SpiralClock-Smaller2We are all overcome with information and so many of us are wearing a number of different hats-juggling business and our personal lives. Executives, business owners, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, office workers and homemakers alike are all feeling the pressure that the high speed pace of today’s culture brings. Here are some things to consider:

  • The average U.S. professional spends at least 10 hours each week just managing email. 25% of the average work week; some say it’s more
  • The average person gets interrupted once every 8 minutes; each interruption takes about 5 minutes totaling 4 hours, which equals half of the work day
  • 20% of the average work day is spent on things considered to be important or crucial while 80% of the work day is spent on things considered to be of little or no value
  • A person who works with a cluttered desk spends at least 1½-2 hours each day looking for things-that’s 7½-10 hours each work week
  • Only 5% of business and professional people implement a to-do list on a daily basis

Given the information overload and these statistics, there has never been a time when there has been a greater need for our personal and business lives to be organized. With those same things in mind, we see that there is also a need for solutions that help us get things done. Time is our most precious resource; it cannot be saved, it has to be used and once it’s gone, we can’t get it back. We have to use the right tools and strategies to manage our time for ultimate productivity.

Your time can go towards any number of activities and most times people give their time over to tasks that don’t have anything to do with their goals. People typically give time over to urgent things like solving problems and crises or time wasters, busy work and non-productive tasks. When your time is spent on preventing the problems, crises, dealing with interruptions and handling pressing tasks at the last minute although you’ve had significant time to complete them, you’re operating in a way that doesn’t contribute to your overall success because you’re not getting to the important things on a timely basis or at all. If that’s what’s happening with you, think about the impact that it’s having on your business. What’s happening as a result of the way that you are relating to time? Take a moment and seriously think about that and answer the question.

Very few people are focused on tasks that come about as a result of planning and things that prevent crises and problems, but this is where productive, successful people focus their time. This is why only roughly 8% of people reach their goals every year. Do you know where your time is going? If not, stop and think about what things would be like if you could operate this way. What would your days and your life look like? More importantly, how do you get to the point of operating that way? By looking at everything you have on your plate and the things you would like to place on your plate. There is an exercise that Stephen Covey proposed that does work when it comes to seeing where your time is going and getting to the important things.

  • Get a pack of index cards. On each card, write one thing that you feel you should do, want to do, hope to do, plan to do or dream of doing. Be sure you include everything no matter how big or small it is. Keep going until you run out of things.
  • Next, separate the cards into two piles. The first being things that have to be done right now and the other being things that don’t have to be done right now. These are your urgent and non urgent items.
  • Go through both piles and separate each one into important and not important stacks so that you end up with four stacks. (Urgent, not urgent, important and not important)
  • Take the two not important stacks and put them in a safe place. You are now left with what’s important.
  • Make a commitment to eliminate all of the activities that didn’t make it to your important piles. After you work on your important and urgent tasks, work on things that are important but not urgent. No matter how pressing something might seem to be, don’t do it unless it’s important.

With only 20% of the work day being spent on things that are considered to be important or crucial, and 80% of the work day being spent on things that are considered to be of little or no value, the script has to be flipped so that the work day is spent on the things that are important; the things that matter most. If you’re wasting your time, flip the script to make the transition that will get you into the 8% of people who reach their goals by getting things done.