Here’s a typical scenario; it is Friday. In two hours, you have a presentation to make to an audience you do not know. The boss just called for the latest sales projection for the quarter just as you begin to write your speech. Oh, you forgot. You volunteered to train a new salesperson on Monday. You look at your schedule and realize you made a commitment to your daughter’s Girls Scout camp out this weekend. Ok, you can move some things around…it will all work out. Right? The phone rings. It is your dermatologist. She would like to see you as soon as possible. The mole on your arm looks suspicious and she wants it biopsied. When can you get here?
You have a lot on your plate! Maybe be too much?
Along with the internet and our cell phones, we are living in the 24/7 workday, and we all wrestle with time management. It seems like whatever is on your schedule changes every 30 minutes. How do skilled managers get and stay organized? How do you schedule time between your day planner in your hand, and the CRM and the calendar on my phone without being overwhelmed? Maybe it is time to schedule your priorities?
Here are four suggestions to gain some control
Step #1: Have a System to plan and set priorities: Many leadership development programs suggest build a system that works for you. Set aside an hour one day a week to plan for the whole week. Planning each day to accomplish the most significant impact will make you feel more in control of your life. Remember Pareto’s Law? It is the 80/20 rule. Realized the 20% of your activities produce the greatest impact? What would happen if you stopped working on the 80% and concentrated on the 20%? The greater control we have over our day means less stress in our lives. How do we achieve greater control? Simple, start with a to-do list and complete the most important task first thing in the morning. Block out time for your daily priorities like meetings, scheduled appointments or family time. Once blocked it never moves until completed. Add in some flexibility time around those priorities for the inevitable distractions or curve balls life throws at us (like the above scenario).
Step #2: Incorporate a system to Track and Measure: How do those super successful professionals identify, monitor and manage all their tasks? They probably have support people, but the DO have a process. What is your process for setting and achieving your priorities? Which ones have the greatest ROI? So, once you have blocked out time to work on your priorities, set a focus limit on that particular preference for 20-40 minutes. One priority at a time. Don’t answer your phone, e-mail, look at social media or entertain other distractions. Take note of how you are spending your time. Keep a time track of everything you do for a week. I know, it’s hard to do, but its worth it. The biggest time wasters are hidden inside legitimate work. By tracking your daily activities, you will have a eureka moment: “Wow, I did not realize I was on Facebook three hours a day”! Where are you spending your time? For those non-essential tasks, delegate.
Step #3: How Do You Feel About “You?”
Your motivation is directly related to how you feel about yourself, your market, those closest to you and your company. Is it bliss or are you living a nightmare? Are you running to your interests or running away from your obligations? One time management tip is to listen to you and “What’s between your ears.”
The “You” depends on three pivot points, think BASk:
Your behaviors are your plans, activities and your goals. Do you have goals? Are they written down? Journaling every day your thoughts will help define BASk. If your head and your heart are not in the game, it will feel like you are in a constant struggle; always swimming upstream. How about attitude? What is your belief and outlook about yourself and others? Do you like yourself? Is your inner voice complimentary or critical? Moreover, what skills do you have to offer? You may find you have a low self-esteem view and self-limiting beliefs. Can you identify them? Are they holding you back? By applying each of the three components, you will BASk in the light of fulfillment.
Step #4: Invest in Yourself: as we review BASk, we can identify what skills we need to improve our work and enrich our lives. Invest in yourself to do better; take a class. Too much stress in your life, without an outlet, will affect your health. Are you they type of person who can not relax? Do you view a vacation as interference to your work? Do you live to work or work to live? What effect does that have on you and the people you love? Tip, find an accountability partner for work AND non-work fun. How about a coach or mentor? Schedule some walks and talks.
Whenever you invest in yourself, the personal success you aspire to achieve is just around the corner. Do you have a comment on this blog?
Do you have an accountability partner or coach?
What did you do to reduce stress AND increase productivity?