No one ever has enough time. Yet we already have all the time there is – 24 hours per day. The quantity of time is not the problem, however, but rather how that inelastic resource Is used. What time management is really all about is managing yourself and your energy.
Time and energy, are often squandered or poorly utilized because you have not designed an overall strategy. As a result, your control over tasks at work and the tasks at home fall into the hands of others creating anger and a depressing feeling of helplessness.
This blog will present you with a few (seven techniques) strategies that can double your personal productivity by expanding your energy so that you get more done in the time available.
Everything you do is evaluated in time by annoying questions such as:
●How long will that take?
●When will it be done?
●When will dinner be ready?
●Why can’t you do it now?
●How come it’s taking you so long?
●Well how long will that take?
Such questions produce in you valid rage.
Your management of this restrictive resource is the decisive element in your professional success or failure and, more importantly, your sanity.
You may make a time commitment for completion of a project at home or at work. You may have carefully considered such things as interruptions and emergencies, in your estimate. Then other things which you cannot control happen, such as interruptions, and there goes your estimate down the drain.
The hardest thing of all is to direct your attention, energy and initiative throughout the day so that you can minimize how long it takes you to accomplish each and every task you take on. It takes a very determined person to maintain such a focus in the face all the distractions that impact on you from everyone and everywhere.
Setting Up A Cost/Benefit Analysis
In order to manage your time and energy more effectively, you must first get an accurate picture of how you are currently utilizing your time right now. To do this, you should first keep a daily log of your activities for about two weeks. This is not rocket science and it doesn’t have to be exact. An estimate will do just fine.
When you have collected sufficient data, redo your list with the most important tasks and responsibilities at the top going down to those least important. Your next step is to record the number of hours you spent working on each of the listed activities. Then calculate what percentage each is against the 40 hour week time frame.
If you were to add up all the percentages in that second column, you will probably go over 100%. This is because you probably spend more than 40 hours a week on the job and certainly more than 40 hours doing tasks at home. Your cost/benefit analysis however, is not designed to show how many hours you spend on particular tasks but rather to show what tasks and activities take up most of your time.
What you may find is the most important tasks take 20% of your time while the unimportant, low priority tasks take 80% of your time. Now you have some idea of what is wasting your time and how much time it is wasting.
his is a good illustration of the fact that time management is a process of choice: either you use the time for high priority tasks or you use it on nonsense activities.
Tasks and activities relating to the job or in the home can be categorized into three groups:
1. Routine work 30% low energy time of day
2. Regular work 50% – 60% high energy time of day
3. Special Project work 10% – 20% requires set-aside specific time
Routine work involves tasks that are low priority but must be handled daily. These are items that can be done when you have time. They should take no more than 30% of your day or week. The best way to handle these tasks is to confine the doing of them to a specific time frame. When that time is up, you stop doing those things. Many folks have found it helpful to associate doing routine tasks with their low energy time of day. That way, they have their best energy available for more important things.
Regular work involves the important tasks that are the heart and soul of what you wish to accomplish this week (or day). These tasks would be considered top priority. These items should take up 50%-60% of your time. Because you can make very good estimates as to how long each item will take to accomplish, the best way to manage the items in this category is with the use of a to do list.
The to do list should indicate an estimated time for completion for each task. This makes it easier for you to get your boss’s concurrence to your work priorities.
Special project work involves high priority but infrequent tasks that take your attention completely away from everything else. Special project work should probably take up no more than 10%-20% of your time. Often these tasks have no recommended way of attacking them. You have to find the way. It is impossible, therefore, to make an accurate time estimate for the tasks in the special project category. However, the items in this category usually require a certain amount of uninterrupted time to accomplish them. You need to estimate how much time you will need to accomplish such a task and set aside the time uninterrupted time you need to do it. One useful strategy is known as planned unavailability“. You and your boss or family agree to a specific amount of time when, even though you are there, everyone will pretend that you are not there. Doing the dreaded taxes might be a great candidate for using planned unavailability. so that you can have the time you need to work on them without interruption.
The Secret to Multiplying Your Energy
Time is a liner measurement that goes on in the background at the same steady pace. Human energy is not liner. It can expand dramatically, allowing you to get more accomplished in one day than you ever thought possible. The key to unlocking all that power is the sense of completion or accomplishment.
Think of a day when you suffered with a tremendous number of interruptions. At the end of the day you felt as if you had wasted the entire day. If someone had asked you how your day went, you would have answered, “I was busy every minute but I got nothing done”. Your motivation had died because you were prevented from bringing anything to completion. The key to expanding your energy is to organize your work so that you can experience as many completions as possible every day. For example, every time you are starting a project, break it up into pieces that can be accomplished within a 20 minute time frame. That way, if you are interrupted, you can at least being one section of that task to conclusion.
When you break up a project into pieces, label each piece and put each as a separate entry on your To Do List. When you complete a piece, cross it off with a red marker and watch your energy jump.
The Strategy of Using the To Do List to its Best Advantage
Every evening, before you go to bed (or at work before you leave for the day), make up a To Do List for the following day. Both at work and at home, put your To Do List in some prominent location where you and other people can easily see it at any time. This has some interesting benefits. First of all, it keeps you focused on the tasks you have planned to accomplish. Secondly, when other people ask you to interrupt you efforts to do something for them, you can point to your list and say, “I can help you after I finish with the doodlefrotz stuff. “ With your kids, you can say, “Is fixing your toy more important than mommy finishing cooking dinner right now?”
Priority is the order of importance or sequence in which various things should take precedence in terms of your time and attention. For example, if you were a secretary in a sales and marketing department, the overall priorities might be: (1) customer issues, (2) field personnel and (3) departmental and company issues. If you were an office manager in a large medical practice or HMO, your overall priorities might be: (1) Doctor requests, (2) insurance and medical forms, and (3) general correspondence and billings. If you were a home maker with a large family to look after, your overall priorities might be: (1) spouse’s needs, (2) kids needs and (3) housework responsibilities. Because priorities change, several times each year, you should reevaluate your priorities often to be certain that your current strategy is still working effectively.
There are many strategies for setting priorities and each method has merit. Each method also has its problems. Here is a list of the most popular methods.
Set priorities according to:
●the due date;
●who is making the most noise at the time;
●the rank or importance of the person for whom the work is being done;
●what you think needs to be done;
●the importance of the various tasks;
●how you feel and what you feel like doing; and
●what will give you the most results for your expenditure of time and energy.
Most enthusiastically, I recommend that you use the last one on the list because this will give you the most opportunities for completions which are the secret to motivation.
Here Is a List of The Greatest Time-Wasters
●doing things that don’t make any real difference
●doing things that don’t need to be done right now
●doing things that someone else should be doing
●letting yourself get physically exhausted or run-down
●not allowing sufficient time for travel to appointments
●working without a clear plan or strategy
●doing in case activities
●allowing needless interruptions
●failing to listen
●allowing phone calls from friends to go on too long
●playing with unnecessary details
●wasting time on Twitter and other social media
●texting needless and useless information
●working without clear priorities or sequence for accomplishment
●not making use of the time you spend waiting for others
●unwillingness to say NO
●starting but not finishing tasks
●worrying over things that probably will not happen
●mentally re-living old mistakes and choices
●second-guessing previously made decisions
●lack of punctually
●disorganization of paperwork, tools, etc.
●looking for things that weren’t put away properly
●thinking about personal issues while trying to work at something
●making inaccurate estimates of task time requirements
Some Final Thoughts Regarding Time Management
If you mind is not on what you are currently doing, you are fighting against yourself and you cannot win that battle. Put your mind on what you are doing so you can get it done quickly and accurately.
Do you often feel you are facing too many problems? Look at it this way: you don’t have problems. You have decisions to make. Make them and move on.
Always consider Pareto’s time principle, also called the 80% – 20% principle which states that 80% of what you do (trivial stuff) will result in 20% of your results while 20% of your efforts on important stuff will give you 80% of your results. This ratio is so true it is frightening. In a business, 20% of your customers will give you 80% of your problems. In school, 20% of the kids will give a teacher 80% of the aggravation. In a garden 20% of what you plant will give you 80% of your successful flowers. In your wardrobe, 20% of your clothing will be worn 80% of the time. What you have to do in life, therefore is decide what your 20% of anything is so you can concentrate on that and get the most bang for your time.
DeAnne’s Anger Tips
Rage and hostile defensiveness can sometimes be used by people whose entire ego is wrapped up in and inseparable from their closely held beliefs. Should you say something that might possibly be interpreted as opposing those closely held beliefs, they attack. They become enraged and hostile because they mistakenly assume that any disagreement is directed at them personally. Such people are unable to separate their ideas and beliefs from their identity. If you have ever tried to discuss a point with a religious or political zealot, you have experienced this reaction. You really cannot hold a conversation with such individuals because any casual remark might set them off.
Last Week’s Scenarios
Francis and Tyler Johnson….Tyler took to drinking and he was a mean drunk. Francis soon came to believe that her life was in danger
Here is how Francis solved her problem. With the help of nearby girlfriends, she secretly packed up all her clothes, important keepsakes, jewelry, linens and household items and stored them at the homes of her friends. Then she told Tyler she was going to visit her sister in Oregon for a week. During her week away, she established herself outside Chicago. She opened a bank account, rented an apartment, arranged for her things to be shipped from the homes of her friends to the Chicago location. When she returned home, while Tyler was out drinking, she packed up her car with her remaining things and drove herself to Chicago. When Tyler returned home late that night, he found an empty house and a note from Francis explaining that in fear of her life, she was leaving him.
Subsequently, Francis hired a voice coach and today is a successful professional jazz singer in the Chicago area. What do you think of how Frances handled her problem?
Justine Walters whose husband, Pete and their five boys treated her disrespectfully.
Here is what Justine did. She wrote a note to Pete and pinned it to his pillow. It read, “I cannot live with the disrespect. Good bye and good luck. Justine.” Since Pete took the boys out for ice cream and then played ball with them in the back yard until dark, Justine had sufficient time to pack up a few things. She then drove into town, emptied the bank accounts and drove away.
When I met her years later, she was living in California. She had completed a degree in computer science and was employed in one of the state’s largest hospital complexes. Justine explained that her guilt over abandoning her children was still overwhelming. However, Justine insisted she had made the right decision. What do you think? Was this a right decision?
Holly Andrew loved being pregnant and looking after babies.
Louis quit his job the very next day and disappeared. Subsequently, Holly began to receive money on a regular basis via Western Union. It wasn’t very much but it helped support her family. When the new baby was out of diapers, Holly got a job and enlisted her mother to look after the kids.
Years later, when I met him, Louis said leaving Holly and his kids was the best decision he had ever made. His hostility and anger at Holly had become unbearable. He believed the financial burden he was living under would have killed him in short order. What do you think about Louis’s decision?
All three of these stories illustrate how some individuals choose to run away from their problems rather than stay and attempt to solve them. This may be a good solution for them but what about those they leave behind – the kids? Is this a selfish solution? What do you think?
This Week’s Scenarios
You have a boss who tells you at 4:00 pm on Friday, “I don’t care what you have to do to get this done but I want it completed and on my desk by 8:30 AM on Monday morning.” You estimate that his last minute request will take four hours to complete.
You have a family and some good friends who, months ago, planned a little weekend-getaway. Reservations have been made and paid for. Your spouse plans to pick you up at 5:00 PM. The car will be packed with kids and everything for a beach weekend. What will you tell your boss?
Your best friend, Betty Whitmore, agrees to get together with you for dinner and a movie one Wednesday evening. When you get to Betty’s apartment, she explains that she has just taken up a new hobby – beading and making jewelry. Before going to dinner, she wants to stop at the bead store and pick up a few more supplies. You agree. Four hours later, you and Betty are still at the bead store. You are starving. The owner of the bead store wants to close up. It is already too late to see any movie. Since Betty is still examining beads and findings, you decide to call it a night.
Two weeks ago, you had tickets to a local amateur theatre group’s performance. You and Betty had planned to go for a quick bite before attending the play. However, when you arrived at Betty’s apartment, Betty had a huge bag of old towels and sheets which she wanted to drop off at the local animal shelter and a stack of old clothes to drop off at the Salvation Army collection site before you went to eat. You agreed to drive her over to both places. There was not sufficient time to eat so you went directly to the play. It was such a boring performance that you slept through most of it. Starving and tired, you once again decided to call it a night.
It seems to you that whenever you and Betty decide to get together, Betty has some secret agenda other than what the two of you planned. You feel used. What do you think you should say to Betty about how she uses your time?
You have made an appointment to see the doctor for 10:00 AM. The doctor’s office is about one hour from your home. You arrive at the doctor’s office at 9:45 AM. The receptionist-nurse tells you that the doctor has had an unexpected emergency and will be a little late in seeing you. You ask for an estimate. The receptionist-nurse says, “About 30 minutes.” Since you have your kindle with you, you don’t mind waiting. At 11:30 AM, you once again ask the nurse for a time estimate. This time she says, “I’m sure it won’t be much longer, maybe another 10 or 15 minutes.”
It is now 12:30 PM. What do you think you should do?