed from your situation, who is better able and willing to provide objective advice is highly recommendable.
Patience is STILL a virtue: Making changes in your live and wanting to see changes in your team right away is perfectly natural. Try to give yourself and others a little grace. Making lasting changes will take time. It takes time to see the changes you make become a reality and than it takes more time to see those changes become part of the fundamental and foundational qualities of your organization. So just practice being patient.
Embrace Adventure and New Ideas: Don’t be afraid of looking at other opportunities, career paths, entrepreneurial ventures, or new partnerships. Make it a point to stretch yourself, step outside of your comfort zone (which is rarely comfortable) or what I prefer to call your familiar zone. be intentional about trying new things. Challenge yourself to try at least one new way of doing things each day. You may find that something works far better than you anticipated.
Ask For Help: One of the most important Time management tools is this principle of delegation. Don’t be afraid of asking for or hiring help. Many successful people understand that there are some things that they alone should be doing. So many of the tasks that take up your time could be and should be given to someone else to do. If someone else can do the task 70-80% as well as you, they should be doing it instead of you. Answering phones and checking and responding to most e-mails are tasks that many mangers, pastors, and other leaders try to do themselves. Free up your time to focus on the things that ONLY YOU can/should be doing! Don’t let your ego get in the way of asking for help.
Create and Manage a TO-DO list: This is the single most important element, that if utilized properly will catapult your results higher than you can imagine! There’s a lot of important details that will help you become far more effective in this area. This is probably the single biggest multiplier when it comes to being good with managing your time! Let’s look at what it takes to succeed in this area.
- Make the list: write a list of all the things you need to do tomorrow and in the next week. Think about the various tasks, priorities, activities, promises you made and people you need to spend time with or have important conversations with.
- Important versus urgent: Figure out which items are most important and which ones are most urgent, maybe an item could be both important and urgent. Think about how one may effect the others?
- Assign a rank: There are a couple of popular methods most people use. See which works best for you.
- A,B,C ranking: “A” Tasks that have the highest priority or urgency. “B” Tasks that are moderately important but can wait until after “A” tasks. “C” tasks are the lowest importance level and can be done after “A” and “B” tasks are completed.
- Ranking by number: This is my preferred method. (Recall the story of Mr. Ivy Lee giving this technique to Mr. Charles Schwab, President of the Bethlehem Steele Co. over 100 years ago, after 2 weeks of implementation Schwab paid Lee $25,000. He thought it was that the advice was THAT valuable!) Lee told Schwab to write down on a 3″x5″ card, the top 5 (I’ve seen several sources that say 5 and others say it was 6) most important things needing to be done tomorrow. Then Lee told him to number those things with 1 being the top most priority, 2 being the next important, and so on and so on. (Personal side note: things that are urgent but not important should be delegated to someone else. if someone can do that job 80% as well as you, you should be letting that person do the job that takes you away from the most important tasks.) Lee continued by saying that everything possible that can be done on item 1 should be done before moving on to task number 2. You should do everything that can be done to accomplish task number 2 before moving on to task number 3, etc. etc.
- Reward yourself: It is vitally important that you reward yourself appropriately for accomplishments made toward your goals. This reinforces your psychological belief in your ability to accomplish the end goal and in return, makes you more effective. Don’t forget to reward your team members in the fashion. Help your team members understand how much you appreciate their efforts. Be genuine in your approbation, however. Your team will know if you’re being fake!
I trust you found this very helpful. If you took the time to read through the whole of this post, please take a moment to let me know if these ideas were helpful to you and your company.