Have you heard the following adage: “You cannot manage what you cannot measure”?
It is hard to improve if we do not establish performance metrics.
This is particularly true when speaking about time management improvement. Time seems to escape us and there is never enough time to do everything there is to do. Yet we have no less time than Einstein, Mother Teresa or Steve Job.
So, what is going on?
If you’re like many people, the answer to is…”I don’t know…!”
Could you prioritize and increase productivity? How much time do you spend marketing, selling, producing, servicing your customers? Are you using your time productively?
The ten following tips, if applied systematically, could add a week to your life every year:
1. Log in all your activities for a week. This will help you understand how much you can get done during the course of a day and where time is going. You will see how much of your time is actually spent productively and how much time is wasted.
2. The 80/20 rule applies also to time management. You produce 80 percent of your results in 20 percent of your time. Once you have identified those most productive activities, focus on spending at least 50 percent of your time engaged in those activities.
3. All activities that are important to your success must have a time assigned to them. If, for instance, you need to make so many sales calls per day, assign a time and write it down in your schedule. Schedule and write down the time to meet with your staff. And do not forget to set up an agenda… Every important activity must be set up as an appointment and even if they are appointments with yourself, have the discipline to keep these appointments.
4. When something hits your in-box, decides on the spot if you need to do it, delegate it, defer it or drop it and act on it accordingly. Do not let things accumulate in your in-box.
5. Take the first 10 minutes of every day to huddle (standing) with yourself and/or your staff to plan your day. This is the most important time of your day.
6. Assess before every call and task what results you want to attain. Visualize success. Examine after each call and activity if your desired result was achieved. Every call and activity will result in being a success or a lesson.
7. Close your door and put up a "Do not disturb" sign when you absolutely have to get work done.
8. Do not answer the phone just because it's ringing or respond to e-mails just because they show up. Give your instant attention to people only if it is absolutely critical to your business (911 responder). Schedule a time to answer email and return phone calls.
9. Social media has become a key marketing tool for many businesses. When using social media, schedule blocks of time and do not let distractions take you adrift. Set up clear goals and objectives and monitor that you are achieving them.
10. Remember that it is impossible to get everything done. Work effectively, get the most important things done and be ok with it. “This constant, unproductive preoccupation with all the things we have to do is the single largest consumer of time and energy,” says Kerry Gleeson.
So, ultimately, it is not about managing time: time manages itself. It is a matter of managing our actions and making the right choice about what to do at any point in time.