Time Management is something I am frequently asked about. How can I get more done with less time? How can I get everything done I know I need to do? How can I possibly squeeze more hours into the day? These are questions I hear all the time. It sometimes seems everyone is looking for the secret to time management. Here are some secrets, tips and ideas I would like to share with you.
Secret #1 – You can’t manage time. Time marches on no matter what you do and, try as you might, you can’t manage it. Changing your thinking here can have a dramatic result. Accept that there is no such thing as time management, only SELF management. You can’t manage time, but you can manage yourself.
Secret #2 – There is no magic bullet and what works for one person, does not always work for another. There are many books out there offering systems and advice. Read them, try them, modify them, find what works for you and stick to it. A system only works if it is followed religiously.
New Idea – Many people have heard about the concept of a default calendar. That is where you set up a schedule that includes all the activities that you need to do and then fill the slots with the appropriate appointments and activities. Great idea, problem is I have found very few people who can actually make this work. Here is a compromise. When you do your quarterly planning, (you do plan quarterly right?), set up a weekly default calendar. Use it as a guide not your actual calendar. Print it out, keep it handy and then, when you start to schedule appointments and activities you can check off what you have actually scheduled. This way you control calendar instead of it controlling you.
Once you begin to understand that time is nothing more than a measure and it really your ability to manage yourself that is holding you back, it’s a whole new ballgame. Take a good hard, honest look at how you are spending your time. Ask yourself a few questions to get to the heart of the matter. What are you doing that is not effective? What are you doing that you should not be doing? What should you be paying someone else to do? How much time could be saved by planning ahead or organizing your desk?
Now try to work in the pre-vacation mode for the majority of your time. Have you noticed how much you get done the day or two before you go on vacation? That is the pre-vacation mode. The difference between that time and regular time is an attitude change. You accept that you must get everything done so you can go on vacation. You avoid distractions and maintain focus and work at a very high level. Try and do that every day and watch time multiply!