“I don’t have enough time to get everything done!”
“I’ve got to manage my time better!”
These are things we say every day. Of course most people know they don’t really have the answers to these issues. They just worry about it most of the time.
Some people work harder, keep time logs and work longer hours; but there is still not enough time. Time is your most important asset. It is how you live and there is only so much of it. One of the biggest problems with many of us is that we live and work unconscious of how we spend our time until the day is done. Until you see time for what it really is, moment to moment, you will never understand why you don’t have enough time. The truth is you can’t manage time, you can only manage yourself and, if you are a Manager, how others use their time.
In organizations there are three ways people spend time: tasks, planning and leisure. Examples of tasks include: driving to a job site, calling on the phone, estimating, digging a ditch, making sales calls, telling people what to do and asking questions. Planning, or strategic work, is asking and answering questions such as how to do tasks. How is the business changing? What do I need to do to grow in the future? How are my customers changing?
Tasks are much easier because the questions are easier to answer. In fact, most questions are the result of a problem you need to solve. Tasks are about something you need to do now where as planning questions are about resolving problems before they get worse. Now versus Future. You must learn that the better you are at strategic planning, the better you will direct tasks. Strategic work is work that plans for your goals. Tasks are the work you do to implement the strategic plan. Without a better plan, you will never understand how to improve the way you or your people spend time.
If you are in Management, the truth is that it’s not your job to get everything done but to focus on getting the right things done. It’s more about managing priorities. This requires Managers to extricate from task lists those activities you want to do versus those you need to do to advance your organization. In order to improve all aspects of your organization, you need to understand the differences between time management and priority management. Once you can differentiate between the two, you will need to develop a priority management system.
This is the first blog of a series that I hope will have an invaluable impact on your organization and your life.
Read part 2 here: You Can’t Manage Time but You Can Manage Priorities!-part 2