Time management is the core foundation of any successful achievement. I am not only referring to a business environment: time’s flow underpins all human endeavours.
Time is a resource that each of us is using in equal shares. While we cannot control and “save” more time, we can nevertheless manage the use we make of it.
It’s the main focus of this set of articles together with practical solutions in achieving time management.
Before even thinking of project management, you have to manage time. Hence, your have to manage your own destiny and that of other people too.
Time Management and Personal Efficiency
Time management is an important feature of personal efficiency. Seeking to improve time management depends on our own drive and perspective in life with regard to this limited resource which is, let’s not forget this, facing us unconsciously with our own death.
Two aspects must be taken into consideration:
1. “Action” or practical organisation techniques which are meant to help us better manage our time and improve our efficiency;
2. “Being” or personal behaviour and drive to acquire change and improve our wellbeing.
Despite being aware of the existent techniques and practices in terms of time management, it is not uncommon for us to experience constant failure in this area. Therefore, it is advisable to understand the root causes of such failure by examining oneself through a deep introspection process. Given the fact that this type of analysis is not always easy to perform, the help of a professional coach becomes an invaluable support.
Thus, the coach will allow us to identify the causes, fears, hesitations or frustrations that prevent us from applying the best skills in improving the efficiency of our time management.
Confronted with the variety of time management tools and practices available on the Internet, it is important to discuss the following fundamental action steps:
1. Set objectives
2. Prioritize tasks
3. Plan and delegate
4. Focus on one task at a time
The key to time management is setting of objectives. The ultimate goal of time management is all about gaining availability in order to reach our top personal and professional goals, taking on responsibilities, obligations and duties.
[bra_blockquote align=”right”]It’s useless to start running if you ignore where you’re heading to![/bra_blockquote]
An objective allows you to set the direction and know your destination. It also allows you to focus on the ultimate result.
Setting personal objectives is crucial since without them, you are only following other people’s objectives and lose your own personal efficiency.
Set your own regular objectives per year, month or week, and why not set your daily objective: “What do I wish to accomplish today? How do I achieve it?”.
Prioritization means to establish priority actions so as to define which ones take precedence over the rest. The criteria used in defining them may have to do with the importance or urgency of a specific task. You may prioritize the tasks for the day or for the week or even long-term tasks.
As Peter Drucker put it, it’s best to do the “right things” than to do “things right”. Or conversely, it’s useless to do a task right if it was not the right task to perform since it did not have first-class priority.
Plan and Delegate
Based on task prioritization, planning represents a means to anticipate and have a global overview on forthcoming tasks. By reducing the unknown factor, you manage to save time and increase your efficiency. It also allows you to achieve the objectives that have been set.
Planning influences the tasks that you are going to complete, those that you are either going to delegate to someone else or not going to tackle at all.
Focus on One Task at a Time
While it is possible to handle several projects and tasks at the same time, this will – in general, not make you more efficient than you already are!
On the contrary, efficiency may be achieved when you handle a specific task fully focused, without interruptions, and especially without switching to some other task in the meantime. If you switch to a second task while you were focused on a particular action, it will cost you enough time triggering loss of concentration and stress.
It’s unrealistic to handle several priority tasks simultaneously and believe that you are being efficient. Nowadays, it has been proved that handling consecutive tasks allows us to increase our output and its quality as compared to simultaneous actions.
– Disruption Management.
Time and Priority Management (video), by François Bachmann, Digicapt
The Five Fundamentals of Good Time Management, by Temps Action blog.
This article was written in association with Adriano Labatte.