Principles of good time management
Time management depends on you knowing the correct principles of time management and how to apply them.
Here are some of the correct principles of time management, together with notes on how to apply them.... it might mean the difference between you being "busy" and being "productive".
1. Apply the Pareto principle (80/20 Rule)
Apply the Pareto principle (80/20 Rule) to your time management issues.
The Pareto principle states that 80 per cent or more of the effects are emanating from 20% or fewer of the causes.
Applied to time management, the Pareto principle implies the following:
- In any particular week, 80% or more of your value to the organisation is locked up in 20% or less of the tasks you actually perform.
- In any interruption 80%, or more, of what this person says to you will be a waste of your time, and a small minority of what he says will be of any value to you.
- That your meetings go on for too long: and that you could get all the value in half the time, IF the meeting was run according to proper principles.
Ask yourself this question: where is the 80/20 split?
What are the 20% tasks, which are adding nearly all the value?
What six things make 80% of the difference?
Once you have decided the key components that make the biggest difference, concentrate your fire on those few things.
2. Every week plan ahead for the next three weeks
Each week, on Monday: mentally project ahead in time and figure out:
What do you have to do this week to make next month work well?
Always plan ahead.
Don't make it up as you go.
Prepare, and organise.
Most people spend insufficient time planning.
As a result they are always struggling with chaos.
Then they say: "What's the point of planning when everything is so chaotic?"
I've heard people say: "I can't plan round here because everything is always changing"
If you don't plan, then you will be forced to operate without a plan!
And that will make life seem more chaotic.
Those who do plan ahead have the luxury of being able to operate according to principles and detailed written plans.
So to them, life seems less chaotic.
And they get more done in less time.
3. Handle interruptions
Here is how to handle an interruption.
There are three options:
Option one: refuse to be interrupted: Say "I'm sorry, I can't talk now", and keep working
Option two: give the person a limited hearing: say "I know you have lots you need to tell me, but isn't it true that of those things, some of them are more important than others?"
Then say "I am really pushed for time, right now, so could you tell me, only the most important things, then let me get on ....?"
Option three: Delay their interruption until a later time: say this "I am really pushed for time right now, can you wait till .....O clock?"
4. Develop your personal initiative and beat procrastination
Don't put things off.
Do it now!
Tell yourself this mantra:
"If I should do it now, then I MUST do it now!"
If you habitually say to yourself:
"I should do it now, but I can't be bothered: I'll do it later". Then you are doomed to failure: and you will be asked to sit with the other 1.75 billion other procrastinators who share the same habit.
Shame on you all!
Be a person of initiative:
If you should do it now, then do it now!
5. When you put something down, note it
When you put something down, make a mental note of two things:
1. What it is you are putting down.
2. Where you are putting it.
Do you know how much time you have wasted, in your life, because you can't remember where you put those things?
"I had them earlier, but I put them down somewhere, and now they're gone!"
100 Billion hours are wasted every year because we keep putting things down, whilst we are thinking about something else. The brain is distracted and we do not register:
1. What we are putting down.
2. Where it is being left.
Every week, by eliminating this one bad habit, we have the potential to save hours in fruitless searching.
Example: this week, we had a social gathering of 20 people.
When all had left, and we were tidying up, we found:
- One left hand bag (brown), hanging on the back of a dining room chair
- One discarded bunch of flowers (mixed)
- One forgotten book (on astronomy)
- One much needed case for a man's reading glasses
For more information about time management training visit the Corporate Coach Group website