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Top Time Management Tips

Time management

Time management is the most important issue

Why?

Because time is a strictly limited-resource

That is: You can replace other resources, but you can't recover any lost time.
There are only 24 hours in each day and when today is over, it is never coming back!

And note this:
In any 24 hour period, some of your people are much more productive than others.

Example:
If you consider a group of 50 people, working from the same office, selling the same products, to a similar class of customers, then you will discover that a small minority of those sales people (about 8 out of the 50) will achieve far more per week than the others.

And two of those eight will be the absolute peak performers; consistently, they will achieve more in less time.
I.e. there is a minority that are far more efficient than the average.

Question: Why are some people far more productive than others?

Answer: Because
a) Some people allow themselves to fall into bad work habits.
b) And other people develop and sustain good work habits.

These good work habits are not related to intelligence, education or social background.

These habits are related to choices made by each individual about:

  1. How much he/she will focus on the task and engage the mind or
  2. How much he/she will NOT focus on the task and FAIL to fully engage the mind

What are the good work habits that make a significant difference to a person's daily output of productive effort?

We call the following list of positive attributes the P-list (for obvious reasons)

The P list:

  • Personal initiative
  • Purpose
  • Prioritisation
  • Planning
  • Preparation
  • Perfect Practice
  • Prevention

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1. Personal initiative

Your Personal initiative rating is a measure of your degree and willingness to:

  1. Do the right thing,
  2. At the right time,
  3. Without waiting for anyone else to ask you to do it.

A high P.I. rating means you don't wait for good things to happen:
Instead you cause them to happen.

The alternative to a good P.I. rating is a Not-good rating or a bad rating.

  1. A not good rating means you will not create opportunities for growth.
  2. A bad rating will means that you will be in a continual state of reaction.

Use your personal initiative and become a "person with a purpose".

2. Purpose

Purpose is the act of setting the goal; Setting the objective.
Every living thing has evolved to achieve a specific purpose.
Therefore, every person in your organisation should have a specific purpose.
Every action they take should be in the pursuit of achieving a specific purpose.
But they need to know what that purpose is!

Purposeful action is efficient action

Non purposeful (i.e. random) action is inefficient

Therefore: Every day as a matter of routine write out your ambitions.

Let the dog see the rabbit!
Let the team know the target.
Know what is, the "big picture vision".

Strive to make each person in the team a goal focused individual.
When everyone has the list of goals (the purpose) then they can go to the next step; Prioritisation.

3. Prioritisation

Prioritisation is the act of putting events or tasks or objectives into a "hierarchy of value" and / or "time ordered sequence".
The need to prioritise stems from the fact that you are a limited resource facing an unlimited demand.
I.e. That you cannot be in two places at one time.
That money is a finite resource;
That things must happen in the right order.
Prioritisation means that right now, you must choose to do one thing from a selection of more than one thing.

Prioritisation means you must be willing and able to:

  • Say "No" to a good use of time
  • In favour of saying "Yes" to the best use of time.

After setting the purpose and then prioritising them then you can get down to the serious issue of detailed planning.

4. Planning

Planning is the measure of how you organise your:

  • Information
  • knowledge
  • activities
  • people
  • money and
  • machines

in such a way that your "purpose" will likely be achieved.

Many people fail to sufficiently plan ahead

They say "What is the point of planning when everything keeps changing all the time?"

What these people don't know is:

Proper planning helps you to control the process of change and channel it in the direction consistent with your goals.

  1. Proper planning increases your chances of success.
  2. Failing to plan reduces your chances of success.

As the experienced oil rig engineer said "We plan the work and we work the plan!".
Before you can "work the plan" you must do sufficient preparation.

5 Preparation

Preparation is the measure of your willingness to organise your resources in advance of the event.
If you have a good plan but you remain unprepared, then the good plan will be of no practical use to you.

Preparation and organisation means that you have

  • all the right things
  • in the right place
  • at the right time
  • in the right amounts

Preparation means your plan can be implemented with a high probability of success.
The alternative to being sufficiently prepared and organised is

NOT being sufficiently prepared and organised!

The consequence of a lack of preparation is that the plan cannot be put into practice with a high probability of success.

6. Perfect practice

Here is a phrase that you already know: Practice makes perfect.

But this is wrong!
Practice does not necessarily make perfect!
Because if you practice bad habits, then you will automatize those bad habits and make them ingrained and difficult to rectify.

Here is the truth
Perfect practice makes perfect
The concept of "perfect practice" is that

One unit of quality practice is far better than 10 units of poor practice.

Why?

If you practice "poor practice" for 10 units of time then you will automatize the poor habits.
Like Sammy who takes his first driving lessons from his drunken dad.
He practices with his dads bad driving habits and so ingrains them, into his neurology, right at the start.
From then on, Sammy's driving tends towards the errors learned at the beginning.
So: Do it right first time!

Here are the steps:

  1. Stop trying to multi-task.
  2. Try to concentrate 100% of your mind onto the task at hand.
  3. Slow down to the point where you stop making mistakes!
  4. Even if it is done very slowly, as far you are able, - Do it correctly!
  5. Speed of performance will increase naturally as your brain learns to automatize the correct movements.
  6. Whenever something goes wrong; analyse each error and identify exactly how and why it went wrong.
  7. If possible go back and correct any errors of performance.
  8. To yourself only, make a verbal description of the error and the corrective action. (Say it out loud!)
  9. Consider writing it down so that you can teach it to others or so that you can review it later.

If you do this you will create a condition called "perfect practice".

"Elite performers engage in 'perfect deliberate practice' - an effortful activity designed to improve target performance". (Dr. K. Anders Ericsson)

Perfect practice leads to the prevention of error and costly mistakes.

7. Prevention

The biggest time waster is avoidable mistakes.

The biggest time saver is the avoidance of avoidable mistakes.

Questions

  • Have you ever made a stupid mistake?
  • Do you sometimes make careless mistakes
  • Do you know anyone who tends to make, avoidable mistakes?
  • What about Rookie mistakes?
  • What about the person who repeats the same mistakes over and over?
  • Have you ever made a costly mistake?
  • What about a dangerous mistake?
  • Do you want to admit to a catastrophic mistake?

I know that it is impossible to avoid all mistakes;
"To err is human".

But it possible to reduce your error rate.

And if you did reduce your error rate

  • Just think of the money you would save!
  • Just think of the heart ache you would save!
  • Just think of the Time you would save!

Do all that you can to prevent avoidable errors.

Errors are worse than a waste of time; they are counterproductive.
Because we tend to be creatures of habit: Once you have done something (wrong) once, you may actually be more likely to do it wrong again!
Do all you can to prevent errors.
Do all that you can to do it right first time.

For more information about time management training visit the Corporate Coach Group website

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