Can you hear it? There it is goes again… tick, tock. That’s the sound of time passing by when you don’t have an effective time management plan in place. If you’re literally running from task to task not knowing what to do first or if what you’re currently working on is most important, you’re not alone. The average person uses 13 different methods to control and manage their time and on average, there are 17 million meetings held daily in America. No wonder we’re frustrated, overwhelmed and confused about what to do first.
I wish it were as easy as creating a to-do list and stepping into a ‘getter done’ mentality, but it’s not. It takes awareness of your work habits and priorities, knowledge of what gets in the way of your productivity and taking consistent steps to form new habits of behavior that reap your desired results. Upon looking at time management as a skill and a practice, one can greatly enhance personal performance and progress over time.
Let’s look at 7 principles to help you gain more time, reduce your overwhelm and increase your productivity:
- Assess your time management effectiveness – What are your current practices and how effective are you at getting projects and tasks accomplished on time, as desired or better? You can assess this based on your own measurements or that of those who hold you accountable. Or, you can accurately leverage a time management tool to provide a clear picture of your priorities.
- Develop an Accomplishment List – This list is based on your highest return based outcomes. When you consider what there is to do and handle, is it all captured and clear? Or do you get distracted by the pop up reminders that take you off track? When you have an accurate visual of what’s most important to accomplish, you have a better chance of getting it done.
- Allocate your Time – Allocate a specific amount of time to fulfill on like tasks and attach a completion date and time. I suggest using 60 or 90 minute blocks of time in which to focus on work. Anything longer drains one’s attention span and shorter time blocks can under-estimate what it takes to sufficiently get the task accomplished as expected.
- Leverage your Time Wisely – Remove distractions such as email pop ups, instant messaging, social media and phone calls. There are all types of ways to remove these such as using voice-mail and closing your email while you’re working on assignments. These new habits allow you to be in a distraction-free zone for chunks of time. You can always allocate time to return calls and respond to emails at scheduled times throughout the day.
- Set Meetings as needed – There are times for face-to-face meetings and as we move to a disconnected society, I actual advocate scheduling time to connect personally. However, set shorter meeting times and above all develop an agenda prior to the meeting. A major goal of meeting is to build rapport and create results, not just meet for meeting sake.
- Just say NO! – The most powerful word in one’s Time Management vocabulary is “no”. And, yes we must be able to clearly address the inability to accept a request from another. But you know who you are, when “yes” is an automatic response without clearly understanding the scope of the project. At least ask questions before agreeing to over-commit. This will also show your leadership and communication skills and allows you to say Yes to what matters most. Remember: No is a complete sentence.
- Reward Yourself – Your schedule must include time for you. Making yourself a priority will give you the ability to refuel for bigger and better opportunities. Always acknowledge yourself for a job well done and be gentle with yourself. Think productivity over perfection.
The bottom line: Make yourself a priority first, then be clear about what accomplishments reap the highest return for the investment of your time. Finally, set appropriate boundaries so you’re focused on who and what matter most.
“This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
© 2012 Patricia Perkins LLC. WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR ON YOUR WEBSITE? Be my guest, as long as you include this complete messaging: Career Advancement Mentor, Pat E. Perkins, CPCC, helps motivated leaders advance smarter, progress faster and with less effort. Obtain her FREE CD on 7 Success Strategies at www.PatEPerkins.com.
About Pat E. Perkins, CPCC
Pat E. Perkins is known as The Career Advancement Mentor. She helps motivated leaders who want to advance in their career and their life and enjoy sustainable results in the process. Pat is the creator of the ADVANCE! Coaching System™. She will help you transform the way you navigate your career so you can progress faster, smarter and with less effort.
Get Pat’s Complimentary CD plus an opportunity to connect with her privately for a free consultation about your career. Reach her online at www.PatEPerkins.com.