In this fast-paced world it seems there are constantly more things to do and less time to do them in. If can feel as though you’re juggling 100 balls in the air and praying you don’t have to catch them all at the same time. There are deadlines to meet, projects to complete, unfinished things that need to be done. Yet there’s not much satisfaction to be found in the rush and stress of doing things at the last minute (or missing deadlines).
Has time sped up? No – but it sure can feel like it.
Sometimes we burn the candle at both ends – trying to run our businesses successfully; keeping our personal time in check with stuff we love and need to do to look after ourselves; there’s often a partner to consider; family and other special people we need and want to take care of.
- How can we do it all and not leave anything out?
- What’s the cost to our wellbeing and to those we love?
- Where do we find a balance … can we do it all without a major meltdown?
3 quick tips that will make a difference
If you’ve heard these before …don’t just dismiss them and think “I already know that”. Read them anew. Even just one new insight could make the difference in setting your goals, planning your day, or your life.
1. ‘Time management’ is a misnomer – the challenge is not to manage time but to manage ourselves.
Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix identifies 4 ways we spend our time. The two factors that define an activity are Urgent and Important.
Urgent means it requires immediate attention. It’s NOW!
Urgent things act on us. Urgent matters are usually visible. They press on us; they insist on action.
Important on the other hand has to do with results.
If something is important it contributes towards your Life Vision, your values, your high priority goals.
Try to stay away from activities that are NOT Important – whether they’re Urgent or not. And try to shrink the time you spend on activities that are Important and Urgent, by spending more time on activities that are Important but NOT Urgent (before they become Urgent!)
(See Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of High Successful People for full details)
2. Use the ROT/EI method
What’s going to give you the maximum Return On Time and Energy Invested (ROT/EI)? Use this method to prioritise your to-do lists: (This is NOT based on what needs to get done).
- A is highest priority – these items usually cannot be delegated, might be uncomfortable to do, and probably stick out like a sore thumb
- B is in between
- C is lowest – these usually could be delegated. They are the day-to-day routine type items, the “if they don’t get done the world won’t stop” kind of things.
If you’re an urgency junkie, you might think everything is an A …. Take another look … I’ll bet it’s not!
3. Use the 4 D’s
Do it – Speaks for itself
Delay it – Transfer it to the day you want to complete it
Delegate it – Get someone else to do it.
Dump it – Abandon it. You haven’t done it and you’ve decided you’re not going to.
The biggest time waster is not completing what you start.