The greatest single shortage that many people experience today, both inside and outside business, is that of time.
If you have ever felt that there are not enough hours in the day to do what you have to do then you are not alone. People today feel pressured from all sides and they feel overwhelmed, fatigued and maybe incapable of fulfilling all the responsibilities that they have taken on.
There is no perfect answer to the question of how to achieve a better balance but there are a number of different ideas that can help you to be, have and do more in the areas that are important to you.
As you know the key to great time management is learning to use your time more effectively but many feel that that is easier said than done.
What really counts is how you focus. Between the ringing of the phone, urgent emails, drop-in visitors, tighter deadlines, seemingly endless meetings , oh and maybe the odd bit of networking whilst trying to attract more clients, – focussing on what’s important , the highest and best use of your time, has become more of a challenge than ever before.
With all of the distractions that occur on a daily basis you can easily be pulled off course and lose focus. Every new incident is a contestant for your time and focus that potentially could damage the achievement of existing results and momentum.
Focus is the compass that directs where you end up and therefore it determines your results.
It requires that you concentrate your efforts on the 20% of the activities that will produce 80% of your results.
So where are you choosing to point the compass of your focus? Because if you are not getting the results you want then you need to change its direction.
Managing your focus is one of the key activities you must master if you are to become more time effective.
Here are some activities that I use with my coaching clients that make a significant difference when you make the commitment to use them daily to develop and maintain your focus.
- Identify your top 20% of activities that produce 80% of your results.
- Focus on just that 20% in the next week and notice what happens.
- Get a post-it and write on it “ Is this the most valuable use of my time right now?” Put this in a prominent place so that you can see it when you are working. (If you work in several different places then you will want to do this for each location). When engaged on a particular task continually refer to it and ask yourself the question. If the answer is “ yes” then continue with the task. If the answer is “no” then abandon that task and do something else that is a better use of your time and expertise.
- Sometimes we become preoccupied with small things that are not really important in the long run. If you feel that this happens to you regularly then stop and consider if what you are doing will matter a week from now, or a year from now. What will be the real world consequences if you don’t do it.
- Distractions and interruptions can provide an ideal excuse not to do the work you are actually focussing on. They are an excuse to procrastinate. When you get distracted or interrupted in the next two weeks ask yourself the following questions – “ Am I going to succumb to this or get back to the task in hand?” and “ How is this distraction going to impact on my tasks for the day if I allow it to continue?”
When you focus on what is really going to take you closer to your goals often the sense of overwhelm begins to disappear and effective time management becomes easier.
Until next time,
With best wishes for your success,
Cath Daley Ltd.