Is it more about managing time or priorities?

 

Time Management is one of life’s great challenges and yet also one of our greatest opportunities.

Because in truth, it’s never about time, it is always about priorities.

Met this amazing lady called Bree, she’s a pro on the World Fitness Stage. She reminded me one day, that a 1-hour workout is only 4% of your day. So when we think about that, one could easily assume, easy peasy, absolutely I can fit a 1-hour workout into my day – every day. However…. The truth is, that even though you may have that hour. We all have that 1 hour, we all have those same 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

That is time is not negotiable and it’s the same for each and every one of us.

However, firstly, we actually don’t know how many years we’re going to get? We really don’t. We can hope and pray for a long life, however, we don’t know. As the saying goes. The only certainty in life is its uncertainty.

However, death wasn’t where we’re going with this discussion.

Discipline is. And learning how to prioritise, so you can make the best use of that time that you have.

Whether it’s in your working day, at home, across a week or in a year.

People often blame lack of time for their woes, the lack of results, not being able to get to everything on their to-do list in their day. in fact, recently, when I’ve asked, what’s your biggest challenge in business at present, several people have commented in the last week, time management. Hence this post.

Let me say it again, it’s not about the time you have or haven’t got. It’s about how well you prioritise and learn to integrate, so you can move many pieces of the puzzle forward in a day. So rather than blaming lack of time, or lack of management of the time. Let’s stop using the clock as the excuse, it doesn’t deserve that.

Instead, shift your thinking and see every moment, minute, hour, week, month and year a gift, then you might reconsider, your workload and or allocation of it.

If it is a gift, then how are you approaching it?

With dread, overwhelm, frustration and anger?

Or are you focused, organised, progressing…

Will you ever get everything ticked off the to-do list?

Nope, probably not. So… stop trying.

Start focusing the energy on what really matters.

Get very clear on what the priorities are, what is super important to you, to your business, for the team, for the week, for the day.

Rather than spinning wheels, fighting fires and being reactive to the day. Take control, learn to say no to things, or postpone them, we’re often unrealistic with how much we can actually get done in a day, then sometimes crackingly fabulous at wasting time procrastinating, fluffing around and trying to make things perfect, or triple checking, rather than getting on with things.

This morning, I sat in the car, writing a couple of blogs, waiting for my son to run in the school cross country race. It would have been very easy to stay in the office and not watch. Super easy and keep pumping out the work. However FAMILY is an absolute priority, so that hour out of the office, minimised with being able to use technology as an advantage, less impact, still got jobs ticked off the to-do list.

So rather than making excuses that you haven’t got enough time. Here is another truth, you’ll never get more. It’s as simple as that. However, highly recommend using what you have got, wisely.

With focus, attention and clarity.

So here’s a quick way to make the most of the gift of time:

1) Get Better at Understanding Timing

Whether it’s writing a blog, filling out a form, taking a meeting, putting together a proposal or catching up with a client. Most people actually grossly underestimate how long things take to get done, so they’re automatically behind the eight ball of what is even possible in a day. So get better at guestimating how long specific things take so you can then allocate time against them. (keep a time sheet on documents to get a gauge on it, if you have no idea). If you only have a certain amount of time available, then use a timer. Once the timer goes off, that’s it. On to the next project or task – that aligns with different priorities that are important.

2) Use the 4 D Rule

When a new project is in your diary, or an email arrives – ask yourself these 4 quick questions:

– Can I Do It Now?

– Can I Delegate It

– Can I Ditch It?

– Can I Delay it?

Here’s why these questions matter:

Most people put off quick tasks, when really, if they were actioned immediately they would take less time, except people phaff around, worry about what to write/say, ponder for way too long, instead of making a quick call or walking (god forbid) to someone’s actual desk and having a conversation.

Delegation like feedback is another breakfast for champions. If you haven’t improved your delegation skills now is the time to. Hand things on to other team members, train them up, let them have a crack at it. Will it be perfect, will someone ever do it as well as you. No probably no, but at least the thing will get done! If you haven’t got a team and it’s time to outsource, find a way.

Look around and check your filing pile… how much is sitting there now waiting for you to do? If you left it for 3 months and didn’t do it and then binned it, what would happen, anything? Too often, we’re holding on to things for way too long and they’re seriously not important enough (yes they seem it at the time), however again, remember those 24 hours in a day, and unless you’re planning on working all of them, let’s face it. It really won’t happen. So go through your list, what can be ditched. Dumped. Done.

The Delay factor MUST come into play on occasion to help you develop a muscle around saying No… however. Too often, we’re tempted to take on too much and we say yes to everything. This is often the cause for time going down the gurgler… because we say yes instead of no, no can do at the moment. Will look at it tomorrow. Let’s schedule that for next week. Or this is going to be a priority next quarter, not this one. Again, look around your desk, pick up your to-do list, or sort through the things on your mind, what can you do with all of them which D is relevant for you right now on a few projects or tasks?

3) Be Clear on the Priorities

Let’s get to the meat of it. Many leaders in business are not great at managing their time, because they are overwhelmed by the workload of it all. Too often not working with a clear plan, focused priorities and timelines to achieve goals and get outcomes. The day to day chaos and firefighting that goes hand in hand with business operations too often takes over and again, there are NEVER enough hours in the day.

So let me repeat. We have the same amount of hours in a day, week and year, every year. However, you only get a finite number of years. And given that you don’t know how long that is, do you want to be spending them stressed to the hilt, overloaded, overwhelmed, getting burnt out and frazzled.

Or is it time to draw the line in the sand and get very clear on what really matters for you, the team and the business.

The treadmill of business goes faster and faster, it is not slowing down. The ONLY person that has control of the speed button is you and how you choose to move on the treadmill.

If it’s time to slow things down, reconnect and reset, so you can enjoy the experience.

Reach out, let me know.

Happy to help you with your time management, so you can get very clear on the priorities and plan for making the rest of 2018 extraordinary.

Genevieve “Prioritising” Matthews

 

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