There are 8,760 hours in a year and there is nothing you can do about it! If you destroyed every sundial, stopwatch, oven timer, and clock tower in the world – time would march on! In his book, ‘Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity, David Allen reminds us ‘you don’t manage five minutes and wind up with six’.
Time management is really self-management. Here are a few Self-Management Tips:
- PLAN: Establish your own system of tracking tasks and events – then use it! What works for you: sticky notes on your computer monitor, electronic task manager on your smart phone, white board on your wall? The hard part isn’t designing a process, but having the discipline to use it– especially when the tasks are challenging.
- JUNK THE JUNK: Shed the ‘mediocre stuff’ and make room for the ‘best stuff’. Your busyness doesn’t count, your productivity does. What is a THE most important thing you must accomplish today to move your organization toward its goals?
- FOCUS, FOCUS: Try not to interrupt yourself. Multitasking can reach the point of diminishing returns. Pushing through one activity with determination, again, requires discipline. Discipline is self-management. (See also Illusion of Productivity)
- MAINTAIN A MARGIN: Allow for a little wiggle room because you can almost always expect the unexpected. How many times do you think, “Huh, I didn’t see that coming!” Surprises are not a reflection on your ability to manage your efforts, your team, or yourself. Surprises are simply unexpected events.
- PERSEVERE: Review your plan often and revise it, if needed. Having the perfect plan is not the prize. Executing a good plan well is the prize! Your “I’m gonna do it even if it is hard or scares me” attitude makes a huge difference. Consistency generates results.
Perhaps, Stephen Covey said it first in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: ‘Time management is really a misnomer. The challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves.’ How was your discipline yesterday? What, if anything, circumvented your self-management? Tell me, how would planning, junking the junk, focusing, maintaining a margin, or persevering make today a better day?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Sugerman (PMP, PCC) is a speaker, author, and leadership coach with Leading Synergies. She hosts global masterminds, called Synergy Groups, for REALLY BUSY Christians leading with powerful confidence and humble hearts. She works with high-performing leaders focused on organizational effectiveness by refining strategy, inspiring teams, and delighting clients. Michelle specializes in the areas of information technology, project management, franchise management, and business as mission. Michelle lives in Colorado where she hikes fourteeners and enjoys gourmet meals with her loving husband of 21 years.