Tag Archive: time

Everyone has their own way of dealing with time. Who you are in that relationship is told by your Productivity Persona. Your Persona reveals how you deal with time and your strengths and weaknesses around it. When you look at who you are in that sense, what you’re good at and where you struggle start to make sense. So who are you in your relationship with time? I’m sharing mine here, since many have asked. After watching the video, you can see who you are by taking the quiz.

You’ve heard it said before that “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” It might be a popular old saying but there’s nothing but truth in it.  When you don’t map out a plan, you can’t expect to do anything but fall short of the mark, no matter how hard to try to pull things off.

Many people say that planning takes too much time or that it’s a waste of time.  Those who say this have probably had a difficult time when it comes to planning, are challenged with it and usually don’t know how to go about it, so their experience ends up taking them a long time or at the end of the experience they feel they wasted time because of the results.  Planning is used to bring structure, focus and direction.  Without it, you miss the mark.

When you don’t plan, you get the worse possible return on your investment.  The time that you spend in execution will take much longer and will decrease your level of productivity.  Without going through the planning process, unexpected things happen that you didn’t think about and they derail your efforts.  You spend time dealing with the unexpected, looking for solutions to put the fire out and get things going again while work is stagnated.  Without planning you don’t know exactly what you’re working on from day to day, every week and over longer periods of time so you play the guessing game on a regular basis or you get in the middle of doing a particular thing and notice that there’s something that you forgot to do—something that should have been done before you started working on your current task.  You also get to points in your process when you realize you don’t have something that you need.  That could be a tool of some sort, someone’s expertise or the remaining budget to carry out your efforts.  That happens because without planning, you don’t identify necessary resources.  Without planning, things move very slowly and often times appear to look as though they aren’t moving at all. Simply put, without planning, you shoot yourself in the foot, rather than hitting your target.  With all of this in play, there’s no place for your efforts to be fruitful.  You have planned to fail.

I know very well that some of this may sound familiar; it may even be the norm for some.  Just reading that previous paragraph causes discomfort for me, and if what I’m saying is the norm for you, I imagine that is brings you discomfort as well.  Having it be a reality brings even more and if this is the case, it’s time to flip the script and get a plan.  Doing so will increase effectiveness, efficiency and save your precious time. Planning will increase your productivity level by 25 percent and allow you to focus on your high value tasks, rather than putting out fires on a regular basis.  Planning will help you identify opportunities and possible threats and will facilitate achievement of your goals.  Planning allows you to make an investment of your time and get the best possible return on that investment.

So, the next time you choose not to plan before jumping in with both feet, think about the above scenario and ask yourself if that’s what you want as your reality.  Are you consciously choosing to fail in your endeavors?  There is absolutely no way to accomplish anything if you don’t know how to go about it.  Create your plan to support yourself and increase your performance.

Being organized means more than just having an organized space that supports you.  It means that your time is organized well too.  A well organized space has a place for everything, everything in its easily retrievable place and systems that keep you on point and organized.

The example that I like to use to illustrate what I mean by that is a well organized closet.  Think about an empty closet.  Within it you have a limited amount of space to place your items.  You have at least one rack to fill and shelves as well.  Each hanger on the rack can hang a specific item.  If it’s overloaded, it’s likely that something is going to fall off of the hanger.  Additionally, only a set number of hangers are going to fit on each rack.  To better store items and maximize space you might even consider adding boxes or other storage containers which also have limited space.

Organizing time is like organizing space.  Each day is a container; a storage unit that has a definite capacity.  Just as you have a limited amount of space in your closet, you have a limited number of hours in every day.  What are you doing with the items you add to your calendar?  Are you randomly jamming them into your day at any available point in time like you might jam items into your closet?

Obviously, this is not the way you want to organize your calendar.  You want to strategically place items into specific slots of time just as you would want to place items into your closet in a way that they are easily visible and easily accessible.

When you go to add something to your calendar, stop for a moment and think about where it logically fits.  Are you getting ready to place it into a slot that allows you enough time to finish it, or are you getting ready to place it on top of something else simply because you don’t know where to place it or don’t have anywhere else to place it.  If your calendar is that jammed, it’s time for a complete overhaul.  Make the time to reorganize your calendar like you would reorganize your closet.  Look at everything that you have on hand as well as the time that you have available (the space) to get things done.  Are there things that you can get rid of or delegate?  Are there things that no longer fit?  Once you’re done reviewing everything, only place the remaining items on your calendar and organize them just as you would a closet.  Additionally, be realistic about the amount of time that things are going to take you to complete.  Don’t just shove things into your calendar, place things where they fit.  If they don’t fit, find an appropriate place for them.  Doing so has you respect your time.

We live in such an excessive society.  Everything is bigger these days-our homes, our cars (although that seems to be shifting), even the meals that we eat.  As a society we waste so much.

We also waste our time.  The difference is that time is something we don’t have in excess.  We each get the same amount of time each day and once it’s spent, it’s gone for good.

How much of your time are you wasting?  Do you honestly know where your time is going?  On average, individuals spend any where from 1.5 to 2 hours of each work day searching for things-files, documents on their computers, contact information, and the list goes on.  Not to mention the other ways that time gets wasted.  Multiply that wasted time by 5 work days and that’s 7.5 to 10 hours every week when nothing is getting done.  With typically 20 work days in each month, that’s 150 to 200 hours of wasted time every month for the average individual, which means that there are a lot of “to-dos” that aren’t getting done.

So, how do you know you’re wasting significant time?  Begin by looking for indicators:

  • Messy desk, cluttered work space, things not filed
  • Not being able to find things
  • Missing, being late for or often rescheduling appointments
  • Arriving to meetings unprepared
  • Tired and/or unable to concentrate

Once you’ve identified the indicators, work on the solutions:

  • Organize your entire work space
  • Determine your time management personality and establish a time management system that fits that personality
  • Plan your work-daily and weekly and prioritize your list
  • Focus on important and not urgent things (this comes into play once you establish good habits)
  • Eliminate procrastination
  • Delegate the things that you can
  • Learn your personal energy cycles and use them
  • Control interruptions effectively

When you begin working on the solutions, know that although you may be implementing things immediately, it takes at least 21 days to develop a new habit.  Allow yourself the time and the room to do so, and when you revert to old habits, simply acknowledge what you’re doing and get back on track.  It’s also a good idea to enroll someone in what you’re doing and ask for support as part of your system for getting a handle on managing your time effectively, and improving your productivity.  Remember, how you spend your time is what makes the difference and impacts your bottom line.

You have the first two keys from the last two posts and it’s time for the final key system.  This is a place where many find themselves challenged and sad to say, for some it just goes right out of the window.  Which isn’t good for business.

As a business owner, you have to manage yourself in a way that has you on top of everything and getting things done, so, yes, you need a system for that too.  If you don’t currently have a time management tool that is working well for you, it might be time to assess why it’s not working for you and determine what tool would be more appropriate for your time management personality.

Once you have the appropriate tool, set it up, learn how to use every feature it affords you and use it to its fullest capacity.  Additionally, set up other components as a part of your time management system.  For example, you want to incorporate the use of a master task list and a daily task list along with the good time management habits of planning and prioritizing to shore you up.  For more info on additional elements of a solid time management system, see my post on Your Time Management Tool Box.

When you put these things into place and use them regularly, you can be rid of the aforementioned scenarios and have control of every aspect of your business.  Even when you’re wearing multiple hats, with these things in place you will be large and in charge, calling all the shots; able to handle your business.

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