best efforts, time ticks away no faster or slower, we must come to the
realization that what we can manage is our use of it.
So, We Must Create Laser Focus
we do this by doing two things:
- Learning to manage ourself and
- Learning to manage the way we use our
It works like this
- Know WHERE You Want To Go
- Determine the Steps to Get There
- Know What You Are Doing and When
- Stick To Your Plan
When we learn to
properly plan and organize, we will improve our focus. When
improve our focus, we will improve our time management skills.
Where Do You Want To Go?
first step in managing our time efficiently is to determine
- If you
need to get it done, you will write it down.
not that the writing is magic - just having them on paper is not what
we are going for!
It is the process of determining where we
aiming. If we do not know our destination, we will wander
aimlessly or end up in places we did not want to be.
your goals from long term to short term. Start with the long
term. Determine what you want to accomplish in the next year
make it measureable. For example, saying "I want to own my
business" is not specific enough, where "I want to have my Italian
Restaurant opened" is measureable.
What Are the Steps to Get Where You Want To Go?
Now we can determine what actions will get us there
. This tells us WHAT to focus on when we
Next, write down
goals. These are things that you need to do in order to make
happen. They also must be specific and measureable.
helpful to work backwards. For example, if you want to have a
restaurant opened next year, then one month before that you need to
have the building finished, ingredients ordered, menus printed,
advertising in place and be hiring staff. Then the month
that you probably want to have your furniture delivered, be reviewing
your advertising and schedule your inspections. And so on.
you have determined what you need to do this month to move you toward
your long-term goal, then you need to work on short term
What do you need to do each week in order to accomplish these medium
term goals? Then what do you need to do each day to move you
toward completing these goals?
Have a list of things that you
must accomplish each day. These are not your normal "call and
a hair appointment", "schedule a meeting" things, these are must do
items that will move you closer to your desired destination.
What Are You Doing Now and When Do You Do It?
For a couple of days, keep track of what you do
. After every
thirty minutes (15 is better), write down what you have done.
This is not the easiest thing to do, but once you have done it and SEE the results, you will be spurred into action!
After doing this for a
you are going to see some patterns and probably some places that you
can improve your management of time. But, resist the urge to
correct these now
. First, let's work on these steps:
- If you
are going to do it, schedule it. If not, dump it.
Take the things that you have
must do the next day and put them IN your schedule. .
the most difficult first. Then the feeling of accomplishment
will motivate you to finish the rest.
cannot be said enough that if it is worth doing - it is worth
scheduling. Put it on the calendar and then actually use that
time slot to do it.
Don't take phone calls. Don't
your co-worker. Don't check e-mail. Don't do
it (schedule that). DO THE TASK.
your time managment is really about improving your ability to focus.
Eliminate Time Wasters
- If you scheduled it, don't do something else.
Keep the appointment with
do not let the time leeches rob you of that productive time.
you took the time to do the first task, you likely recognized some
things that were time wasters. You checked your e-mail 10
that day, or were interrupted 17 times to answer questions.
went into your office to file a document and found yourself looking
through the folders for a letter that you had been meaning to respond
While some of these things are
necessary, it is
likely that you can eliminate most altogether or have them done by
someone else through delegating them. Or, if they are things
must do, schedule them after the other tasks that are related to your
But the important thing to remember is, if they are
important, schedule them.