Time Management Tips

Time management is your most powerful weapon

Introduction

Your time is your most valuable asset. How you use it will determine your effectiveness in your business and lifestyle.

For most people, effective time management is about self-discipline and a clear understanding and adherence to the things that they want out of their career and life as a whole.

Without getting too philosophical, our businesses are a means to an end, not necessarily an end in itself. That is, we work to earn the money and have some spare time for ourselves, family and friends.

At no time should our clients and their needs be more important than our overall needs. For many small business owners this is not realised and these owners end up with a 24/7 job that is driven by their clients.

The time you spend in and on your business should be considered in terms of adequate monetary compensation for your time.

When we are spending time for others (Clients), time and money are indistinguishable.

Time is money and money is time.

For example, when we do work for someone that takes time, and we don’t charge for it, we are effectively giving them our money and part of our allotted life span.

So you may ask, “How do others achieve so much in the time that they have?”

Delegation - If it costs less to pay someone else to do the same task for us than our chargeable time, then we may be better off paying someone else than spending our own time (money) doing it.

The concept is made a little more complicated by a net margin and/or customer service imperative, but I hope you broadly understand what is outlined here.

The other thing to consider is other people’s time - such as clients and suppliers - as their time is also valuable.

There is nothing more frustrating than dealing with a disorganised person or a business that simply can not get the facts right when handling your matters.

We can do other people a favour without them knowing it by not wasting their time - or ours - by being organised.

The 7 Habits

“The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, is an excellent read or audiobook on what makes people highly effective in their business and private life. You can find a copy in most bookshops.

The topics encapsulate time management as one of the core components to being highly effective.

Briefly, the 7 habits are:

  1. Be Proactive: fosters courage to take risks and accept new challenges to achieve goals.
  2. Begin with the End in Mind: brings projects to completion and unites teams and organisations under a shared Vision, Mission and Purpose.
  3. Put First Things First: promotes getting the most important things done first and encourages direct effectiveness.
  4. Think Win-Win: encourages conflict resolution and helps individuals seek mutual benefit - increasing group momentum.
  5. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood: helps people understand problems, resulting in targeted solutions and promotes better communications, leading to successful problem-solving.
  6. Synergies: ensures greater "buy-in" from team members and leverages the diversity of individuals to increase levels of success.
  7. Sharpen the Saw: promotes continuous improvements and safeguards against "burnout" and subsequent non productivity.

The habits that relate specifically to time management are -

    1. Be Proactive
    2. Put First Things First.

Covey states that being Proactive is very important in time management to get ahead of the tasks you need to complete, rather than falling behind and trying to “catch up”. As soon as you find yourself behind schedule, you are gone. Only being ahead of schedule will allow you to make the deadline, because unforeseen events and circumstances virtually always impinge on your time. (See the To-Do List)

One must be organised but also expect the unexpected.

“First Things First” is all about prioritisation and self-discipline. It’s about identifying what is important to you and how to best manage your time to handle events that occur in your life. (See the Time Management Grid)

The Time Management Grid.

This grid focuses on the two key dimensions of Time Management:

  • The Urgency of the task and
  • The Importance of the task

Quadrant 1 - Represents things which are both urgent and important. We've called this "fire fighting". The activities need to be dealt with immediately and they are important. They are normally driven by others such as clients or tasks that you have set to a dead line.

Quadrant 2 - Represents things which are important, but not urgent. We've termed this one "Quality Time". Even though the activities here are important and contribute to achieving the goals and priorities, they don't have to be done right now. As a result, they can be scheduled in when you can give quality thought to them. Examples are the preparation of your business plans, family time and personal relaxation/recreation.

Quadrant 3 – These are distractions. They must be dealt with right now but frankly, they are not important. For example, when you answer an unwanted phone call you've had to interrupt whatever you were doing to answer it.

Quadrant 4, Things which are neither urgent nor important. Some meetings could fall into this category - they've been scheduled in advance, but if they achieve nothing - or you don't contribute to them - then they have simply wasted time.

Using the Time Management Grid

Consciously strive to maximise Quadrant 2 times.

Allocate time in your diary to carry out these tasks when you are at your best.

Seek to reduce time spent in Quadrant 3 by improving your systems and processes for dealing with distractions

Eliminate as much as possible of Quadrant 4 activities, by either not spending time on these things, or changing the nature of them to make them more productive.

Brendon Burchard Method

Really good time managment ideas that creates clarity, improved productivity while persuading others to become be more reactive.

Template is available for you to down load.

20 Great Time Management Rules

Time Management Rules:

  1. Read Selectively (skim articles as much as possible, main points are at the start or look for a conclusion)
  2. Make a list of things to perform on a weekly as well as a daily basis (Covey's tip - include accomplishments reflective of a balance in life, such as self, home, work, family, community).
  3. Have a place for everything and keep everything in its place.
  4. Deal with your tasks in order of priority.
  5. Do one important thing at a time but several trivial things simultaneously.
  6. Make a list of some 5 or 10 minute discretionary tasks.
  7. Divide up large projects.
  8. Determine the critical 20% of your tasks - which produce 80% of your results.
  9. Save your best time (of the day) for important matters.
  10. Reserve some time during the day so that others don't have access to you (some time to get things done and some time to relax).
  11. Don't procrastinate.
  12. Keep track of the use of your time.
  13. Set deadlines.
  14. Do something productive while waiting.
  15. Do busy work at one set time during the day.
  16. Reach closure on at least one thing every day.
  17. Schedule some personal time.
  18. Don't worry about anything continually.
  19. Have long-term objectives.
  20. Be on the alert for ways to improve your management of time.