Time management is never far from my mind, even this morning as I was walking in to my local village, with the pavements covered in snow and ice, whilst it looked very picturesque, it certainly made walking a touch interesting.
When walking in these conditions, it occurred to me that whilst we may want to go fast and reach our destination on time, sometimes we have to slow down in order to make progress and avoid mishaps. How many times do we rush to try to achieve everything within a specified timescale only to discover that we have slipped up, or made mistakes? We then usually have to find the time to do it all again.
Slipping, Sliding and Falling
Unfortunately most peoples time management is akin to walking on snow and ice all the time, they slip and slide their way through the day, without giving any thought to what they are doing or why they are doing it. And when things go wrong they have a number of ready made responses as to why it happened. Think of a pretext and there is a good chance that someone is using it right at this minute as a reason for not having enough time. Among the most popular are:
- An unexpected problem came up
- There is too much other work to do
- The telephone is always ringing and I can’t concentrate
- People won’t wait for an answer, I have to respond to emails straight away
- There wasn’t enough information, money or people to start/finish a project on time
Of course, these things happen to all of us sometimes, and we are forced to change our plans, but there also comes a time when they stop being reasons for a lack of time, and become excuses for poor time management.
Fit the Crampons
Essentially time management can be viewed as taking action:
- For the right reason (because it is linked to a goal or objective).
- At the right time (by prioritising).
- In the right way (by being organised).
The next time you see someone who appears to be doing a great deal at once, look closely, and you will discover that they have allocated their time in proportion to their goals. You will also discover that although there outputs may be extensive over the course of a day, at anyone moment they are dealing with just one thing at a time and giving it their full attention. When they have completed this task as efficiently as possible they move on without delay to the next task or project.
That is time management in action. It starts with answering the following questions:
- What is the best thing for me to be doing at this moment in time?
- What is the best way to do it?
- What should I be doing next?
- How can I move most effectively from this task to the next?
So is it time to fit the crampons and stop slipping and sliding all over the place? If so you could make a start by downloading my top 20 Time Management tips booklet
Till next Time
The Time Doctor – Mike Gardner