I’m sure you’ve had this many times in your career. Let’s first look at what has happened to “time management” over the past 20+ years.
- 1980’s – time management was quickly becoming a priority and hot business tool for success.
- books, audios and training programs were wide spread
- 1990’s – technology appeared to make time management obsolete.
- things are moving so fast that time to plan and to manage time is becoming less important
- the early half of the decade there are still lots of options to learn and perfect time management.
- 2000’s – the past 20 years have been good for business and things are going well.
- companies spend less on time management training
- managers have grown tired of the time it takes to manage their time
- technology is proving to reduce jobs that used to help us manage our time
- Today – we are coming to the realization that managing our time is more critical than ever before
- the technology that was supposed to make it easier for us, has actually decreased the time we have available
- we are being asked to do more with less resources
- our management has forgotten the time management skills they may have learned from years ago
- many employees look at time management as too time consuming
Doing More With Less
In a recent poll conducted by the Entrepreneurialway Consulting Group (ECG), 95% of the respondents stated that they are being asked to do more with less. Most companies have reported that they are reducing staff in support services, sales, management, and all areas of operations.
Mergers and acquisitions have reduced staff dramatically. All this is being put upon the backs of current employees. Due to the low unemployment rate, there is a change in expectations and demands on the employees.
Manage Time…Don’t let Time Manage You
Corporate entrepreneurs are modifying the traditional time management techniques and tools of the past to meet the needs of today’s workload. The cell phone can be a great time saver or time waster. We have been trained like Pavlov’s dogs to respond to the phone, text, social media sounds that emanate from our phone. Taking a few minutes (it never is just a few) to shop online, play our favorite game, or create and track our fantasy sports teams has been a major drain on productivity. Another time waster is receiving e-mails because you are part of a “chain,” which in turn takes time to identify it as priority and ultimately takes you away from your focus.
We all know the things that take time in our day. The important thing to do is have some tools you can use to manage your time. The following are just a few old, but still relevant best practices:
- Do it…Delegate it…Dump it – with storage being so cheap and technology being so fast, we have a tendency to keep every email or text…don’t, even with fast search capability, keeping everything costs you more than you think in lost time.
- Work your plan…Plan your work – make sure you invest in planning and look at all potential tasks and activities that need to be done. It is good to write the plan or keep in online (i.e. CRM, Excel, or even paper). Take time every day to review your plan and then modify the dates, tasks and actions as needed. You may find you have too much.
- Prioritize – you can be reached anytime and anywhere. Expectations are set at immediate response. Let’s get back to identifying what is urgent, what is important, and what is both urgent and important.
- Plan only 70% of your day – if you plan 100% of your day, you are not going to succeed at doing all you want to complete. We all have issues that come up, so let’s leave some time for urgent tasks that arise.
- Be realistic – understand and acknowledge how long it will take to get things done. This will help you avoid the “over-commitment trap.”
Time management is a skill, and using the tools take time and training. If you are looking for a more detailed discussion of time management tools and the techniques on how to utilize them, you can attend one of our workshops or listen to our upcoming podcasts.