“We often (mostly?) let our schedule, schedule itself—ignoring the fact that TIME (not money) is our only TRUE Leadership asset.” – Tom Peters
Where does YOUR time go? Do you get to the end of your day, knowing you were busy, knowing you worked hard (you always do), and yet, you are not sure what you did? Maybe you know what you did. The problem is that you did NOT meet your priorities. NOW your day is about to get even longer. Another phone call home to say, “Don’t hold dinner,” or another call to friends, “I will catch up with you later.” This is not how you want to spend your time.
It does not have to be like this. YOU can take control of your time. Good time management does not start with a fancy time management system. It starts with self-knowledge. There is nothing wrong with a fancy time management system. But the most important part of the system is the information you provide. Consider tracking your time for at least several days and if possible three to four weeks. Be completely honest about what you do and when. This is your own personal inventory. Nobody else needs to know that you secretly watch cat videos each afternoon at 3:30 pm. Once you have collected this data, analyze it. Maybe you did not realize that each week you spend three hours answering questions about the history of your program. Are you answering the same type of questions each week? What a terrific opportunity to write the history of your program and publish it someplace where others can access it quickly and easily. You just put three hours back into your week.
This is one of the first tips for helping yourself to work smarter, not harder. Once you know how you spend your time, take a look at your priorities. If something is really a priority, it deserves your time and attention. With the knowledge of how you spend your time and your list of priorities, you can easily identify how much of your time goes to priority items versus other items.
There is much you can do to sharpen your time management skills. It is an area where most of us have room for growth and where most of us can use the occasional fine-tuning. If you want to know more about how to work smarter, not harder here are two resources for you:
- Check out this podcast over on the Project Controls Podcast – http://projectcontrolspodcast.com/blogs/news
- If you are ready to take the plunge and jump into some training to help you with your personal and professional productivity, then check out the full program over on Coursera:
Wishing you days filled with smart work and time spent in the ways which make you happy.