Life is more complex than it has ever been, with increasing interruptions and demands on our time. As a business coach I see many business owners literally drowning under all these demands, their life and business is operating in chaos mode, each day is spent fighting “bush fires” and they are highly stressed, running on adrenaline to get them through most days.
If this sounds like you, you had better read on because unless you take steps to address this you are heading for a train wreck, in terms of your business, your health, your family. It might not be this year or the next but eventually there will be a price to pay. I believe that mastering your time is one of the most important principles to achieving success and happiness in your life.
Feeling in control increases our peace of mind, self esteem and confidence. As someone who is passionate about the critical importance of time management I would like to share with you 5 absolute must do’s, essential to effective time management.
1. Have Realistic Expectations
The simple fact of the matter is that there is never enough time for us in a day to do all the things we would like or need to do. Therefore you need to have realistic expectations as to what you can achieve and be highly selective with what you choose to take on.
It is much better to implement 1 or 2 strategies in your business very well than 7 or 8 half completed ones Unrealistic expectations result in business owners taking on too much, resulting in frustration, stress and reduced self-esteem. Focus on what you are best at, this applies to both your business and you.
2. Select An Appropriate Planning Tool
A good planning tool (diary, CRM, PDA etc) needs to manage 4 classes of information, Appointments, Tasks, Notes and Contacts. I’m a big fan of the 2 page per day diary format, which has sections for Appointments, Tasks and Notes. You have a one life therefore you should have one planning tool!
This comes with a caveat and that is, it is okay to use a combination of other tools as long as one of the tools is your main planning tool and that the others sensibly integrate with this. For example my main planning tool is my Diary, however I use CRM software to manage my contacts and coaching appointments and this is synchronised with my PDA so that I have access to this information when I am out of my office.
To help you decide which tools you will use to manage the different classes of information for both your work and personal life complete the following matrix ( I have completed with my current tools as an example);
|Appointments||Diary||CRM / PDA|
|Contacts||CRM / PDA||CRM / PDA|
3. Plan Your Week
The most important half an hour I spend each week is the half hour I spend Sunday evening planning my week (I do this without fail). I find most planning tools are inadequate in this regard, so I have developed a simple one page template which is divided into 4 quadrants, Business Task < 15m and > 15m and Personal Tasks 15m.
Each week I sit down and refer to a list of files and documents, such as meeting minutes, current project files, monthly master task list etc to help me select all the tasks I would like to complete this week. For tasks greater than 15 minutes I estimate how long they should take and prioritize them using the A1, A2, ..B1, B2…, C1, C2… method.
This ensures that I don’t take on more tasks than is realistic and also ensures that I work on my highest priorities first.
4. Plan Your Day
Before you start your day or at the end of the previous day, you must create and prioritize a list of tasks that you want to complete for the day. For this I refer to my weekly plan and transfer items from this list that I want to work on and only takes about 5 minutes.
5. Continual Learning
As effective time management is an essential skill for personal success it is critical that you continue to study and learn in this area. I have read and listened to many books concerning time management and to this day I continue to pick up new tips and methods to improve my time management.
Some of my recommended authors include Steven Covey, Brian Tracy, Jennifer White, Kerry Gleeson and Rebecca & Roger Merrill.
Due to the complexity of our modern lives, more and more people are leading disorganised and chaotic lives – don’t you be one, it’s too high a price to pay.
You can enjoy being in control of your life, and the peace of mind, self confidence and improved self esteem that comes with it. Start enjoying the benefits today by implementing the 5 must do’s of effective time management.
Brad Sugars founded the brand Action International in 1993 when he realized there was a disconnect between business advice and implementation. The answer was Action! Brad Sugars created a business coaching company so that business owners throughout the world can realize their goals in business. Today the company is known as ActionCOACH. To learn more about business, visit Brad Sugars Review blog!